Plot: A shift in power has taken place, as the nefarious Antoine has used a carpet assassin and other hidden blades to seize the throne, lopping off the king’s arms before his execution. But the king’s pregnant lover manages to escape and birth her child, just before she too is knocked off. The infant is supposed to be protected from Antoine’s gaze, but instead the child ends up taken by lions. As lions are not that nice, it is assumed that the child has been killed and eaten, but in truth, these ferocious felines adopted the baby and raised it as their own. Now an adult, he is Lion Man (Cuneyt Arkin), a strong and virile man who aims to protect and serve. Antoine still holds power and is a cruel ruler, but Lion Man intends to gain vengeance and return prosperity to the lands, by means of martial arts inspired violence. But can one man, even a Lion Man, take down an entire ruling regime?
Entertainment Value: Some movies just throw caution to the wind and go balls deep, with no regard for narrative, common sense, or the laws of physics. The Sword and the Claw is just such a motion picture. This one has production values that would make Andy Milligan cringe and action scenes that make no sense whatsoever, but it is a glorious ride to experience. Given the awful English dub involved, it is tough to gauge the narrative, as there is little rhyme or reason involved in this version. I’ll talk more about the dub later, as it is all kinds of baffling, but suffice it to say logic and common sense are not crucial ingredients here. The real draw outside of the sheer lunacy involved has to be the action scenes, which are a lot of fun to watch. The action boasts acrobatics, teleportation, very slow ziplines, low impact combat, luchadore style planchas, and hilarious bloodshed, so this is gold tier stuff. Of course, you need to have an appreciation for this kind of wild, low rent cinema, otherwise it will just seem cheap and slapdash, instead of uproarious and insanely fun. Cuneyt Arkin has the lead and he rules the roost, looking like a bloated, deranged Wayne Newton as he glides across the screen like a lost musketeer. The cast overacts in wonderful fashion, made all the more over the top by the often lifeless, thick Canadian accents of the English dub. In short, this movie hits a lot of sweet spots for cult cinema fans, a wild and ridiculous picture that holds up to repeat viewings and more than deserves a place in most collections.
No nakedness. A couple close calls, but no naked flesh winds up exposed. This movie is loaded with fight scenes and for some reason, involves a good deal of eye and face wounds, as scratching seems to be a favored tactic. The blood in these instances is more comical than visceral, but it adds to the entertainment value, so I see no real issue with that approach. The movie also has some hilarious dismemberment sequences, such as hands and arms being lopped off in low rent style, as well as an assortment of sword and other blade wounds. So some fun violence and bloodshed, but don’t expect graphic gore, as this is more ridiculous than anything else. The dubbed soundtrack here is hilarious, with thick Canadian accents and wild tonal shifts, as some actors are monotone and lifeless, even in moments that seem to need emotional reaction, while others are off the hinges even in more reserved scenes. The lines are a constant treat, with sudden bursts of profanity and just general nonsense, though not a wealth of big, quotable type lines, which is a surprise. But if you’re a fan of wild dialogue and terrible voice overs, you will have a blast with this one. On the craziness front, this one drips with wackiness, with the awful dub, out of this world action scenes, and rickety production values. This is a wild, super fun movie, without question.
Overall Insanity: 10/10