The Film (4/5)
Films like the Devil's Sword are the reason I practically obsess over Mondo Macabro's DVD releases. This label more than any other brings the most bizarre films from world cinema, and issues them in wonderfully restored DVD editions. I have a particular enjoyment of the Devil's Sword as I was a kid who grew up in the 80's under the shadow of Conan the Barbarian, and other films from the Sword and Sorcery genre that dominated the decade.
The Devil's Sword takes an obvious influence from those 80's epics, but offers it's own almost surrealistic take on the genre. It was as if the makers of the film watched a handful of 80's Sword and Sorcery films took from them the surface elements (violence, sex, swordplay, etc), and pushed all those elements to a Spinal Tap-esque 11 to create something that sits besides those films comfortably, while besting them with it's over-the-top atmosphere. The film features excellent action sequences with bloody martial arts and swordplay, and bizarre imagery that has to be seen to be believed. The main villain of the piece Banyu-jaga is introduced by surfing on a chunk of mountain rock to the village where the films main narrative begins, and there's more to be seen on top of that.
The film follows Mandela played by Indoneian actions most well known star Barry Prima. Mandela finds himself in a rural Indonesian village that was just attacked by a minion of The Crocodile Queen, Banyu-jaga. Banyu-jaga was sent to the village to capture their most robust male, as a sacrifice to the Crocodile Queen. This man is needed by the Crocodile Queen to help maintain her youth, by taking his virginity. Unable to defeat Banyu-jaga with his own ability, he goes to his Master, who was also Banyu-jaga's master. He reaches his masater as he is on his deathbed. The master advises Mandela to retrieve the Devil's Sword, the only weapon with enough power to defeat Banyu-jaga. This begins his quest to stop this villain, and in turn the Crocodile Queen by retrieving the sword from the "Mountain of Swords."
Mondo Macabro presents the film in a 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen tranfer that preserves the OAR of the original presentation. The film in keeping with Mondo Macabro's restoration aesthetic is presented beautifully with nary any print damage to be seen, but offers an excellent, clean, and very detailed transfer. The colors are nice, black levels, are solid, flesh tones are accurate, and I honestly can't find anything to really pick apart here. Devil's Sword is just a phenomenal transfer that betters many films that are less obscure than this one.
The film is presented in a Dolby Digital stereo soundtrack. The film is dubbed in English, but the track itself sounds quite good with dialogue, effects, and score coming though nice and clearly. I did not detect any issues with the audio overall.
Not the most elaborate extras package, but quite good for a film of this level of obscurity. The main extra on this disc is a 20 minute interview with Indonesian action superstar Barry Prima. We get 2 on screen text essay in regards to the film by Pete Tombs one is called Heavenly Swords, and the other is simply titled About The Film. We also get a bio of Barry Prima, the films trailer, plus trailers for other MM releases.
If you are looking for that one 80's Sword and Sorcery film you haven't seen, one that is so over-the-top and fun that you can't believe you haven't seen it yet, than check out The Devil's Sword. The A/V restoration from Mondo Macabro is fantastic, and the extras are a small, but nice addition to the overall package. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.