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"I am no messenger, but I will give you a message. The message of death!"
Hawk The Slayer is a fine piece of nonsense set in the world of Dungeons and Dragons-inspired fantasy, a place where longswords, short bows and daggers are swiftly drawn, leather, chainmail and a kind of cloth notable only for its brown-ness remain fashionable and there's always an evil one roaming about. The evil one in this adventure is Voltan (Jack Palance), who's so very evil on account of him bearing a scar on his face that, as we're told by a mysterious figure who lives within a mountain, will not heal. Quite whether the scar came before the willingness to do evil isn't something that Hawk The Slayer makes clear but he is quickly doing all manner of terrible things, all of which seem to involve murder. Indeed, the film opens with Voltan murdering his own father as well as the woman intended to be the wife of his brother.
That brother is Hawk (John Terry), who arrives too late to save his father but in time to hear the prophecy that he had been guarding and which had seen him slain by his own son. As he dies, Hawk's father gives him a magical sword but it is one that Voltan had desired and the two are set on a path that will see them face one another in battle. When Voltan breaks into a convent and kidnaps the Mother Superior. A guy with an automatic crossbow seeks a hero. Finding none, he ends up finding Hawk. Hawk comes to the rescue of the Sisters of the Holy Word, promising not only that he will raise the two thousand pieces of gold but will defeat Voltan. Carrying his sword before him, Hawk sets out to gather a band of warriors...
This movie has examples of:
- Big Bad: Voltan.
- Big Eater
- Big Guy
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Burn the Witch
- Cain and Abel: Hawk and Voltan
- Curb Stomp Battle: two guys with automatic weapons and a powerful witch vs. ordinary medieval soldiers. Even without the guy with the magic sword (and the dwarf with the whip) it would have been a walkover.
- Distressed Damsels
- The Dragon
- Evil Overlord: Voltan
- Good Witch Versus Bad Witch
- Heroic Fantasy
- Hey It's That Girl: the blind seer is played by Patricia Quinn, better known as Magenta in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- I Call It Vera
- Improbable Aiming Skills
- Large Ham: Jack Palance as Voltan
Voltan: "See how it glows!"
- Last of His Kind: Crow
- Leitmotif: The pan flute cue every time Hawk is about to do something.
- The Lost Woods: Much of the scenes seem to be in the same patch of British forest.
- Mauve Shirt
- Notable Original Music
- Obviously Evil: Voltan
- Ominous Fog: in said British forest.
- Our Elves Are Better
- Pay Evil Unto Evil: "The end truly justifies the means!" Uh, sure...
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Let's see we have a heroic swordsman with a Cool Sword, a dwarf thief, a Big Guy with blunt weapon, an elf that talks like Spock, a blind magic user that uses glowing magic balls, and a one armed man with a automatic crossbow.
- Robo Speak: Even though Crow isn't a robot, he speaks like one.
- Sequel Hook
- Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes: Hawk seems like a Technical Pacifist at first ("You go in peace!"); by the Hunchback scene, he seems no longer to have any qualms about murdering any mook who inconveniences him.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works
- Upgrade Artifact: Elven Mindstone Blade
- Weapon of Choice
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Voltan, to Drogo.
- What Measure Is a Mook?