Wait; there are two Troll 3's? By the same director released 3 years apart? How is that fricken possible?
Before I get into the movie itself, I have to talk about the title situation. Lots of low-budget cash-in shock movies have alternate titles. My personal guess is that the movie makers often changed titles to avoid word-of-mouth. I've reviewed a movie with alternate titles before - namely the first Troll 3. That movie had other titles such as Contamination.7, Creepers, The Crawlers, and Troll 3: Contamination Point 7. My copy is called The Crawlers.
With this Troll 3 however, the title situation is a little out of control. It's also known as Ator 4. Yes, this is a sequel to two different franchises. What is Ator you might ask? The first two movies were cash-ins to the Conan movies in the 80's. I might touch on them in the future, but for now I'll just focus on Ator 4...or is it 3? Yeah, Troll 3 is simultaneously known as Ator 3 and Ator 4. How confusing can it get?
The series’ creator, Joe D'Amato, likes to ignore Ator 3: The Iron Warrior, which was created by a different director. He then Created Ator 4 and called it Ator 3 in some regions. So to sum that up, the king of the cash-in accused Iron Warrior of being a cash-in. Wrap your head around that one.
Other titles for Ator 4/Troll 3/Ator 3 include: The Hobgoblin, Quest for the Mighty Sword, Ator 4: The Hobgoblin, Ator 3: The Hobgoblin, and even Ator I'Invinsible - the same title as the original. Yeah, apparently this is also a re-make of the original. I've touched this series many times before. Heck, I even reviewed the Blu Ray for Troll 2. It's about time I touched on this one.
This intro has gone on long enough; let’s see whether the title or the movie is the bigger mess.
The movie starts with woman running (sorry, jogging) slowly through woods and a group of oddly dressed men following slowly. We then see a man in a crappy orc blow a horn.
Someone announces that a man is convicted of rape, than the horn is blown again. What? Does the court in this bizarre world use a horn to pronounce their sentencing?
A man talks to his very young kid about having a dream where he died...in the middle of the court room. Why did he bring his young kid to a court to watch a man get decapitated in an execution? After that, we find out that Prince Ator has allowed the accused to live if they can overcome him in combat...what? I...I don't...I got nothing.
We see Prince Ator, an old man who can barely swing a sword, prepare for combat. We then see the orc man blow the horn again. We've seen that exact same shot three times now, in less than four minutes. Meanwhile, the criminal is let out of their cages and given swords. What kind of court system is this? The punishment is that they're allowed to try to kill the prince, and if they win, they can go free? Even if the prince has "The Mighty Sword," this is a very bad idea. If a murderer wins, then not only is he free to murder again but the kingdom might be without an heir to the throne.
Another question I have is, WHY IS THE MOVIE CALLED TROLL 3? It has less connection to the original Troll movie than the other Troll 3, and that had killer tree roots.
(Jar Jar Binks would be a better sword fighter than this guy)
What follows is a very slow sword battle which ends with the criminal getting stabbed in the gut. Another criminal is let out of his cage and given an axe. Next up, an even slower fight where both men clumsily swing their weapons and miss each other. Why would they hire a middle-aged man who can't fight as the main warrior in a barbarian movie cash-in? Heck, after two very short fights, the man's obviously worn out and has trouble standing back up.
After expositing that the mighty sword must belong to Ator jr., some guy shows up to challenge Ator sr. to a fight. Yeah, I just learned that Ator's son is also named Ator. This is going to be a very confusing movie with two characters with the exact same name.
The new challenger prepares to throw his spear at prince Ator when the running girl from the opening credits shows up.
"Do not kill Ator...He has [long pause] shown wisdom in all his doings." Seriously, she paused as if she was stoned. She also sways around like a drunkard when she speaks. After more stoned lines, the challenger says in an odd echoing voice that she'll pay for this. Pay for what? Begging him to not kill someone? I don't care how evil you are, that's just...stupid. Anyway, he throws his spear and kills Ator. Never mind about my earlier comment then, there's only one Ator in this movie.
After Ator dies, there's a shot of a goblin costumed fool laughing. Yes, a goblin costume from Troll 2. That's the connection to the Troll series...costumes?
The running woman then runs back into the woods. Well, stumbling is more like it. She's so out of shape that she can't even jog for forty feet before she lies down to rest. She's then captured and chained up by a bunch of armored women and is "imprisoned by fire." I honestly have no idea what’s going on here.
