Article 2527 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-5-2008
Posting Date: 7-13-2008
Directed by Roger Corman
Featuring Michael Forest, Barboura Morris, Frank Wolff
When a city is held in siege by an evil tyrant, the archon of the city convinces the tyrant to agree to settle their dispute by having a battle to the death between their respective champions. The tyrant chooses a wrestler named Atlas for his champion. However, Atlas isn’t sure he cares much for the tyrant or his ways…
Here’s a novelty; an American attempt at a sword-and-sandal movie. Shooting it in Greece was an excellent idea, as it gave them some good locations for their work. However, the movie falls flat overall, despite the fact that the script was written by Charles B. Griffith. Part of the problem is that the low budget kept the spectacle level below what it really needed to be to make this one work. As Atlas (not the god holding up the world, but someone of the same name), Michael Forest simply looks too thin and weedy to conjure up visions of other sword-and-sandal actors like Steve Reeves, Alan Steel, Gordon Mitchell etc. It should come as no surprise that this Atlas doesn’t even have superhuman strength, and unfortunately this strips the movie of fantastic content, unless the city under siege by Praximedes classifies as a mythical kingdom. Mostly, it’s the weak acting and the overabundance of talk that drag this one down; quite frankly, the actors who do the dubbing on Italian sword-and-sandal movies did a better job of expressing emotion and excitement. The limp battle scenes weren’t Corman’s fault; he had arranged for 500 soldiers for the scenes, but had to skimp when only fifty showed up, resulting in battles that mostly consisted of confusing close-ups. All in all, this simply fails to deliver the goods.