|PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE
|Copyright 1983 Marcel/Robertson Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 9 March 2002
- Dan - Richard Hatch! Electrician and Kendo fighter. Possessing the latter skill is a fortunate coincidence in this movie.
- Carrie - She might be moderately attractive, but this woman is bad juju! I would not be surprised if her boyfriends were prone to death by spontaneous combustion.
- Dr. Hartmann - Using his amazing command of the British accent, this scientist has invented a gateway to parallel worlds.
- The Greenman - Strange fellow who is just full of useful knowledge. Plus, he knows every language there is, even Esperanto.
- Malachi - Of all the conniving little bastards. I hope someone ties him to a raft, then sets it on fire.
- The Caveman - Furry brute who is enamored with Carrie. Nature is out to get him though, probably due to his level of intelligence.
- Kleel - John Saxon! Warlord with an insecure personality. Fortunately he has found a way to compensate; unfortunately it involves two flintlock pistols. Blown to smithereens.
- Shareen - Kleel's head whore, at least until he found Carrie. Shot when her "services" are no longer needed.
|On her way to interview Dr. Hartmann, Carrie fails to pay enough attention to her driving (she was distracted by an earthquake) and runs Dan off the road. He is surprisingly unharmed after smashing into a rock outcropping, but unsurprisingly very unhappy with the apologetic woman. He yells at her about the damaged truck, her driving, and his broken Kendo sword. Oddly, he refuses the wad of cash she offers as an on-the-spot settlement, saying, "I don't need your charity." A couple of things are wrong here. Since when are motor vehicle accidents handled this way, since when is taking money for damaged property charity, and since when do items in a pickup truck bed go the opposite direction of inertia when the truck stops suddenly? Neither of the characters seem to consider these issues relevant. Carrie continues on to her destination, while Dan tries to fix his truck. Aftershocks drop live electrical wires on the stricken vehicle, causing an explosion. Dan decides to go for a walk, mainly since he doesn't have any other choice (besides watching the truck burn).
At the home and laboratory of Dr. Hartmann things are not going so well either. While demonstrating the machine that permits dimensional travel, a tremor hits and the scientist falls forward into the field. It might just be me, but playing with any sort of matter transfer device during an earthquake sounds like a bad idea. Anyway, the first house Dan comes to is, naturally, Dr. Hartmann's. Nobody answers the front door, so he walks in to look around; Carrie promptly bonks him over the head. Still seeing stars, he falls into the transfer beam when another aftershock hits. This time the cursed female jumps in too.
Carrie finds herself transported to a foreign wilderness. She also discovers a sad looking caveman who is slowly sinking into a pit of quicksand. Personally I would have left the goon in there, but she assists him in escaping Darwin's trap. A short time later she simultaneously finds both Dan and a savage tribe. The two actually run off of a cliff while fleeing their pursuers, ending up on a ledge some distance down. Now Carrie's kind forethought proves beneficial, because the caveman stops the savages from rolling rocks down at the pair. Instead, a number of little tribesmen (mysteriously replaced by stuffed impostors) take the plunge.
Here fans of sword and sorcery movies will see an old friend. Dan and Carrie free the Greenman, who had been a prisoner of the tribe, and that would be none other than Crow from Hawk the Slayer. Once again he is the epitome of marksmanship, except this time the weapon of choice is a pod gun. A pod gun uses compressed air to shoot long, pointed shafts. Where do you get compressed air in a primitive world? From a pod tree of course! For some reason evolution caused these plants to produce giant seed pods that bear red ping-pong balls full of compressed air.
Mr. Greenman is not around long before going his own way, leaving the two humans to make a little whoopee. Dan is shaving his beard (he carries a razor everywhere?) and Carrie is basking in the afterglow when Kleel finds them. Enchanted by the woman with "hair the color of the sun," he orders her taken prisoner. Well, the male protagonist does not find that to his liking and says so. Kleel promptly draws his pistol and shoots Dan for the display of insolence. Apparently Richard Hatch has seen "The Battle of the Bulge," because he throws his arms up in the air and dives off screen.
