Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

True enough, by the year 1990 rolled around the renaissance of the Sword and Sorcery films probably had run its course, but it was a helluva ride while it lasted.  If you had a camera, access to the woods, limited access to something that might’ve been passed off as a castle dungeon, a muscle bound dude and some chicks willing to get naked… you had the seeds of 1980’s Sword and Sorcery flick.  Thus we have Joseph John Bartmettler’s epic ‘Time Barbarians’, which has all the prerequisites necessary for a Sword and Sorcery flick, except he couldn’t finagle a dungeon out of anyone.  No worries, let’s just movie the action to present day L.A. and have the big fight take place in basement.  That’s called making lemonade out of lemons where I come from.  Even if the lemonade has a nasty aftertaste. 

Deran (Deron Michael McBee), the golden locked, muscle bound  king of Armana, loves his woman Lystra (Joann Ayers).  One look at Lystra, you can see why since this is one solidly built young woman.  Armana is an awesome kingdom, filled with about a dozen people who live in two tents, and don’t do much anything.  Armana is also protected by the magical amulet which has awesome power and protects whoever has it.  You must control your thoughts around the amulet however or else it will take you to a faraway land.

One day while the king and his right hand man were hunting, and with Lystra and her girls playing in the water, the village gets a visit from the completely evil Mandrak (Daniel Martine) who battles Lystra, strings her up and repeatedly rapes her then kills her.  Note that Lystra had the all protective amulet at the time, thus making this protective amulet the worst protective amulet ever.  Deran returns from his hunting trip to find his wife and his ladies dead, with the worst part being that Mandrak and his flunkie have taken the amulet and have been transported somewhere.  Deran is sad.  His sadness is amplified when he is captured by barbarians even more barbaric than he is, and it was looking grim until he got a visit from the Wizardress dressed in sheer white sporting no underwear (Ingrid Vold) who wants her amulet back, has set Deran free and given him a magic sword so he can go to this the faraway place to get this amulet back.

Next thing you know, Deran and his loincloth are in 1990 Los Angeles, beating up hyena hysterical thugs and saving the pretty TV reporter Penny, who looks an awful lot like his dead wife, right down to the cleft in her chin.  Deran needs to find Mandrak, and you would think Mandrak would’ve come to modern day L.A. with his awesome raping and criminal skills and just took over that town, but no, he’s a common mugger.  As if we don’t have enough petty criminals in our time, now we have dudes time traveling to commit petty crime.  Mandrak is pathetic. 

Deran and his loincloth have become a bit of hit in L.A., but he really needs to find Mandrak, kill him and get the amulet back or the Wizadress will put a plague on the nine people remaining in his kingdom.  No problem, Mandrak has found him, and he has a shotgun, and he’s kidnapped Penny and plans to rape her to death too.  Mandrak… I tell you.  I hate to spoil it for you but Deran going’s to completely kick his ass.

So yeah, ‘Time Barbarians’ isn’t all that great a movie.  Former American Gladiator Deron Michael McBee is a big dude and has fantastic hair but he wasn’t much of an actor.  Or at least he wasn’t back in 1990 because he’s still working on and off nowadays, and he could be much better now.  The first half of the movie consisted of people walking in the woods and talking, which rarely makes for scintillating viewing, though we did enjoy the thrilling scene where King Deran put on a mask and started terrorizing his wife.  First of all that was kind of asshole thing to do, but more importantly the dude is 6’4”, his muscles have muscles and he has long flowing Fabio locks so shouldn’t his wife had known it was him, despite the mask?  Just musing.  Now things did get a little better when we got to L.A., if only because it was funny to watch the hyena thugs and also to watch Mandrak the Mugger, and there was a little charm in the whole Barbarian in L.A. thing that worked a little, but maybe not well enough to save the movie.

But again, we do like to unearth the positives when watching these things, such as a Victoria Paris sighting as one of the dozen or so Armanan citizens.  If you don’t know who Victoria Paris is, then good for you.  Please don’t google her.  Also, while still on the subject of voluptuous blondes, Joann Ayers fills out a little black dress wonderfully.  A shame this was pretty much the only movie in her brief career in which she got some quality screen time.  Another thing that was kind of cool in this movie was when our heroes were going solo, twirling their swords and stuff.  It became less cool when they actually had to engage in battle using these swords, using a style of sword fighting that had me thinking that the producers chose not to pay for insurance since these cats were fighting like they didn’t want to hurt one another, but the solo sword action was sweet.

Sword and Sorcery will never die, with the odd movie showing on occasion even now, but the renaissance is over, and while we won’t blame ‘Time Barbarians’ for the death of 80’s Sword and Sorcery… it probably didn’t help much.

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