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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Eyes of the Serpent (1994)

[4.5 turkeys]

Try to imagine a movie where the dialogue runs from flowery, overblown, pseudo-intellectual soliloquies to ultra-colloquial, trite conversations in nearly the same breath. Imagine faceless evil warriors wearing hockey masks and sword fights in which not a single person ever gets hit with a sword. Imagine people talking to themselves for no other reason then to let the person who is hidden in convenient earshot "overhear" them, and people uttering lines such as "from the left bank of the river at low tide," and perhaps you'll begin to understand how incredibly bad and yet wonderfully entertaining Eyes of the Serpent is.

The plot, such as it is, involves two sisters and their respective daughters fighting over control of two magic swords and the ancient scrolls that tell of how to "use" them. One sister lives in a castle that we conveniently never see (as that would require a non-zero sets or special effects budget), and the other lives out somewhere in the woods "raising an army." I put that in quotes because we never see more than two or three tents in this woman's encampment. When a small band of gypsies wanders through, the encampment's population grows by an order of magnitude.

The "evil" sister is portrayed by a buxom actress who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the William Shatner school of acting. She pauses dramatically, yet randomly, after every few words. I can't remember a single line of her dialogue, yet I laughed hysterically at quite a few of them simply because of her style of delivery. The "good" sister, with her army of six, is played rather forgettably by another buxom actress. It is worth noting, however, that both sisters looked to be only a few years older than their daughters.

The movie has too many laugh-out-loud scenes for me to cover in detail, but I'll try to hit the high points.

The first time we see Galen, the "hero" of the movie, he is walking alone through the woods. He walks under the trunk of a fallen tree that arches across the path and stops to take in his surroundings. Another man, whom we later learn is allied with the "good" sister, walks out along the tree trunk and inexplicably dangles a long stick down behind Galen. I can only assume he was either trying to tickle Galen or tap him on the shoulder or something. Galen turns around, grabs the stick, pulls the man off the log onto the ground, and holds him at sword point. The two actors then have a scene in which they seem to get their lines mismatched, as the guy on the ground takes on the belligerent, demanding role, while Galen is meek and accommodating. After much posturing and philosophizing, the two become bestest friends.

Later, Galen comes to a stream during his wanderings. He stands next to a tree and begins to disrobe, preparing to take a dip. The camera pulls out for a wider shot, showing that there is a woman sleeping on the bank of the stream not two feet in front of Galen and in plain view of him. However, it is not until the camera notices the woman that Galen does.

In a scene in the "castle," the "evil" sister prepares to perform a magic ritual. Also in the scene are a few other people, among them a random castle guard. During the scene, apparently thinking he was off camera, the guard pulls out what appears to be a candy bar, unwraps it, and starts snacking.

An entire scene is played out introducing the character of a woman who can apparently tell what any mixture of liquids is (in minute detail) just by smelling them. A two-headed man (played by two men wearing one shirt, and obviously so) bets on whether or not the woman can identify each mixture placed before her. By itself, this scene isn't very notable. It becomes notable later on when this woman is killed rather unceremoniously, after having done nothing to justify her existence in the movie.

Bolt, the evil swordsman, is wandering through the woods. He comes to a stream and starts walking up the bank. A band of ragamuffins accosts him, trying to shake him down for money by declaring this a "toll road." What?? There isn't a road in sight -- not even a reasonable facsimile of one. Bolt was bushwhacking not two seconds before. How these criminals make a living waiting in the deep woods for people to wander by is a mystery to me.

I could go on and on, but I don't want this review to get too long. I'll skip to my absolute favorite scene, the one that explains why I've been putting "good" and "evil" in quotes as they relate to the sisters. The climactic point of the movie occurs when the two sisters fight a duel with the two magic swords. It has been revealed that the "good" sister wasn't really all that good, so it's tough to decide who we're supposed to be rooting for. That question is rendered moot, however, when at a random point in the battle, the two swords clash together dramatically. The two sisters glow blue for an instant, and then the whole scene cuts to a super-cheesy explosion that appears to have been shot for a science fiction movie set in space. Then it's into the ending narration and the end of the movie -- but at this point I was laughing so hard I couldn't pay attention to the resolution of the "plot." The movie was a solid four turkey movie up to this point -- this one scene raised it another half turkey just for the explosion.

The bottom line is that this is a near-classic. I busted a gut laughing at this movie, and I suspect any bad movie lover would do the same. And don't think I've covered all the "good" parts in this review. I didn't even mention the plastic kites, the warriors who fall down in battle, or the pot-bellied armor.

Scene to watch for: Bolt's first death scene.

Best line: "Seamus shook hands with lightning -- and lost."

Things that make you go "Huh?": A request that people knock before entering -- from a guy who lives in a tent.

View this movie's entry at the Internet Movie Database.

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