In Lorenzo Lamas's last reincarnation as Alexander the Great, THE SWORDSMAN, the novelty of a psychic cop haunted by a 2000-year-old identity was ludicrous but playable. This time, constrained by shoddy production values, the concept has run out of steam. This is just an updated
sword-and-sandal flick, devoid of bad dubbing and stripped-to-the-waist musclemen.
Although he keeps forgetting it, former detective Andrew Barrett (Lorenzo Lamas) is the rebirth of Alexander the Great. Among the benefits of such a lineage is a keen ability to relive murders in a tactile fashion by touching victims or the weapons that killed them. Andrew's unusual crime-solving
skill is put to the test after security personnel are knocked off during a robbery of Alexander the Great's sword at the museum where Andrew's girlfriend Julie (Claire Stansfield) is assistant curator.
What Andrew can't divine immediately is the motive for the theft. Julie's boss Chris Kilos (George Touliatos) is the mastermind. Kilos hangs on to the weapon rather than disposing of it on the collector's black market. Inveigled by cop pal Nick (Nicholas Pasco) into exercising his seer's powers,
Andrew uncovers a fight-to-the-death boxing venue where Kilos makes a fortune in gambling bets. Although the police target the lucrative racket due to a tip from a terrified prostitute, Kilos faces a bigger challenge from rival Parmenian (James Hong) who wants to pit his fearsome Mongo (Gary
Robbins) against Kilos's prize protegee Jo-Dar (Christopher Lee Clements). Jo-Dar has the unfair advantage of fighting with Alexander the Great's invincible sword.
When Andrew goes undercover, he doesn't realize that Parmenian is the reincarnation of Alexander the Great's most formidable foe, and that he has targeted Andrew for a battle. After Mongo breaks Jo-Dar's neck outside the ring and Kilos eludes police capture, the path is cleared for a 2000-year old
grudge match with Mongo representing Parmenian. Parmenian's well-laid revenge plans go awry when a hit man accidentally pierces Mongo's thick hide, and Parmenian begins prematurely aging. The stand-off deteriorates as Parmenian's underlings force Andrew to turn over Kilos to them, and the fabled
sword is restored to its proper berth in Julie's museum display.
Considering its imaginative jumping-off point, GLADIATOR COP disappoints by covering the same ground as the first SWORDSMAN before it degenerates into just another fight-to-the-death plot line. Since there's no more tired scenario in straight-to-video action movies than lethal gladiatorial combat,
this uninspired rehash could use a bolster in all departments.
Thankfully, Lamas is a personable actor and superb athlete, and Stansfield is a winning female lead, because the supporting cast of villains comport themselves like reincarnations of Popeye's nemesis Bluto. More destructively, the flick imposes too many blue-filtered flashbacks to ancient Persia.
These sequences do little to further the film, serving only as annoying interruptions. As for the climactic fisticuffs, they are barely serviceable and emerge as bottom-of-the-barrel WWF bouts. Best appreciated by action buffs who've been beaten to the video store shelves for their first choices,
GLADIATOR COP offers dumb-ox contact sports brightened by some nifty saber-rattling and not much else.(Graphic violence, nudity, extreme profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: In Lorenzo Lamas's last reincarnation as Alexander the Great, THE SWORDSMAN, the novelty of a psychic cop haunted by a 2000-year-old identity was ludicrous but playable. This time, constrained by shoddy production values, the concept has run out of steam.… (more)