Picks and Pans Review: The Beastmaster
If he can really talk to the animals, Marc (79 Park Avenue) Singer—star of this latest in the current plague of swords-and-sorcery epics—should tell them to hold out for better parts in the future. This film, directed by Don (Phantasm) Coscarelli, is occasionally bad enough to be funny, but more often it just seems interminable. Singer plays a warrior whose mythical village is wiped out by a marauding band. He seeks revenge using powers that just come naturally to a man who was given birth to by a cow (yes, that's one of the parts bad enough to be funny). Because he is able to communicate with animals, he enlists the aid of an eagle, two ferrets and a panther. Later Singer hooks up with John Amos, once of TV's Good Times, done up here in a leather outfit that might have come from Frederick's of Hollywood. Another ally is Tanya Roberts, perhaps the sixth best actress ever to play one of Charlie's Angels. She gets to show a lot more in this film than she ever did on ABC, but none of it has to do with acting ability. When the main villain, Rip Torn, evil priest of the god Ar (or is it "R" or "Are" or "Arrrrgh"?), tries to make a human sacrifice of her, he immediately gains the audience's sympathy, even though he has black teeth, stringy hair and barrettes that look like human skulls. There is a lot of fire, magic and impaling in this one, as well as much mincing, dicing, slicing, chopping and trimming with swords. The film was photographed by John Alcott, who has often worked with Stanley Kubrick and won an Oscar for Barry Lyndon. He deserves another this time for not resisting what must have been a temptation to cap his lenses and go home. (PG)
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