The Sword And The Claw (1975)

Move over RZA and take your iron fists someplace else (not far though, that movie is still pretty awesome), the OG of metal appendage martial arts is in the building – The Sword and The Claw. Unearthed by the fine folks at AGFA, The Sword and The Claw is a Turkish delight that’s been lost to the masses since 1975. Telling the story of the kings heir who is abducted and raised by a pride of lions only to return later in life with (you guessed it) iron claws to rip those who did his family wrong’s shit up. Obviously, being from the great land that brought us one of the most interesting Star Wars rip off’s ever the movie isn’t that straight forward and we make some strange stops along the way that make the trip well worth your time.

The story of The Sword and the Claw is far from original, as I said, with its barely there plot describing the story of an heir to the throne raised not by his family but by lions. Of course, he has a brother and like Erik the Conqueror they share a link in the form of birthmark that’s clearly a tattoo. I really love when movies are insistent to the point of absurdity one thing is clearly another, as is the case here. Or maybe people had somehow never seen a birthmark up until this point in history and are easily duped? As you can probably see from what i’ve laid out above, the story is pretty standard as far as martial arts movies go. If we’re being honest none of us are coming to a fists and feet flying movie looking for robust storylines though, so the lack of deep characters and meaningful dialogue shouldn’t be an issue. I hang out with these kinds of movies hoping to see some unique costume choices, weird weapons and to see how far they managed to stretch a surely meagre budget to get things done. Case in point: a large amount of folks in The Sword and the Claw wear military headgear, seeing as they’re in the military. Instead of creating something new and unrecognizable, the costume department headed off to the nearest construction supply store and snapped up all their hardhats. A few additions and turn it backwards and you have a movies worth of helmets on the cheap. Shit like this is pretty much the dividing line for this level of movie making and you either get on for the rest of the ride of abandon ship for more palatable pastures. There’s such a sincerity to what they’ve created here that it begs you to stay and take it all in and it does end up a rewarding experience (more of less).

Included on this disc as an extra is another movie of simliar ilk adn quality, The Brawl Busters. Apparently starring someone named Black Belt Chan (I don’t remeber who exactly this person was being made clear) Busters is another seventy or so minutes of ultra low budget martial arts so if you didn’t quite get enough action with the feature presentation, AGFA got you. Be warned: the film stock quaility is pretty low at some points in The Brawl Busters, because I assume they found this in some less than ideal location, buried benath various other debris and forgotten. It also makes even less sense than Teh Sword and The Claw, which is perfect if you just want to see some dudes kicking ass and flying through the air wearing absurd but ingenious costumes. If low budgets and nasty martial arts are your thing you could do worse than The Sword and The Claw release from AGFA by a long shot.

– Scott

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