Retro Review: Hawk The Slayer (1980)

Hawk aided by his friends seeks to defeat his evil brother who has taken a nun hostage. 
Hawk The Slayer

Synopsis: In ‘Hawk The Slayer’ Hawk aided by his friends seeks to defeat his evil brother who has taken a nun hostage.

 

Review: Back in 2015 movie producer/director and writer Terry Marcel with help from Rebellion tried to kickstart a sequel to this movie. Which I personally backed because I was such a huge fan of the original film. So when looking through the archives of SciFiPulse. I was surprised to find that we’d never reviewed it. So I thought I’d take some time to address that issue.

So, here we go. But before I start. Let’s just say that ‘Hawk The Slayer’ was made on a very tight budget. So allowances will be made for that in my review. The film also came out in a time when fantasy movies were few and far between and most such movies were made on the cheap.  So without further ado. Onto our review.

 

The Story

When the evil Voltan kidnaps the Abbess from a religious sanctuary. The nuns send Ranulf to a monastery where he is tasked with finding a warrior called Hawk who has helped the church with similar issues in the past. When Ranulf catches up with Hawk. They go and seek out help from a Sorceress to help them track some friends of Hawk’s down. Eventually, Hawk and Renulf are joined by Gort The Giant, Crow The Elf, and Baldwin the last Dwarf.

Having formed their little fellowship. Hawk and his friends head out to the Sanctuary and begin their campaign to defeat Voltan and save the life of the Abbess. But it is somewhat more of a personal journey for Hawk because Voltan is his older brother. Indeed, Voltan turned to the dark side as he is helped by a demonic entity.

 

The Acting

It is fair to say that some of the performances in this movie are a bit wibbly-wobbly, but given that it was made on a shoestring. The film sports a fairly impressive cast of stars. Also, some of it may have been to do with the dialogue and the script. Again it was a rushed job and on a tight budget.

John Terry gave a steady performance as Hawk. The protagonist of the film. And to be fair. At the time this actor was a relatively fresh face at the time. In complete contrast to John Terry’s performance is the acting of the late Jack Palance who is all over the place as the movie’s villain Voltan. That said Palance’s performance kind of works in the movie’s favor given that Voltan had been driven mad by his own jealousy.

My favorite performances from the film came from the late Bernard Bresslaw as Gort the Giant who had a rather fun friendship with Baldwin The Dwarf (Peter O’Farrell). The scene where Gort is given a whole chicken by one of the nuns being amongst the highlights.

I’ve seen a fair few reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from people calling the acting poor for this film. I’d actually vehemently disagree with that because I think in many instances. The acting actually elevated the material and made up for the fact that the Visual Effects were so ropey.

 

Overall

‘Hawk The Slayer’ was released in 1980, which was a time when we didn’t see too many fantasy movies and the ones we did see were all relatively low budget. Even the more expensive ones such as 1981’s ‘Excalibur’ look rather ropey now. And Hawk didn’t have anywhere near as big a budget as that.

For my money, the film does quite a lot with very little money. It has its own style and feel, which is something that always made it stand out for me. You saw I first saw this movie on a pirate video back in 1984. The videocassette had two movies on it. The first being Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and then Hawk. So it was a double feature for me. And like most pirated films back then. It has tracking issues. But it stood out for me because it felt very much like a hodgepodge of ‘Robin Hood’ and ‘King Arthur’, but filmed and shot a little like a Spaghetti Western. Hell, it even had a Spaghetti Western-style soundtrack, which is a proper earworm because you never forget it.

Granted. The story is rather simple and it does leave things open for a potential sequel. But personally, I still have a fond place in my heart for this film. And its soundtrack is often playing in my head when I think back to the fun I had watching it.

Back in 2015. Terry Marcel tried to get a sequel to this movie up and running. But sadly his Kickstarter didn’t work out. It is my hope that someday someone will give it another look and see the potential for it. Indeed, its story had all sorts of potential for sequels. It would actually do pretty well as a comic or video game.

7.9
Hawk The Slayer (1980)
  • Story
    7.4
  • Acting
    8.5
  • Special Visual Effects
    6.7
  • Incidental Music
    9.0

Ian Cullen is the founder of scifipulse.net and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: www.scifipulseradio.com When he is not writing for scifipulse.net Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of scifipulse.net You can contact ian at: [email protected]
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