Color, 1983, 101m. / Directed by Ratno Timoer / Starring Barry Prima, Bangun, Gudhy Sintara, Eni Christina / Mondo Macabro (US R0 NTSC) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9)

Indonesian action god Barry Prima finally gets his due with the deluxe DVD release of The Devil's Sword, one of the most jaw-dropping action/fantasy films ever unleashed. Leaving the likes of The Sword and the Sorcerer and even Lionman II in its wake, this goofball gem opens with a crashed meteorite inspiring a nearby aging wizard to use it as material for "the Devil's Sword," the mightiest of steel weapons that can only be wielded by a very special type of man. Fortunately that person is his apprentice, Mandala (Prima), who is summoned by a distraught maiden after her fiancee, Mandala's old brother in arms, is swiped from their nuptials by a decapitating invader. Turns out the villain responsible is the Crocodile Queen, who rules over her subterranean (or sub-aquatic -- the locale is a bit confusing) lair and, when not coming up with evil plans, engages in perverse orgies with fully-clothed men who, uh, nuzzle her shoulders and knees. She also has a scene-stealing army of crocodile warriors who hop in and out of a lake during one rousing (and very gory) fight scene, but luckily our hero is intrepid enough to muscle his way through any obstacle. Then there's the giant cyclops rock monsters, the Shaw Brothers-inspired flying hat capable of snatching off its wearer's head, and plenty of other madness before the senseless but utterfly gripping finale.

Fast-paced, colorful, and loaded with juicy exploitation elements, The Devil's Sword is a rousing good time from start to finish and chock full of quotable dialogue ("You polluted bitch!" being a particularly choice insult). The gore and sex come fast and furious (though the latter is pretty chaste by Western drive-in standards), and Warrior star Prima is fun to watch as always. The story makes even less sense than Fulci's Conquest, but you'll be too entertained to care as the film veers from one madcap highlight to the next. It's also surprisingly well-filmed, packed with plenty of vivid colors and some nice scope visuals that take full advantage of the Crocodile Queen's striking lair, which wouldn't look too out of place in Las Vegas.

Once again Mondo Macabro is sure to send viewers' heads spinning with one of their best transfers to date; it's shocking how much better this looks on DVD than even most high-budgeted fantasy films from the same period (even Conan the Barbarian!) Aside from a very minor nick or scratch here and there, the negative used here looks terrific and has been transferred with quite a bit of care. The dubbed dialogue (all versions are looped in some form or another) sounds clear enough, with each delicious dialogue morsel coming nice and clear.

If the main feature weren't enough, Mondo Macabro also unleashes what is easily its weirdest bonus feature to date, "An Encounter with Barry Prima." Here the disgruntled actor sort-of-talks about his cinematic experiences, though he doesn't really seem all that committed and looks like he'd rather be off chopping up crocodile men. Watch this back-to-back with Cult Epics' Arrabal interview on Viva la Muerte for an experience you'll never forget. Other extras include the theatrical trailer, a great Prima bio by Pete Tombs, two additional essays by Tombs about the film itself and Indonesian history of magic sword culture, and the ever-growing, always-stupefying Mondo Macabro promo reel. "A-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

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