The next scene feels like it's in the wrong part of the movie. We see a grown up Ator Jr, played by the same actor as Ator sr. He is told by some woman that the mighty sword belongs to him - that's the whole scene. The movie cuts to Ator's mother carrying a young Ator Jr. toward a cave dwelling occupied by another Troll 2 goblin. I am confused out of my mind right now. The music is weakly suspenseful as she steps into the cave, but jarringly switches to an upbeat attempt at a catchy tune when we see the troll goblin.
She approaches the troll goblin and asks if he's Grindel. He says yes and talks about how he's ugly and how she wouldn't have cried out if he was a handsome young prince. Hang on a second...she didn't cry out at the sight of him. Heck, she said absolutely nothing while she approached the troll goblin.
As confusing and slow as the movie is so far, the dialogue is hilariously out of touch with what's going on. Grindel's voice doesn't match his troll goblin appearance either. He just sounds like an old man whose smoked way too much. Then again, neither did the goblins in Troll 2, but whatever.
Grindel mentions that the mother is a widow. My question is, how the frick did he know that she's a widow when he's a cave-dwelling hermit? Anyway, she asks Grindel to fix the sword and restore its magical power because apparently only he can - remember this. She also asks him to take care of her son and give the sword to him on his 18th birthday.
(Would you entrust your child to this...thing?)
Seriously, what kind of mother is this? Handing her son and the magical sword over to a complete and untrustworthy stranger? Why would this hermit accept the boy from her? Why wouldn't he just re-forge the sword and keep it to himself? Oh, because according to her, it's destiny. Another question I have is how is the sword broken if it's supposed to be magical?
She hands over her son and sword, even after Grindel admits that he can take whatever he wants, implying that he's dishonest and will cheat her out of the deal. Worst...parent...ever. She also asks Grindel to help her die. This is without a doubt, the worst movie parent I've ever even heard of. Rather than giving her a poison, he gives her a potion which turns her into a slut. Grindel's crow starts um...laughing?
She says her goodbyes to her son before drinking the slut-juice. Afterwards, she makes out with Grindel. Ew, if I wanted to see a woman making out with a troll goblin...wait, I have no idea why I'd want to anyway. You don't see anything explicit here, which is surprising considering all the porn Joe D'Amato directed before this piece of crap.
The movie cuts back to a grown Ator with the strange woman again. She tells Ator of Grindel's treachery, and that she's now condemned to commit the same sin eternally. What sin? She was given magic slut juice - that makes her a victim, not the sinner. Sure, she wanted to die thus leaving Ator alone with Grindel, and that's not very nice either, but that's not the same as committing bestiality with an ugly troll goblin. Ator punches a wooden post in half and shouts,
"I'll kill him!"
The woman informs him that his revenge is near, and then she disappears. Ator walks back into Grindel's cave. Grindel's catchy theme starts again as he gives Ator some sort of surprise. It's the mighty sword reforged. Apparently Ator is supposed to be younger than 18 here, because Grindel says that he wanted to fulfill his promise early. Ator doesn't look like he's in his mid-teens; he looks like he's 35. Anyway, Ator swings the sword around for a bit, and then strikes Grindel in the head with it.
So Grindel's dead right? Wrong, the sword shatters on impact - it wasn't the real mighty sword, but a fake. Grindel laughs and exposits that mankind cannot be trusted. Grindel really loves his overly long monologues.
Later, as Ator is working by what I think is a swamp, he sees the running girl from the start of the movie. Where did she come from? Why isn't she still imprisoned in fire? Why is she running near a swamp? I have no idea. Ator follows her, but loses her in less than a minute. The mysterious woman shows up again and explains that she's still imprisoned and only Ator with the sword can free her.
Ator goes back into Grindel's cave to rest. OK, now this movie is really starting to drag. I'm 20 minutes in and barely anything has happened so far.
Grindel places the mighty sword on a rock as Ator watches. When Grindel steps away, Ator springs up and grabs the sword. He strikes Grindel from behind, but the sword shatters again. Another fake? Is the movie trying to anger its audience? Why would Grindel ever rebuild the sword after Ator tried to kill him twice.
Grindel throws a liquid in Ator's face and blinds him. Grindel locks a cage door to the cave and explains that Ator will regain his sight when he returns. Grindel then leaves to do...something. Meanwhile, Ator wanders around the cave, feeling his way around.
