The Devil's Sword (1984) aka Golok setan came out at a time when the Indonesian film industry was thriving (it subsequently crashed in the 1990s), cashing in on various genres popular at the time including the fantasy genre, which came about primarily due to the popularization of the game Dungeons & Dragons in the late 1970s. Directed by Ratno Timoer (Revenge of the Ninja), the film stars popular Indonesian actor Barry Prima (Primitif, Special Silencers), who's probably best known for his character Jaka Sembung from the `Warrior' films. Also appearing is Gudi Sintara, Advent Bangun (The Warrior and the Blind Swordsman), Enny Christina, and Kandar Sinyo, most of who seem to have had a very limited career in film, appearing only in this feature.
As the film begins we see a wizened old man sitting on the ground, his meditations interrupted by a meteorite crashing to Earth. From the meteorite the old man fashions a mystical weapon (it's very glittery) so powerful, he ends up stashing it away for fear it might fall into the wrong hands. Anyway, seems there's evil power about in the form of a being known as the Invincible Crocodile Queen (Sintara), who resides in an underground lair (complete with crocodile motif) and takes sacrifices from a local village in the form of young men to satiate her lusty needs (which seem to be unquenchable). As of late the village has been slacking, so the queen calls upon a powerful warrior minion named Banyu Jaga (Bangun), who appears from exploding rocks, to disrupt a marriage ceremony for the village chieftain's daughter (Christina) by kidnapping the groom, which he does. Eventually this leads to another warrior getting involved, one named Mandala (Prima) as Mandala and Banyu Jaga both studied under the same master. Eventually Mandala confers with his master, who was seriously wounded and left for dead while fending off an attack of evil warriors, to which the old man passes along the secret location to the Devil's Sword, which happens to now reside somewhere within the Mountain of Swords. As Mandala starts off on his quest to retrieve the powerful weapon (with the princess in tow), the Crocodile Queen calls upon Banyu Jaga to recover the sword, the intent being to use it to rule the world...um, okay. Turns out the sword is coveted by a number of Banyu Jaga's brethren, enough so they battle each other, all while Mandala makes the perilous journey to the mountain where he eventually must face off against a slew of even greater challenges, including a shoddy looking ten foot tall Cyclops guarding the sword. As you can imagine things ultimately come to a head as Mandala and the princess (who's got some skills) end up facing off against the Crocodile Queen and her flunkies, many of which are dressed like crocodiles, in the age old battle of good versus evil...
This is one hell of a funky movie as the makers of the film seem to have taken a whole mess of elements, thrown them into a pot, mixed rigorously, boiled it up good, and spilled out the contents onto celluloid, the result being a story that doesn't make a whole lot of sense (there's a lot of little bits I filled in for myself based on speculation), but is actually entertaining in a markedly cheap and sleazy sort of way. At the very least the story did have some linear qualities, so it really wasn't all that difficult to fill in the blanks once things got moving, and speaking of getting moving, know this, the opening credits are spread out through the first ten minutes which was kind of odd as while you're watching whatever it is you're watching, some credits will pop up initiating a `what the hell?' response. What the story may lack in sense it makes up for in wild and wooly action sequences, which are spread fairly evenly throughout. The choreography isn't all that hot, but I did enjoy the copious blood spurting sequences as various peons and flunkies meet their demise through numerous forms of dispatch including, disembowelment, amputation, decapitation, and so on...as is usually the case the villains were far more interesting than the heroes, sporting cat-o-nine tails whips, snake staves, flying guillotines, etc. As far as Banyu Jaga, he utilized dual, curved swords that he would often stick together to form a wicked pair of hedge clippers, extremely useful in removing victim's body parts, particularly their heads. And then there's the Crocodile Queen herself...as I said, she lives in an underground lair, her throne made up to look like the maw of a giant crocodile, surrounded by a legion of crocodile men (guys in cheap reptile suits). Also present is a giant, silver crocodile statue, standing on its hind legs. The statue is functional as well as ornamental, as it spews fire from its mouth along with laser beams from its eyes. The queen, who's about the best looking female in the film (at least until the end when she reveals her true self), can often be found engaging in a group canoodle, taking on up to seven(!) guys at a time (I guess it's good to be the queen). Surprisingly, given the amount of snogging within the film, there's almost no nekkidness, except for a faraway behind shot of some female minions. There's a couple of really funny bits throughout the film, probably the funniest for me occurring during Banyu Jaga disrupting the wedding early on...nearly everyone gets involved in fighting Banyu Jaga including the villagers, the chieftain, his daughter (who's getting married), and so on...the only one who doesn't get into the scuffle is the groom, who seemed to me somewhat of a milquetoast, and certainly not worth battling a horde of enemies over to retrieve. I did learn quite a bit from this film including the following...
1. The best swords are those forged from glowing meteorites.
2. Crocodile queens are easy to get into the sack.
3. Crocodile queens have a problem with snogging (they can't get enough).
4. A blessing from a crocodile queen usually involves some between-the-sheets action.
5. Boulders can be used as modes of transportation, specifically if you kick a large enough one into the air and then jump on top of it (that's one sweet ride).
6. A parasol can be used effectively to keep a powerful enemy at bay.
7. A cannibal pit is a useful feature for getting rid of minions who've outlived their usefulness.
8. The best way to deal with snakebite is amputation with a white hot sword.
9. If you want to keep a powerful, mystical sword out of the hands of evil, it's probably best to hide it somewhere other than in a place known as the Mountain of Swords as that'd be the first place I'd probably look if'n I were hankering to get my hands on it.
10. A flying guillotine weapons is a pretty cool way to remove one's melon.
11. Having a legion of crocodile men at your disposal is not as cool as it would seem especially given the fact they can not fight for squat.
12. The cycloptic guardian within the Mountain of Swords is ridiculously easy to beat (hint, go for the ocular strike).
13. One would think given the build up tied to a weapon in a movie like this (heck, it's even in title of the film) one would see a whole lot of action involving said weapon, but one would be wrong.
14. Nothing gives a fantasy film that `fantasy' feel like smoke emanating from tons of dry ice thrown in the water.
The picture on this Mondo Macabro DVD release, presented in widescreen (2.35:1), enhanced for 16X9 TVs, looks clean and decent, while the Dolby Digital stereo audio comes through clearly. There are a few extras including a poor looking original theatrical trailer for the film, a featurette titled An Encounter with Barry Prima, which amounts to an impromptu interview with the star who doesn't seem all that keen on being interviewed, a text history about the film, a text piece titled Heavenly Swords: A History of the Sword, and a preview montage of other Mondo Macabro DVD releases.