Barbarian (2003) from Copperhead

I'm a sucker for these Warrior/Wizard type epics, even though I was surprised anyone is still making them. It did have the promise of some sexuality, maybe some decent nudity,  and the action star was a multiple Mr. Universe winner.  (The remaining actors and all the actresses have Russian or Slavic names, a trend now in Corman movies.) Best of all, it starred Martin Kove, who everyone will recognize as the "evil" Karate teacher from the Karate Kid movies, now a member of the Hair Club for Men.

I must say, I enjoyed the movie, so I recommend it as a rental. 

  • First the costumes are entertaining, with some of the "bad" guys having the most "evil" masks/costumes I've seen in a while, sort of a cross between Knight's Helmets and Death Heads.  However, not all is well from the costume department.  There is a character that appears to be a boy in a very funny-looking Halloween "Wookie" costume.  And who would have thought peasant girls wore G-strings?  Well, they do in this movie.  At least, they aren't the Victoria Secret ones - they actually look like something that someone in that time period might have to wear, assuming Roger Corman lived back then.
  • It does have some authentic castle scenes, which is also a plus.
  • The acting is poor, as is common in this type of movie.  The hero, although muscular and physically fitting for the part, seems to have only one expression.  In one fight scene, he postures like a WWF veteran (maybe he has plans for a third career, if this acting thing doesn't work out?) Some scenes are over-acted (such as the captured Amazon girl, when turned over to be part of the Harem: "Any man that touches me will lose an arm").
  • There's some overly ambitious photography, such as the scene in the tavern. This is the scene, where not only does Martin Kove out-"Caligula" Malcolm McDowell, but they even have a mud wrestling match between two slave girls. Throw in the line "No woman is allowed to say NO", and then have a slave girl tied up and stripped of her diaphanous gown for everyone's pleasure.
  • There is enough nudity to make it watchable, but I'm forever frustrated by some of these movies.  For one thing, the nudity is obviously gratuitous, so at least they understand the appeal.  Given that fact, why do they have a wild native girl making love with her skirt wrapped around her waist?  In fact, there was no frontal nudity I could see, and even though there was some nice rear exposure, it was mostly in G-strings or short short skirts.  Here's a typical example:  Scene shows one of the evil Tyrant's guards, apparently arresting peasants to be slaves. An attractive, poorly dressed peasant girl is thrown at his feet.  He stands her up as she struggles, giving us a nipple peek, and says "Let's see what you've got."  Lifting her dress, he exposes her nearly naked ass.  Looking at the tiniest of G-strings, he says "The king will like you."  Then he ties her hands and takes her away, never to be seen again.  The entire scene was for the ass exposure.  Similar scenes as girls are thrown around in the tavern scene - short skirts flipping up to expose G-string clad bottoms.  They wasted a nice scene of the princess, forced to wear a two-piece costume, tied to a rack as she is mildly tortured and forced to talk about some "secret stone" that was a minor part of the movie.  There was no real exposure in this scene, although her short skirt showed enough cheek that you knew she was either naked or wearing the ever-present G-string.  The actress had already had a breast exposed in the Harem scene - wouldn't you think the evil Martin Kove character would want her squirming, naked and helpless, on the rack? Bottom line on the nudity: topless or one breast exposed (apparently a fashion statement by Harem girls) by several actresses, some nice rear exposure in G-strings by several unknowns.

 Worth a rental.


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The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Copperhead's review indicates a C-. If you're looking for S&S with some T&A, it's watchable.

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