Thursday, July 17, 2014

Treasure Of The Four Crowns (1983)

Treasure Of The Four Crowns is one of the worst of the worst. It’s almost unbearable. It was originally shot in 3D, and is not in 3D on the DVD, so perhaps a small part of the problem (very small) is the lack of that effect. But really I’m just being kind in even mentioning that.

Anyway, the film begins with a man exploring a castle. Think of the opening of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, then subtract the suspense and the humor, remove all of the fun, and put in some birds and dogs and a less charismatic actor, and you’ll have a good idea of what this is about. He suddenly does an acrobatic move, which is unbelievable and hilarious. The scene goes on and on. Apparently the basement of the castle is a haunted house from the cheapest, shittiest traveling carnival you ever attended. Nice hovering crossbows. I love the thick strings holding them in place. Do the crossbows fire repeatedly at the camera? You bet! And in slow motion. And not just crossbow bolts, but also swords, spears and maces are hurled at the camera. By whom? No idea. It doesn’t matter.

We’re sixteen minutes into the film and nothing has happened. What is this guy doing? Disembodied voices howl and moan and laugh. Perhaps they’ve read the script. Is there a script? There’s been no dialogue or anything. So far the script is just a list of objects that are thrown at the camera. This would have been irritating in 3D, but in 2D it’s just dull as shit. Who is this guy? Can something hit him already? There is a growing and terrible fear that this guy is our hero.

The castle suddenly catches fire, like at the end of a Hammer film. And twenty minutes into this movie the man exits the castle, having achieved… well, I’m not sure what he accomplished. Random explosions go off behind him for some reason as he runs away.

Twenty-two minutes into the film we get our first line of dialogue: “How ya doin’, J.T.?” So the guy is named J.T. Well, those are his initials anyway. Or maybe not, because he doesn’t answer. Twenty-two minutes in we have our first line of dialogue – a question that he doesn’t bother to answer. Great. And it turns out this jackass is our hero. Great again.

Regarding the castle, J.T. says: “That place was a nightmare. It almost got me killed.” Not really. Whoever was tossing random objects at him never even hit him. Even the large rolling fireball didn’t come close. What a whiner this J.T. is. The other guys ask if he got the key or not, and J.T. says he got it. So that’s what he accomplished in that excruciating opening scene.

Well, there is some nonsense about crowns and unspeakable power and whatever. Meanwhile, a magnifying glass and other items are passed directly toward the camera whenever possible. It's like the camera is the go-between in all hand-offs among characters. These guys treat J.T. to a slide show and a recording of some man yelling. His name is Brother Jonas, and he has the other crowns. They tell J.T.: “The sick, the desperate, the lonely. His apostles go out and round ‘em up like they were stray dogs and they ship ‘em off to his private mountain fortress.” They want J.T. to steal the crowns from Brother Jonas. J.T. says no, but we all know that means yes.

There are more props on strings when J.T. tries to recruit a drunk friend into their stupid plan. And more ridiculous explosions. And more objects are tossed at the camera. Then we have to suffer as J.T. and the other guy go about gathering the rest of the team. Then when the plan is explained – well, sort of explained – we get more crap flying at the camera. It makes no sense, and has no real bearing on anything, so think of it as a good time to refill your bong or take a piss. You won’t miss anything. (Actually, this is true of any moment in this film.)

When they get to the castle, there are random and very annoying sound effects. They indicate nothing, of course. They’re just there to irritate you.

Also, this is perhaps the worst print ever. Or did the camera crew just never check the gate? Never clean the lens? There are black blobs all over the place.

What does it all add up to? One hundred and one minutes of totally wasted time. Stay away from this one unless you’re completely stoned.  The only cool thing in the movie is the trapeze work, and how it comes into play in their scheme. That's it. The rest is just garbage. At one point J.T.’s head spins around several times, but he’s okay. Well, except half his face begins melting for some reason. This is certainly one of the stupidest films ever made. Shockingly bad.

(Note: I posted a shorter version of this review on another web site.)

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