HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
Shaft
Summer Lovers
   
 
Newest Articles
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ashanti Don't Throw Those Bloody Slaves At MeBuy this film here.
Year: 1979
Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Michael Caine, Peter Ustinov, Kabir Bedi, Beverly Johnson, Omar Sharif, Rex Harrison, William Holden, Zia Mohyeddin, Winston Ntshona, Tariq Yunus, Tyrone Jackson, Akosua Busia, Jean-Luc Bideau, Olu Jacobs, Johnny Sekka, Marne Maitland, Eric Pohlmann
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Adventure
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: While on a medical mission for the United Nations, Dr. Anansa Linderby (Beverly Johnson) is abducted by slave traders led by Suleiman (Peter Ustinov). Her husband, Dr. David Linderby (Michael Caine) embarks on rescue mission that leads him across West Africa, the Sahara desert and the Middle East, in the company of various colourful characters, including Malik (Kabir Bedi) a nomad with a grudge against Suleiman for enslaving his family.

As every film fan knows, Michael Caine - wonderful though he is - made more than his fair share of stinkers. The great man himself allegedly considers the tacky Ashanti his second worst film, behind The Swarm (1978) of course, although with Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987) on his resume it really comes down to personal (dis)taste. There are hints from its opening scenes that the makers of Ashanti are out to craft a socially responsible action-adventure film, one that spotlights the slave trade as a Major International Problem. Yet dealing with slavery requires a modicum of sobriety this film does not have.

Witness Peter Ustinov being outrageously hammy as the odious Arabic slave trader. Earlier in his career, Ustinov excelled in villainous roles but by this stage was better known as a raconteur and avuncular comic performer. Consequently Suleiman comes across as a rather camp and ridiculous figure, despite shooting, torturing and even allowing his right hand man to molest a young African boy (mercifully off-screen). The sadism coupled with some brief nudity from model-turned-actress Beverly Johnson (later Lex Luthor’s evil assistant Mrs. Cox on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) comes across like a big budget version of those Italian jungle adventures from the late Seventies. Indeed most of the film crew are Italian, including cinematographer Aldo Tonti reunited with director Richard Fleischer after Barabbas (1961).

Hitherto an accomplished director of crime thrillers and adventure films, Fleischer entered an altogether schlockier period in his career after Mandingo (1975). Although both he and Beverly Johnson were removed from the production midway through shooting (in Fleischer’s case on account of sunstroke), the veteran filmmaker imparts a glossy sheen to proceedings, from the hypnotic desert to the shimmering seas wherein a cheesy finale straight out of TV’s Hart to Hart comes complete with disco love theme sung by Jimmy Chambers.

Light on action, Ashanti (named after Anansa’s ancestral tribe) plods along rather too enamoured of itself. Caine’s vapid hero gets some tedious comedy business with an uncooperative camel, but does surprisingly very little. Kabir Bedi handles most of the action but despite his tragic past emerges a diffident, distant figure. Worse yet, the way the story unfolds winds up reinforcing the despicable mindset that spawned the slave trade. Time and again, David learns there is no room for compassion in the pitiless desert. Most of Anansa’s fellow captives are forgotten by the film’s end, including one poor girl (Akosua Busia) traded to a Tuareg Chief (Marne Maitland) in her stead. “I’m stuck with this stupid girl…” the self-aggrandizing creep laments before David and Malik bid them both farewell. The sole affecting scene finds David forced to abandon a group of weeping children to their fate, a moment whose repercussions are glossed over far too easily in a bid to educate the liberal European how things work in the desert.

While Caine looks bored for the most part, film fans may relish the starry if rather pointless cameos which include Rex Harrison as the screen’s most apathetic anti-slavery campaigner; William Holden in one of his last roles as a world-weary mercenary; and Omar Sharif, the epitome of suave villainy as the Arabian Prince who hypocritically berates Suleiman for his lack of principles then kidnaps Anansa anyway. While Holden suffers the indignity of copping a bullet from Ustinov early on, Sharif’s exit proves especially hilarious. Once bullets start to fly amidst the finale, he disappears behind a door, never to be seen again. Presumably off to cash his paycheque at the nearest casino.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2910 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Richard Fleischer  (1916 - 2006)

American director whose Hollywood career spanned five decades. The son of famed animator Max Fleischer, he started directing in the forties, and went on to deliver some stylish B-movies such as Armored Car Robbery and Narrow Margin. His big break arrived with Disney's hit live action epic, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, and which he followed up with such films as The Vikings, Compulsion, Fantastic Voyage, The Boston Strangler, true crime story 10 Rillington Place, See No Evil, cult favourite Soylent Green, Mister Majestyk, Amityville 3-D and sequel Conan the Destroyer. He became unfairly well known for his critical flops, too, thanks to Doctor Dolittle, Che!, Mandingo, The Jazz Singer remake, Red Sonja and Million Dollar Mystery, some of which gained campy cult followings, but nevertheless left a solid filmography to be proud of.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: