Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The seventies had to have been one fantastic decade to be hanging around in. I was alive during the seventies, but barely as I crawling around on floors looking for crumbs to snatch so I wasn’t able to enjoy the free easy sex that I’m told was readily available, the 20 cent gas, the tight bell bottom jeans often coupled with even tighter silk shirts and the occasional race riot. Fortunately through the magic of DVD and video tape, I can experience the greatest thing that fell out of the seventies and I’m not talking about Andrea True and the disco era. Exploitation movies! Blaxploitation, Kung-Fu exploitation, cheesy ass horror exploitation and of course, women in prison exploitation. My friend Jeff delivered to me, on video tape no less (!) one of the lost films of that now long gone era in ‘Naked Warriors’ or ‘The Arena’. Which one is the actual legitimate title beats the hell out of me, but whatever the title we’re talking naked women in days of the gladiator getting ready to rumble!

Where ‘Naked Warriors’ is supposed to be located I’m not quite sure. For instance, high priestess Bodicia (Margaret Markov) who is quite Nordic in appearance is performing some kind religious ritual when she and her patrons are attacked by Roman soldiers, who obviously hail from Italy. Seconds later Queen Mamawi (Pam Greer) is performing a ritual African dance with her crew, because we know if we see Africans in any movie pre ‘Hotel Rwanda’, chances are they are going to be doing some kind of ritual dance. Post ‘Hotel Rwanda’ Africans in movies tend to simply slaughter each other. Anyway, these same soldiers kill up the dancing Africans and take Mamawi to do what women in prison gotta do. So again, where is this movie centered? Let’s just say Italy and that the Swedes and Africans were just hanging out there in 180 B.C. on Vacay.

Now armed with the fresh slaves Mamawi and Bodicia, along with the red headed Diedre (Lucretia Love – Awesome name!) and the Roman Livia (Marie Louise), these ladies have some dancing, serving and satisfying to do. Their master Lucillus (Paul Muller) runs the local gladiator battles which is getting a little boring, but after witnessing a fairly spicy food fight between his enslaved ladies, Lucillus gets the amazing idea of having the women don the armor to do battle. The first battles, though incredibly lame, are met with such rousing success that Lucillus starts having the ladies do battle every day, but the ladies have a plan for FREEDOM! Eventually the time comes for the ultimate battle between priestess Bodicia and Queen Mamawi in a battle of Bodica’s perfect B’s pitted against Mamawi’s unstoppable Double D’s. This looks to be a battle to the death between the two women but don’t sweat because this vanilla and chocolate breastiful duo is about to go all ‘Defiant Ones’ on us and stab up some sons of bitches on the road to FREEDOM!

‘Naked Warriors’ is certainly a film that harbored not a single delusion of grandeur and understood completely what its audience wanted to see way back in 1973. Directed with gusto by Roger Corman protégé Steve Carver, who would direct Angie Dickinson in ‘Big Bad Momma’ the following year and Chuck Norris in ‘An Eye for an Eye’ a few years after that (and WHY doesn’t this man have an Academy Award?) knows that if you have Pam Grier in your movie in decade of the 70’s then the audience DEMANDS that she spend some significant time nekkid, and we get plenty of full monty action. But don’t let me sell the long, lean and lithe Margaret Makov short either who when she wasn’t naked and pantyless, every thing else she wore was sheer and see-through. In what I assume is an awesome testament to the precise ‘historical accuracy’ of this film, the producers didn’t spend dime the first on any underwear for their actresses at all. Lucretia Love (awesome name!) who whore a green miniskirt that came just below her cheeks when standing, had a scene where she was thrown on a horse ass up, nekkid butt pointing to the heavens. Brilliant!

Of course ‘Naked Warriors’ wasn’t a ‘good movie’ in the grand scheme of things as the vast majority of it didn’t make a whole lot sense – like two female slaves who spent their previous lives dancing seductively and holding pagan rituals totally decimating the entire Roman army for instance after 3 hours of intense training. Most of the naked women in the film, though they did naked real good, didn’t do acting too terribly well. Same goes for the men for that matter. I particularly liked the part when one of the evil Roman dude yelled ‘Bring out the Hounds!’ and all we saw were what looked like two Pomeranians. They were cute though.

But all that is simply water under the bridge my friends. Should one see this movie for its cinematic mastery or should one see this movie to gawk at a load all natural females running around naked carrying swords and pitchforks? Yes the seventies… when movies strove to make a DIFFERENCE!

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