Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Before there was Fred Olan Ray, who at this moment in time is assaulting the directing record books with scores and scores of poorly shot action flicks and softcore titles…he’s at 121 as of this writing, there was Joe D’Amato. Joe kicked off in 1999 at 199 titles, a large number of the titles being hardcore porno, and I’m sure if somebody in Italy looked hard enough they could uncover enough material to push Joe over 200. While Joe… or David Hills as he calls himself in this assault against artistry ‘Ator: The Fighting Eagle’… might have been prolific, his actual skill level is often called into question. Not by us mind you, because we loved Joe and have personally seen about twenty of his non-pornographic masterpieces… might’ve seen a couple of his pornos as well, but we’re not going get into all of that. One of the reasons that Joe’s skills could be called into question might be because of this quadrilogy right here, the Ator series starting with ‘Ator: The Fighting Eagle’. Here, Joe goes mainstream… completely. No nudity, no bloodsplatter, Just Joe ‘directing’ and Miles O’Keefe ‘acting’. It was not pretty, and this is allegedly the best of the four movies. Dear God help us all.

Our film begins with easily the longest opening narration ever as performed by Mister Powerful Voice. I missed most of it because it was dull all get out, but I did catch that the Spider King rules this land and Ator, son of Tauren, will challenge his rule. Next we see this overweight dark dude with heavy eyeshadow and spiders crawling all over him who looks suspiciously like my Uncle Bill. I’m going to go ahead and guess he’s the Spider King. The Spider King, real name Dakkar as played by the actor Dakar, has learned the son of Tauren has been born and to keep the prophecy from coming true he does the Pharoah thing and murders every single baby boy born on the planet earth in that short time frame. As a side note you have to see the size of that baby. It looks like that woman just gave birth to an eight year old.

We all know you can’t stomp out a prophecy, which is why they are called prophecies, and the baby Ator is whisked away by the mysterious Griba (Edmund Prudom) and given to a poor family to be raised along with their other baby girl Sonya.

Fast forward twenty or so years where Ator has grown to be tall and muscular and looks like Miles O’Keefe while Sonya (Ritza Brown) has overdeveloped to immense proportions. Sonya is so damn hot that her brother has decided he has to get himself some of that, and Sonya feels the same way. Let’s ask dad if that’s okay. Dad informs these crazy kids that in this case sibling lust is a good thing and the day of marriage is upon us, but rudely interrupted by Dakkar for no other reason than he’s an asshole. Dakkar kills the entire village, except for Sonya because, well, damn… killing her would be just silly, and of course Ator who awakens from unconsciousness to find his village slaughtered and his woman kidnapped.

This is where Griba shows back up, though they could’ve really used him about an hour earlier, and gives Ator the Mister Miyagi treatment so he can become the warrior he was destined to become and now it’s adventure time for Ator and his sidekick Cornelius the Skunk Bear! I can’t remember his actual name so it’s Cornelius from this point on. I loved that bear, best actor in the movie.

First Ator is captured by some warrior women who fight for the privilege of sexing him up, but the winner Roon (Sabrina Siani) doesn’t want love, just to go along on the adventure and get paid. Then they stumble upon the temptress Indun played by the legendary Laura Gemser who for reasons Joe took his grave, kept her clothes on. What is up with that? Then we have a quick trip to the valley of the walking dead, followed by a journey to the blind sword makers for the Mirror Shield of Infinity and finally the completely anti-climactic battle against the weak ass Spider King. Now we know why he was so tough on newborns. Roll credits and listen to arguably the worst closing love theme song I’ve ever heard.

I have to say that watching fit people who can’t act walk in the woods was not a lot of fun for me. The first ten minutes of Ator with Griba snatching that gigantic baby and all the horse riding was pretty fun and the last ten minutes of Ator doing battle with the front half a horrific spider prop was high comedy at its best, but Joe D’Amato… I mean David Hills is an exploitation film director, not an action film director. The assault on the camp of worthless villagers was about as dull as mass murder gets, the bitch battle to bed Ator consisted of a bunch hippy women trying to avoid getting themselves hurt and the attack of the undead consisted of slow moving zombies who apparently became as bored as I was and then just disappeared. Ator fighting his own shadow was sublimely stupidly entertaining however. I’m sure there were many times that Mile O’Keefe had to remind himself during production ‘I’m getting paid… I’m getting paid… this is better than construction work and cleaning swimming pools’.

One last thing, next time you find yourself in the middle of an earthquake, shout out ‘The earth trembles like a virgin drawn to the nuptial bed!’ David Hills wrote that line and that’s why we will always miss Joe D’Amato, even in the movies he made that we really didn’t like. Now it’s time to seek out ‘Ator: The Blade Master!’

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