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Sinbad of the Seven Seas

Italy 1989
produced by
Enzo G. Castellari for Cannon
directed by Enzo G. Castellari, Luigi Cozzi (= Lewis Coates, uncredited)
starring Lou Ferrigno, John Steiner, Roland Wybenga, Al Yamanouchi, Yehuda Efroni, Alessandra Martines, Teagan Clive, Leo Gullotta, Stefania Girolami Goodwin, Donald Hodson, Cork Hubbert, Romano Puppo, Armando MacRory, Giada Cozzi, Daria Nicolodi, Ennio Girolami, Melonee Rodgers, Ted Rusoff
screenplay by Tito Carpi, Enzo G. Castellari, from a story by Luigi Cozzi (= Lewis Coates), based on The 1002nd Tale of Scheherezade by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Dov Seltzer, special effects by Dino Galiano

Sinbad

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Sinbad (Lou Ferrigno) and his men - that include a viking (Ennio Girolami), a midget (Cork Hubbert), a Chinese swordsman (Al Yamanouchi) and Prince Ali (Roland Wybenga) - return to Basra from their latest voyage, to find the town uncomfortably changed. Which was once a haven of peace no lies in turmoil, the once benign Calif (Donald Hodson) now seems to be under some hypnotic spell, and his Grand VIzier Jaffar (John Steiner) has not only taken over the Calif's throne but also wants to force his daughter Alina ('Alessandra Martines) to marry him instead of her fiancé Prince Ali.

Valiantly, Sinbad and his men try to fight the villain, but he has secured his power by hiding the four all powerful sacred gems in countries far away, and without them not even Sinbad can defeat him ...

So Sinbad and company travel the seas to find the gems, first Sinbad has to fight a giant statue come to life on Skull Island, then he almost falls prey to the charms of the Queen of the Amazons (Melonee Rodgers), then he has to fight zombies on the Isle of the Death. On the Isle of the Death he is also seperated from his friends, but finds lovely Kyra (Stefania Girolami) and her father, the small-time magician Nadir (Leo Gullotta) who promise to help him get off the island if he helps them to fight a local monster, which Sinbad defeats shooting laser beams out of the gems he has already collected.

Fuinally, Sinbad, Kyra and Nadir get off the Isle of Death in a hot air balloon, join up with Sinbad's friends, and all of them together return to Basra to attack Jaffar's palace ... where Jaffar first imprisons Sinbad in a cave of light, then has him fight against himself ... but ultimately Jaffar is no match for Sinbad and is disposed of through a trap door ... and when the Calif returns to his throne order is restored and Ali can marry Alina and Sinbad can marry Kyra ...

 

Enzo G.Castellari was possibly one of the best action (and Western) directors in Italy, who on a good day could be compared to Sam Peckinpah (especially the 1975 film Keoma shows his talents in full bloom). However, over-the-top fantasy was never his forte, and in an interview he freely admitted that he never wanted to do the movie, doesn't like the finished product, and actually many scenes in the movie were directed not by him but by Luigi Cozzi (= Lewis Coates), who was credited only as the writer of the screenstory, which in turn was loosely based on a rather obscure story by Edgar Allan Poe.

Other than Castellari, Luigi Cozzi found himself right at home in the over-the-top fantasy realm, which he did prove in films like Star Crash, Hercules and The Adventures of Hercules. Sinbad of the Seven Seas however could not live up to the self-conscious whackiness of these movies, partly due to the very different approaches of the two directors (while Castellari was a very sober, serious director, Cozzi could always let his imagination run wild), partly due to the very episodic structure of the film, partly due to a tad too sloppily done effects, and then there is of course Dov Seltzer's dreadful and unatmospheric synthesizer score ...

However, does that mean that Sinbad of the Seven Seas is simply a dreadful movie ?

Nope. It sure ain't no great achievement in moviemaking, but if you are prepared for some genuine (& partly intended) silliness, prepare for a fun ride. 

Especially the scene where Sinbad sweettalks a bunch of snakes and then ties them together to a rope is priceless. Choice dialogue includes "Have you taken your medicine this Morning" and "Sometimes you do the most dreadful things to my biorhythm", all in an Arabian Nights context. A film that includes all this simply cannot be all bad, period.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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