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  Sinbad and the Minotaur Get horny
Year: 2011
Director: Karl Zwicky
Stars: Manu Bennett, Lily Brown, Holly Brisley, Steven Grives, Dimitri Baveas, Brad McMurray, Jared Robinson, Lauren Horner, Derek Boyer, David Vallon, Pacharo Mzembe, Terry Antoniak, Sam Elia, Nick Pendragon
Genre: Horror, Action, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Legends of an ancient treasure hidden on a mysterious island lead Sinbad the sailor (Manu Bennett) to sneak inside the desert camp of evil sorcerer Al-Jibar (Steven Grives), hoping to steal a relic that will lead him to the priceless golden head of the Colossus of Rhodes. Sinbad escapes with the information he needs and rescues kidnapped princess Tara (Holly Brisley) from the clutches of Al-Jibar and his demonic minions. Together with his gutsy pirate crew, Sinbad reaches the elusive island receiving a less than warm welcome from its glowering inhabitants. When Al-Jibar ambushes the heroes in a local tavern, everyone is surprised when the islanders all sprout bloody horns and run amuck. Eventually Sinbad and his friends search for the treasure hidden inside a vast, booby-trapped labyrinth, guarded by the mythical Minotaur.

This low-budget Australian production falls way below Ray Harryhausen standards and is crass by comparison with the lyrical splendour of The Thief of Bagdad (1940). Given his regular gig on the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand is a humourless mix of soft-core sex and hardcore violence, star Manu Bennett evidently wanted to lighten up with something silly and fun. While the film is executed with zest and offers a few unpretentious thrills, if you are in a charitable mood, its tone wavers uncertainly between the jocularity of the Nineties TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and the grim nastiness of a DTV horror movie. For what is ostensibly intended to be a family friendly romp, the action is surprisingly gruesome and sadistic: sexy dancing girl Luna (Lauren Horner) is horse-whipped into a bloody mess, villagers morph into grotesque horned horrors, and most of Sinbad’s crew die in horrific ways. The script by Jim Noble is also ridden with profanity, making you wonder who the target audience are since this is too juvenile for grownups and too dour for kids.

Opening with a rather pointless prologue set in ancient Minos, the film plays fast and loose with Greek mythology, although admittedly the Harryhausen classics were no more faithful to their source material. Director Karl Zwicky overdoses on flashy MTV style editing but the plot is repetitive stalk and slash nonsense. Bennett’s spiky haired, croaky voiced Sinbad glowers like a boorish pub drunk, repeating one-line catchphrases like “Details!” and “Impressive!” ad nauseam. Co-star Holly Brisley is a similarly vapid heroine while bald baddie Steven Grives does a poor Torin Thatcher impersonation. The rampaging CGI minotaur is accomplished but nowhere as effective as the more modest Harryhausen creation in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977). Arabian Nights adventures have made something of a comeback over the past few years, but compared to the swashbucklers of yore or even the likeable Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), this is sorely lacking in romance and rather charmless.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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