Sinbad of the Seven Seas Movie Review

I don't know why I subject myself to these movies. Sure, there's the camp factor, the kitsch taste, the party jokes, the nostalgia, but in the end I'm not sure it's worth wasting brain cells on this tripe. Maybe I've gotten a little more cynical, maybe my interest has simply waned but right now there is nothing more painful than a bad Italian peplum.

Um, I've already slipped into geek speak. Peplum, that's the "fancy" word for "sword and sandal" flicks like Steve Reeves' 1960s Hercules films. Most of the most popular peplums (believe it or not there is (or was, it's been a while since I looked) a 'zine devoted to the study of them) involve hordes of barbarians, Romans, infidels, or nameless thugs battling lone supermen in loincloths. These are mythic tales told with shoestring budgets and dubbed. They are quite a bit of fun after a few beers but watching them sober is quite dangerous.

Sinbad of the Seven Seas is an '80s-updated peplum. Sure, it's really about Sinbad, but this ain't a Harryhausen film and it sure looks like every other cheapskate peplum dredged out of Rome in the '80s. There are no stop-motion monsters, no sophisticated heroes, just Lou Ferrigno in tight purple shorts battling men in shaggy suits. The plot is simple: Sinbad versus an evil wizard. Sinbad is played by Hulk-ster Ferrigno and Jaffar, the evil wizard, is John Steiner. (Steiner went from Marat/Sade artiness to Euro-slop like Yor, Hunter from the Future though he had a great run playing baddies in Italian crime classics.) Throw in some footage from Ferrigno's earlier Italian epic, Hercules, terrible hair, excruciating dialogue, cardboard sets and... you get the point. This thing makes Logan's Run look like Episode One. (And I actually like Logan's Run.)

Supposedly based on a short story by Poe, Sinbad of the Seven Seas is nothing short of moronic. Many '80s film fans secretly love this picture, worshipping it in darkened cellars, invoking the shade of Ed Wood. But it really doesn't deserve these accolades. Wood's work was brutally hideous but it had some independent charm. Sinbad of the Seven Seas is hackwork. Too bad, too. Director Enzo Castellari had a few engaging films, he remains the king of European Mad Max knock-offs, but he fell asleep at the wheel here.

So, why is this thing showing up on DVD (in 1:85:1 widescreen, no less!)? Why does this deserve a release when European crap fests like Treasure of the Four Crowns and The Last Shark (by Castellari) languish in obscurity? Must be the Ferrigno factor and that crazy electro soundtrack (go, Dov Seltzer, go!). If this had starred Mickey Hargitay it'd never see the light of day again.

Just say no.

Don't pick.

Comments

Sinbad of the Seven Seas Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: PG-13, 1989

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