30th Dec2015

‘Sinbad of the Seven Seas’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lou Ferrigno, John Steiner, Roland Wybenga, Ennio Girolami, Hal Yamanouchi, Yehuda Efroni, Alessandra Martines, Teagan Clive, Leo Gullotta, Stefania Girolami Goodwin, Donald Hodson, Melonee Rodgers, Cork Hubbert, Romano Puppo, Attilio Cesare Lo Pinto | Written by Luigi Cozzi | Directed by Enzo G. Castellari

sinbad-blu

Supposedly based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade (it’s not), Sinbad of the Seven Seas is yet another Italian fantasy film starring Lou Ferrigno. This time Luigi Cozzi, director of the two Hercules movies, take writing duties on a film directed by Enzo G. Castellari – the same Enzo G. Castellari who made the original Inglorious Bastards and the fan-favourite Bronx Trilogy (1990: The Bronx Warriors, The New Barbarians, Escape from the Bronx).

Apparently, if the rumours are true, Castellari’s take on Sinbad was so unwatchable that Luigi Cozzi had to film reshoots and re-edit the film into the haphazard mess it is today, filling in the gaps with storytelling and narration from former Dario Argento muse Daria Nicolodi… Question: if Castellari’s film was unwatchable by Italian standards I’d hate to think just how bad was it?!?

Once again Luigi Cozzi and co. make the most of what they have, reusing footage from at least one of the Hercules movies here and certainly re-tooling a lot of the special effects. Essentially based on the classic Thief of Bagdad, Sinbad of the Seven Seas is an insane, oftentimes ridiculous, take on the classic character; and sees a mother tell her child a bed time story about the time Sinbad took on Jaffar, the evil Vizier to the good Calif of Basra, who has placed a spell on Basra, turning its people into animals and enslaving the mind of the Calif. Sinbad sets forth on a journey to retrieve the five sacred gems of Basra that will defeat Jaffar, which Jaffar has dispatched to places of great evil. He must succeed before Jaffar’s spell saps the will of the Calif’s daughter Alina, the beloved of one of Sinbad’s crewmen, and forces her to marry him.

So just your typical Sinbad meets Aladdin tale right? Wrong.

There’s absolutely nothing typical about Castellari’s film, which is packed with undead sea demons, ghost knights (and their otherworldy steeds), a twerking Amazonian sorceress who turns into a withered old hag, a giant rock monster, a laser firing slime-covered ghoul and even a clone of Sinbad himself. It’s like watching a Ray Harryhausen fantasy classic on acid! Hell, whenever have you heard someone threaten Jaffar with the fate of being struck from the “accredited list of magicians”? This is sheer insanity. Amazingly brilliant 1980s filmic insanity that, bizarrely, I can appreciate more now as a grown man than as the kid who it was originally aimed at.

Much like Ferrigno’s Hercules movies, Sinbad of the Seven Seas is something of an acquired taste. More camp than Hercules and its sequel, this is the kind of film that one would never expect to see released on Blu-ray but it has; and for the first time on the format and uncut here in the UK. As with their Hercules releases, the picture and sound quality of this Blu-ray release is top notch and again, like Hercules and its sequel, 101 Films’ disc only comes with the original trailer as an extra – though in this case comparing the two allows us to see just how well this film has been remastered for Blu-ray!

Sinbad of the Seven Seas is released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 8th 2016, courtesy of 101 Films.

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