Amazons and Gladiators

Starring: Jennifer Rubin, Patrick Bergin & Nichole Hiltz
Paramount Home Entertainment
RRP 9.99
Certificate: 15
Available now

In a remote village at the edge of the Ancient Roman Empire,
a young girl called Serena is enslaved and her family butchered by the sadistic Roman General Crassius. Ten years later the young girl has become a reluctant slave-dancer, but after stabbing a depraved Roman senator in self-defence she is forced to escape with a fearsome Amazonian warrior. Under the protection of the Amazons, Serena learns the art of mortal combat and, driven by her hatred of Crassius, soon finds herself in a savage gladiatorial arena, pitted against impossible odds, but resolved to avenge her parents death at any cost...

Gladiator was a cinematic masterpiece and Xena is a camp, often funny TV series. Amazons and Gladiators tries to pass itself off as a cross between the two. But it isn't. It is neither serious or moving enough to be a poor relation to Gladiator, nor is it camp enough to be compared to Xena.

It is so obvious that this is a low budget movie. The sets look like balsa wood and to avoid building a huge amphitheatre to rival The Coliseum, the writers move the action into the middle of nowhere. This now means that the gladiator battles take place in a venue that would be better suited as the location of a modern day amateur dramatic society's annual pantomime.

There are two scenes that will make you cringe with embarrassment. Firstly the writers try to cleverly pay homage to Fight Club with a line about the rules of the Amazonians and secondly the ending to the movie has a really preachy, don't treat women like objects, speech.

This last scene is awful, made more risible by the fact this is exactly what the production has just spent the last 90mins doing. There is a perfect example of this where our hero has to fight a man - we are told she won't win because men are stronger. Well done! They have managed to produce an exploitative movie which shows women as objects of desire.

There is one interesting twist in the movie, but rather stupidly someone at Paramount decided to spoil this by printing the details on the back of the video sleeve - slick move.

If this had more sex scenes it would be a passable soft porn movie, as it is it is a dogs dinner of a movie - stick to Xena. Now I never thought I'd say that.

Nick Smithson

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