Hundra (1983)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/2/09
Director: Matt Cimber
Music: Ennio Moricone
Cast: Laurene Landon, Maria Casal

Falling somewhere between "Conan The Barbarian" (1981) and "Barbarian Queen" (1985), this is the story of a tribe of warrior women who get destroyed by a group of male marauders. Only one woman survives, because she was conveniently out hunting. She is Hundra (Laurene Landon), the strongest woman warrior in the tribe, and with sword in hand she vows to avenge her fallen sisters. Unfortunately, revenge is going to have to wait until Hundra finds a man to mate with so that she can continue her bloodline. The entire middle of the film revolves around this ridiculous sub-plot, until the very end when she goes back on the war path.

A self-admitting rip-off of "Conan," it uses the same props, sets, and locations as "Conan," which creates a bizarre sense of familiarity and deja vu. The story structure and progression are nearly identical, with the exception that a large portion of the film features Hundra honing her feminine skills in an effort to get knocked up. The film looks good and has a great Spaghetti Western feel to it, which is enhanced by Ennio Moricone's rich musical score. Laurene Landon gives a great physical performance and doesn't pull any of her punches. She's tough and fierce, and extremely convincing in her role, which is something I really appreciate. Female action fans are sure to be pleased. Unfortunately, she doesn't handle the goofy comedic elements as well, but it's not disastrous. The action sequences are good and feature some refreshingly dangerous looking stuntwork, although I'm sure some horses got injured in the process. Ms. Landon handles most, if not all of her own stunts, which is greatly appreciated and really validates her character. You really don't want to mess with her. While the fight scenes are pretty good, they are disappointingly bloodless. You see some blood here and there, but not the kind of gushing that you would expect from the wounds that are being inflicted. While the majority of the film is played straight, it does feature some very odd and goofy elements, like a showdown with a midget warrior and a "vaginal suffocation" scene. The film also has an annoying voiceover that is extremely hard to follow because of the speaker's thick accent and droning pace.

Overall, I enjoyed "Hundra" and the attitude and presence that Laurene Landon brought to the character. It was also nice to see something shot on film and on location, as the colors and textures created a real sense of being there. Unfortunately, my admiration and respect for the film completely disappeared after watching the bonus featurette on the DVD. Ms. Landon comes across as just a bit cuckoo, and director Matt Cimber only succeeds in being an arrogant two-faced asshole. Supplemental materials are supposed to enhance and enrich the experience, not ruin it. If only I had known this ahead of time...