The unconscious hero is found by Malachi, who just wants to rifle the apparent corpse for valuables. The sudden resurrection causes a change in plans; he agrees to help Dan save Carrie in exchange for a wristwatch. During the remainder of the movie Dan will constantly be telling Malachi to return his watch, because the little thief has stolen it again. He is nothing more than a poor man's Tasslehoff Burrfoot! Well, that is an odd coincidence. The first Dragonlance books were published in 1984.
The middle chunk of the movie involves some misadventures, resulting in Dan hooking up with the Greenman and the Caveman. With such stalwart companions, he enters a cave that will lead them secretly to Kleel's fortress. During their subterranean ingress, the party is beset by "The Blind Dead." Except, they are not dead (until Dan and company hew a few) and that makes them more like "The Blind Fodder." What can you expect when pasty white bit part actors attack a Kendo master, a huge Caveman, and some dude with a ping-pong ball gun?
Dan and his pals manage to sneak into the fortress. If you call the Caveman tossing guards over the wall while being pincushioned "sneaking" (he also falls over the wall, apparently dead). Once inside, they free Carrie and grab Dr. Hartmann, then head for the exit. Unfortunately, one of the mortally wounded guards managed to warn Kleel about the intruders. Dan, Malachi, and the Greenman are spared from certain death only by Carrie agreeing to willingly submit to the warlord (you know what I mean).
She cannot suffer to think of Dan rotting in the cave prison, so Carrie blackmails Hartmann into setting the would be rescuers free. Malachi is all for flight; Dan wants to destroy the fortress, save Carrie, and kill Kleel. You may suspect, but the doctor has been providing the tyrant with technology in exchange for preferential treatment. For example: the two deadly flintlock pistols. He also has a laboratory full of black powder and nitroglycerin. While the Greenman and Malachi booby trap the barracks, Dan goes to save his beloved. The resulting destruction is darn impressive, especially Dan firing a pencil, filled with nitro, and blowing a hole in the gate. Heck, the Caveman even shows up and assists in dispersing Kleel. Dispersing? That's what happens when explosive lands on your head; little bits go every which way.
Some imagination went into the script and that helps. For the most part the actors seemed sincere, though Saxon's character was never very well defined. After some thought, maybe "refined" would be a better adjective. One minute he seems to be a barely intelligent primitive speaking in the third person, but the next Saxon shines through. The effect is jarring, to say the least. Obviously, things are all over the board at times, the musical score particularly so. For the life of me, I refuse to accept the grand theme playing as the camera pans over Kleel's hovel of a castle.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- In California the residents only drive European cars and trucks.
- Coax cable is perfect for rappelling.
- Sliding through parallel dimensions is an aphrodisiac.
- If your merciless ruler has taken a fancy to one of the female prisoners, I highly suggest you not rape her.
- Vultures are known for their mimicry.
- Wild horses come complete with saddles and sleeping rolls.
- Nitroglycerin is really flash power in a liquid form.
- 8 mins - Buddy, you are having a bad day.
- 12 mins - What did you do Dan, run under a ladder while throwing mirrors at a black cat?
- 15 mins - Leave him there; it's called natural selection.
- 26 mins - "Dinner" appears to be made of purple clay.
- 37 mins - I will bet you twenty dollars that the "sorcerer" is Hartmann.
- 47 mins - Moving away from the man about to be shot might be a good idea.
- 54 mins - I will take my twenty dollars in quarters; thank you very much.
- 75 mins - All that racket failed to alarm the other sentries?
- 87 mins - He still has not run out of black powder? The little pouch Dan is using must be a bag of holding.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Carrie: "I am quite able to do this by myself. So, if you do not mind, please take your hand off my butt."
||Greenman: "You are not from Vanya, but there is nowhere else, except Vanya. Yet you speak Vanyan. I don't understand."
||Kleel: "No one can kill Kleel. NO ONE!"
||Kleel: "Do not patronize me! I've offered you more than I've offered any woman."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|In order to win his and his friend's freedom, Dan was pitted against the nearly invulnerable myrmidon of the Nabu tribe. Even a swift kick to the groin failed to slow the giant adversary, but anything that touches the burning rock is turned into a cinder. |
You see this coming, don't you?
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