11 of Richard Lynch’s “Greatest” Hits (to the Balls) – 4. THE BARBARIANS (1987) Review

Poster for The Barbarians (1987).

There are two kinds of barbarians in this world, and they’re both the same. Huh? Huh? How do you like that one? I just came up with it, like right this second. Pretty good joke, right? Right? … … Okay, seriously, this movie sucks.

I know in the past I’ve tended to be extremely long-winded and verbose in my writings, but not this time. There’s honestly not a whole lot I can say about this one except that it was fucking terrible.

The Barbarians is yet another sword-and-sorcery film, and it’s another Cannon Group production. It’s got so many of their trademarks that I think that I’ll just list a few now: (1) it’s a blatant attempt to ride a bandwagon, except this time they were about five years too late; (2) it’s gay, seriously, it is; (3) it’s got bad acting; (4) it’s got racial discrimination, but somehow attempts to be integrated at the same time. Oh yeah, and Richard Lynch plays another villain. Big fucking surprise. I bet you didn’t see that one coming.

It’s weird because I’ve never actually been this lost for words when it comes to a movie. Good, bad, or so-bad-it’s-good, I’ve always been able to say something about a movie. This is a real turning point, people. Fear the end.

Sure, a lot of the time I’m just regurgitating plot points and making terrible jokes at the readers’ expense, but it’s something, dammit.

Basically there are these twins who grow up in some circus freakshow in some distant sword-and-sorcery past. They’re part of a group of traveling entertainers who basically have diplomatic immunity wherever they go. Unfortunately, one day, Richard Lynch is all like “It’s just been revoked” and starts massacring them left and right, because one of them is a princess with some magic ruby. What she’s a princess of and why the ruby is so important I have no idea. Mostly because none of it’s ever explained.

The twins are abducted and put in some prison camp, where they grow up into bodybuilding prisoners (played by Peter and David Paul). I guess ancient-historical prisons fed their inmates some good shit because these two certainly aren’t starved. They break out, break back in, kill Richard Lynch, save a bunch of people, find the magic ruby, and, uh, have pancakes. There’s also deleted footage where they meet up with their local steroid dealer.

Peter and David Paul. Not sure who’s who. Nor do I really give a fuck.

I guess I was just disappointed because Ruggero Deodato was attached to this; he’s the guy that’s infamous for the whole cannibal holocaust thing. You remember that, don’t you? Where he basically attempted to systematically exterminate cannibals? What about that whole jungle holocaust thing, where he attempted to exterminate the world’s jungles?

It’s also a Cannon Film. I mean, what the fuck? A while ago I basically had a written orgasm of near-8000 words expressing my love for the Group, and they tarnish that entire image with this one film. It isn’t the worst film ever. It’s just fucking disappointing, is all.

There’s a moment of incest.

This moment of incestuous-gayness brought to you by the Cannon Group.
Cannon, doing it the hard way since 1967.

There’s also an evil sorceress named China. Yep. She’s all manipulative and evil and dark-sorcery like and foreign and shit and she’s named China. You know they could have chosen any name in the world, and they chose China. Real subtle there Cannon. I wonder if this is some kind of poke at… China…?

I’ll admit that there are a lot of little moments where you think “what the fuck?” that sort of makes up for all of the disappointment. Some of these moments are really small or easy-to-miss if you aren’t paying full attention. Some aren’t.

Like this guy. What the fuck?

Michael Berryman and Italian B-movie actor George Eastman make small appearances. I have no idea what sort of performance Berryman’s going for in this movie, but it’s pretty funny. There are a lot of other moments of abject fuckness. Like when you find out Eva LaRue’s character is a virgin. Yep. In this dark fantasy world of, you know, monsters, rapists, little regard for women other than as sexual objects, and Richard Lynch, this chick is a virgin. I kind of find that hard to believe. Really hard.

She’s a virgin. And I’m not. You don’t believe me, do you?

Or that really weird noise the twins make periodically. I have no idea why they make those noises. It sounds like a pig getting raped in the ass. Not that I’d know what that’d sound like. There’s also a point in the movie where they’re escaping from a bunch of unruly “bar” patrons and end up barring the front door from the outside when it opens inward. I mean, you gotta really be paying attention to notice these kinds of things. Ah, it’s the little things that make Cannon Films so watchably-bad.

Or how about this dragon thing that… doesn’t really look like a dragon. Sure, no one really knows what a dragon looks like since they’re fucking fantastical creatures, but this is not what I have in mind when I think of a dragon.

Also, Richard Lynch looks like a rock star named David Bowie. He doesn’t really do much in this film and he dies a really lame death. Basically, he’s actually putting up a decent fight against both brothers at the same time, and then he gets his crossbow out to shoot at them… and the fucking thing jams. Seriously, Golan-Globus? That’s the best way you could have thought to have this guy killed? Have his crossbow not work?

Kadar (Richard Lynch) wielding the Mirror Shield from the Legend of Zelda series.

There’s some mildly substantive stuff like Richard Lynch being literally possessed by his love of the princess, whom he’s now abducted. There’s a, erm, touching moment when he accidentally kills her. Actually, it’s pretty lame. But you know what they say, you kill the thing that you love.

There’s not much else to say here. It’s got the bad acting, attempts at weirdness, hulking bodybuilders, bad writing, bad everything. Seriously, only watch this film if you are a hardcore Cannon Films fan, are looking for a bad time, really like Richard Lynch or Ruggero Deodato, or are being forced to watch it because you were captured by generic Islamist militants and they’re subjecting you to hardcore filmic torture. And even then, request that you be beheaded, first.

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