(And looking like a blithering idiot)
He runs into several objects as the crow "laughs" at him. He somehow regains his sight after stumbling into a large bucket of water. He then tips a rock over and finds the real mighty sword, still broken in two.
Ator reforges the sword himself, completely destroying the notion that only Grindel could repair it. How can you get away with such a glaring plot hole? Seriously? He swings around the fixed mighty sword set to what's supposed to be epic music. He hides once he sees Grindel's shadow in the doorway. The instant Grindel walks into the frame, the epic music switches back to Grindel's "catchy" theme. The switch in the music is so jarring its laugh out loud hilarious.
Grindel walks up to Ator and kicks him off his bed. Grindel then grabs the mighty sword and shouts in anger. Grindel laughs and teases Ator. Um, do you remember leaving around another fake mighty sword? Ator slices Grindel in half and the crow laughs manically for ten straight seconds. Ator then dresses himself in armor, a man-thong, and leaves. Seriously, Ator has no armor or clothing covering his upper legs.
Anyway, Ator runs through a field set to NOT epic music. He's soon followed by a fully armored, black samurai? Ator stops and swings at the samurai. The samurai explodes and transforms into the mysterious woman...what? She tells him that any enemy can conceal the enemy. What the frick does that mean?
The two of them wander into some sort of ruins. The woman explains that he needs to free the running woman from the start of the movie, some goddess called DeJanira.
Ator wanders into a cave. Is this all the movie has in terms of sets? Caves, fields, swamps and woods? That's pretty sad for a Conan cash-in. Ator is soon attacked by a...two-headed robot? It walks like a robot, it attacks like a robot. Ator ducks through a doorway and the enemy gets stuck. Seriously, the thing keeps trying to walk through the doorway but keeps bumping its head on the top. Ator sneaks behind and slices it in half. Both halves start spinning around and sparking. It was a robot? What is a robot doing in a barbarian movie?
(Robots? What's next, Godzilla?)
Next up, Ator is attacked by a dragon creature. Actually, I think it's an older Godzilla costume that's breathing fire. Ator slices into Godzilla several times showing the exact same close up wound every time (occasionally flipped horizontally.) Eventually Godzilla falls and Ator continues on. This is beyond silly, it's embarrassingly stupid.
(Heh, apparently Godzilla was next.)
Ator finds a treasure room and picks up what looks like a necklace made of plastic beads. Ator shouts out and offers the gods the richest treasures in the west. What? That plastic necklace? The rusty armor in the foreground? That "treasure" is less valuable than my Xbox boxers from Wall Mart. Well...maybe not, but it's certainly not of any real value.
Ator pushes some head statue (probably made of foam) and then runs back out of the cave. What was the point of even entering the cave? He starts running through the woods to an upbeat "adventure" theme. This theme sounds like it's from a kids show in the 80's, not a Conan cash-in/adventure movie. He finds another cave (ugh) and for some reason, crawls on the ground in one section despite the hallway being four feet over his head when he stands.
Ator eventually finds DeJanira on a stone bed. She's asleep, but doesn't seem to be imprisoned by fire. Heck, the only fire in the room is from a torch on the side. There wasn't even any fire in the cave. He kisses her, and that wakes her up - just like sleeping beauty.
He happily announces that she's no longer an immortal, and she can die like a mortal now. She seems happy about this for some reason, hurray! The cave starts falling apart and the two heroes run out. This is inter-cut by stock footage of volcanoes, some Egyptian temple falling apart, and I think even footage ripped off from other movies.
(This is the movie's star couple people, an old man who can't swing a sword and a stoner woman who is also out of shape.)
The movie jarringly cuts from this intense scene to the two of them sitting at a camp fire. DeJanira explains that even though she's now mortal, she still has secrets from the Gods. They kiss, and the movie cuts to some...casino/bar/concert hall. We see Ator's mother cuddling with some gambling dude who is ignoring her. It's here that we are also introduced to the movie's wimpy side-kick. The sidekick wins the gambling match against the dude, and the loser dude threatens his life. Ator challenges him to a duel and wins, saving both his mother and his new sidekick.
Ator walks over to DeJanira and asks why she didn't help him. DeJanira says she couldn't, and when Ator inquires about this, she replies,
"You will understand later." In other words, DeJanira is useless but the director is too stupid to realize that. A strange girl then asks who Ator is, and after someone explains everything we already know about Ator through this movie, the strange girl says that he will be hers.
