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The Blade Master
(1984 Film)

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About This Film
Alternative Titles
Cast
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Cast:

Miles O'Keeffe as Ator
Kiro Wehara as Thong, Ator's Asian sidekick (credited as Chen Wong)
Lisa Foster as Mila, daughter of Akronas "The Great One"
Charles Borromel as Akronas "The Great One", scientist/philosopher supreme
David Brandon as Zor, evil bad guy leader (credited as David Cain Haughton)

The Blade Master (1984)
:  This is the second Ator movie.  Ator is an Italian-made film series.  Definitely a B-movie, but well-filmed and watchable.  Pretty well-done considering the fact that it was made without a script and almost entirely improvised.  The director, Joe D'Amato, admits this, as there was not enough time to write a script.  Miles O'Keeffe had been contracted to star in a set number of films for D'Amato by a certain date.  This film was rushed into production and shot in only two weeks.

    The premise of Ator is interesting: He's a prehistoric warrior superhero.  The time period is barely out of the Stone Age.  Most people are still cavemen, but there is a fraction of mankind that's civilized.  Ator, himself, is an interesting hero.  He's a musclebound warrior, scientist, and philosopher.  Ator is a rather unique character and I'd like to see him redone in better, more advanced films.

    So what happened between the first movie and this one?  Sunya, Ator's woman in the first movie, is said to have just died.  Apparently, she just got sick and died.  No special death, just died.  In a way, that's a more respectable way of writing her out than the traditional "I shall seek vengeance" kind of plot.  And, somehow, Ator picked up a new Asian sidekick with no backstory.  Akronas, who was supposed to be a pivotal figure in Ator's life, we've never seen before and NOW holds importance in THIS movie.

    O'Keeffe is great as Ator.  I've always enjoyed O'Keeffe in films, so he does give this character a cool personality.  Another great highlight is Lisa Foster as sexy warrior babe Mila.  Besides looking great, she's another likable personality.  There is a budding romance between Ator and Mila that is never fully realized by the end of this film, although Ator does show interest and promises to return after he's destroyed the Nucleus Device.

    Okay, now for the plot of this movie.  Akronas "The Great One" is the ultimate scientist/philosopher.  He created a weapon of mass destruction he calls "The Nucleus".  The Nucleus is definitely meant to be an early version of the Atom Bomb.  Akronas, who is old and weak, sends daughter Mila to fetch Ator, because only Ator can protect the Nucleus from dangerous hands.  Zor, the main bad dude, kidnaps Akronas and Mila is on the run.  Zor wants to know where Akronas is hiding the Nucleus, and Akronas won't fess up.  Mila meets up with Ator and sidekick Thong (giggle) and together the terrific trio fight their way to Zor's castle to free Akronas and save the device.  Well, as you guessed it, everything turns out fine.  Akronas is saved, Zor is killed.  The Nucleus is handed over to Ator who later disposes of it, and the movie ends with a mighty narrative on how big of stud Ator is and 1980s synthesizer rock.

MY CONCERNS ABOUT THIS MOVIE:

    The fact that Ator has an Asian sidekick is cool.  He learns the martial arts from this man, and the guy is a scientist and medicine man in his own right.  But Thong, THE DUDE'S NAME IS THONG!  Oh, that's so bad.  Surely they could have come up with something better than that.  But hey, at least it wasn't Dong or Wang.  Still, the character of Thong added a lot to making Ator more interesting.  He was a new character to the series in this film.

    The beginning caveman scenes had NOTHING to do with this movie.  When I first saw this, I got so bored with the cavemen that I almost didn't watch the rest of the film.  What the heck was this about, anyway, and why was it left in?

    Akronas tells his daughter Mila the story of Ator, so we have to see a lot of stock footage from the first Ator movie and have to learn his whole story from beginning to present.  First of all, wasn't Ator's story sufficiently explained in the first movie?  And why would we have to be told all this again?  It didn't serve any relevance to this story.  It did, however, provide a big chunk of filler to give this movie more length (like the crappy caveman scenes).

    In addition, Akronas was Ator's teacher, so wouldn't Mila already know about Ator?  And how come Ator never knew of Mila before, if he and Akronas were such tight buddies?  How come Ator never saw Mila before?  Was she away at college at the time?  What the heck!

    Then you have Zor.  Zor is the lead bad guy warrior dude.  That's about it.  There's nothing distinct about him.  He's not the leader of a religious cult, or some other great icon.  He's just a bad barbarian guy that happens to have a castle and an army.  I don't care about that as much, but how the *&%^ did he ever find out about an invention Akronas JUST created, and if he had known about it through some great magic vision, wouldn't he already know where it was hidden?  Besides the fact, Akronas didn't live in that big of a place.  Zor could have easily had it searched through, and would never have had to kidnap Akronas to learn the hiding place.

    But the biggest boner of the movie was near the end.  Where in the world did Ator get the hang glider to raid Zor's castle?  Did he keep it in his hair?  Don't get me wrong, I liked the hang glider sequence.  It was a really exciting visual.  But there was absolutely NO explanation whatsoever.  Did he have it stored somewhere?  Did he construct it on the fly?  Any sort of explanation would do.

PLUSSES ABOUT THIS MOVIE:

    Despite the fact that this movie has more-than-obvious faults, it is entertaining.  I do think this same basic story could be redone much better today, scriptwise more than anything else.  There are a lot of great story elements, they just needed to be connected to each other better.

    The special effects used in this movie were all good, so at least we weren't given cheesy effects.

    The camerawork and overall quality of filming is bright and easy to look at.

    Miles O'Keeffe is physically convincing as a tough, warrior guy.  Lisa Foster makes a great, beautiful warrior girl.  The look of the entire cast is good.  There isn't any actor who doesn't fit.

    The film moves along fairly quick.

Alternate Titles For This Film:

Ator, l'invincibile 2 [actual Italian title, meaning "Ator, the Invincible 2"]
Ator, the Blade Master
Cave Dwellers [USA TV title]
The Return

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