Cut to Ator and DeJanira at another camp fire, this time in a cave. Ator's mother then re-unites with her son, and she dies in his arms. That makes perfect sense - the gods have punished her by making her an immortal slut and when she re-unites with her son she gets to die. Why wouldn't they do that? This movie started out mildly entertaining in its craptitude, but it's just dragging on and on now. It doesn't help that DeJanira seems totally disinterested in the fact that her lover and savior has just lost her mother. She must be stoned out of her mind.
Ator holds a private funeral for his mother. He suggests that DeJanira knew that the slut was his mother.
"Yes Ator [long pause] I know the secrets of the Gods [longer pause] but now that I am mortal I am not allowed to reveal them." Holy crap woman, lay off on the pot. Seriously, she puts no energy whatsoever into her performance. At this, the gambling sidekick shows up and watches them, then wanders off. That was pointless.
The movie cuts to a long shot of the couple jogging through a field, with no sound besides their feet. GET ON WITH IT! After another short jogging scene, the couple is surrounded by a bunch of swamp people. DeJanira beats a total of three people while Ator beats down a couple dozen. The sidekick pops up and knocks out one of the swamp people by throwing a rock. Ator and DeJanira run off, and the scene ends.
We cut to...more running. This shouldn't be the quest for the mighty sword; it should be called Ator 4: Running in fields. The couple eventually finds a fire where the sidekick is cooking a pig.
"Where were you?" The sidekick says. "I was waiting for you." Ator laughs like a dork as the couple sits down. "I wanted to repay you."
"You don't seem like the kind to repay debts," DeJanira replies. What? You just met this guy five seconds ago and you're already assuming that you know what kind of man he is? DeJanira isn't only stoned; she's killed 90% of her brain cells with whatever other drugs she’s consumed over the years. Ator laughs like a dork more. Ator invites him to join them in their quest to the east. The sidekick (who still doesn't have a name yet) asks why they are heading east.
"Back [5 second pause] to find the path back to the middle [pause] world." DeJanira replies. Know what, she's been stoned so long that the drugs are probably what's keeping her alive.
Three enemy soldiers suddenly pop out from behind a bush, knock Ator and the sidekick over, and take DeJanira by the arms. Like I said earlier, she's completely useless. In the next shot, we suddenly see five soldiers leading her down a path. What? There were only three before. Anyway, Ator's adventure theme comes back as they jog down the same pathway. Why does this movie have so much jogging?
There's another scene where there's some king-like person talking to his advisor. The king's advisor is in another of the Troll costumes, and he talks like a perfectly healthy young man. Why bother using these Troll costumes if they just sound like normal people? Worse yet, his mouth doesn't move when he talks, and he talks a lot. Just use normal people. Holy crap this is stupid. The king, Gunther, and his advisor, Hagen, are supposed to be evil, but in this scene they seem like perfectly normal people. Well, perfectly normal besides Hagen being a troll and Gunther having bumps all over his face.
In the next scene, DeJanira is being dressed in a gown with a belly-dancer necklace. Gunther announces his plan to merry DeJanira. After Gunther shouts that he wanted Ator killed, the strange girl from the casino/bar shows up and says that she still wants Ator as her own.
"Be careful what you say Hagen; choose your words carefully," She says. Redundancy is repetitive; you shouldn't redundantly repeat yourself you redundant talker. Not only is she repeating herself, but everyone here sounds like they're stoned out of their minds. That's probably what they were paying the cast with, pot.
(Please no, why?)
Ator sneaks into the castle and slams two guards' heads into each other. They're both wearing helmets, how did that knock them out? Anyway, they wander into a hallway where we can barely see them due to the worst movie lighting I've ever seen. They see Gunther sitting at a table with DeJanira, Hagen, and several guards wearing monster masks. DeJanira walks up to Ator and kisses him, telling him it's all a mistake.
Gunther gives Ator supplies, and the three of them head out. Well, that was disappointing. The more I watch this movie, the more I realize Joe D'Amato has no idea how to make a movie.
At the next campfire, DeJanira starts to act a bit strange, as if she has no idea who Ator's sidekick is. Back at the castle, we see DeJanira resting in a room...what? Apparently DeJanira is still kidnapped and the girl from the bar is impersonating her. How? Never explained.
Anyway, the scene with DeJanira in her room is accompanied by sinister music that sounds somewhat similar to Troll 2. DeJanira kicks one of the guards in the crotch and escapes her room. What, now she's not helpless? Make up your mind Joe, is she useless or not? She escapes the main castle only to be stopped by guards before she escapes through the main wall.
Because of DeJanira's act of "unfaithfulness", Gunther is enraged and asks her why. I don't know, because you took her away from her love against her will and locked her in a room with several guards. Could that possibly be why she tried to escape? He offers her his throne if she gives him her love. At that, DeJanira laughs, finally putting energy into her performance.
"Take her away; Take her away." Gunther orders. Again with the redundancy. This movie's almost as repetitive as the original DOOM game. Gunther is then seen holding a cat statue and petting it. This Gunther guy must be seriously disturbed if he's petting a cat statue.
(Come to think of it, Gunther has lots of body-like statues hanging around.)
Cut to Ator, where the girl admits that he was impersonating DeJanira. Ator draws his sword on her, but the sidekick convinces him to spare her life because it would be a worse punishment. What? A worse punishment is letting her go, losing nothing considering Ator didn't truly love her, and she's free to try to impersonate someone else? That's like punishing a known thief by not throwing him in jail and making him the sole security guard in a world class museum with no security cameras. The girl runs off and we never see her again. Ator and his sidekick decide to go back to Gunther's castle to rescue the real DeJanira.
Cut to, guess what...more running. After a quick shot of Ator running with his sidekick, we cut back to Gunther and DeJanira in...Wait a minute! This is the exact same cave Grindel raised Ator in. Come to think of it, a lot of the sets were re-used from earlier. They just change the furniture around. That's why this movie's always in caves; they can't afford to shoot anywhere else.
Moving on, DeJanira escapes from the guards again and starts kicking them. Of course, as soon as they grab her arms she's helpless again. They tie her up, which is exactly what you want to do to a woman that you want falling in love with you.
The movie cuts back outside where Ator and his sidekick are raiding the castle. Ator easily disposes of two guards by lightly tapping their side with his sword. After running off-screen, they run back the other way, being chased by four soldiers. Ripping off Star Wars are we? The joke isn't even played well - nobody screams, no musical cues, just footsteps in the soundtrack. In the next shot, there are suddenly eight guards chasing them. Is anyone there to keep track of these things?
A small scene shows that Gunther has already given up on DeJanira falling in love with her, so he will turn her into a statue with some sort of magical pool. That way, he can always stare at her face. I'm starting to think that King Gunther has issues.
Ator takes out more guards by lightly tapping them before meeting with two expert swordsmen. By experts, I mean they can swing their swords in a figure eight, but it takes them a full two seconds to recover from each swing. Blah, I could off these guys in my sleep, and I have no real sword training. In another rip-off from a familiar movie, Ator sticks out his hand, somehow teleports a wrist-mounted crossbow onto his hand, and shoots both swordsmen in the neck. Ator's sidekick laughs before they run off. A sword sticks up and stabs Ator's sidekick though, killing him off. Bye Ator's sidekick, I sure enjoyed you, uh...what did you accomplish in this movie again? Sadly enough it's here, as he dies, when we finally learn that his name is Skiold - stupid name if you ask me.
Cut back to Gunther and DeJanira as she's being slowly dropped into the statue pool. Ator shows up and stops her descent by throwing a boomerang into the mechanism that's dropping her in. He's attacked by guards and dispatches them all by lightly tapping them. Gunther pulls out the boomerang and continues to very slowly drop her in the statue pool. If you look closely to the wheel he's using to lower DeJanira in, you'll notice that he's actually pulling it the wrong way. He's pulling the rope back onto the wheel, yet every time we see DeJanira she's being lowered - Consistency!
After Ator beats all of Gunther's guards, Gunther grabs his advisor and jumps into the statue making pool. This reminds me of something, but what? Oh right, the bad guy in Troll 3 shooting himself even though he had a gun pointed at all the good guys. Ator and DeJanira smile and stare at each other for a while - GET HER DOWN YOU FOOL!
The movie ends with Ator and DeJanira running out of the castle, and some guy in a Troll costume laughing, then the credits roll.
What the frick was that? Sure, parts of it were hilarious, but other parts were either slow or really confusing. None of the characters have any sort of sanity, all the sets were re-used, all of the cast is in terrible shape, and...it's just bad. Entertainingly bad, but still really bad.
Two word review - awkwardly hilarious