Ancient Warriors Release Date: 2003 Genre: Action Director: Walter von Huene Writer: Walter von Huene, Tray McKnight, & Michael Hartson Starring: Franco Columbu, Daniel Baldwin, Richard Lynch Mr. Olympic Franco Columbu really can’t act. At over sixty years old, he’s neither a truly physically intimidating force, nor a real draw aside from being “Arnold’s friend” […]

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Ancient Warriors
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Action
Director: Walter von Huene
Writer: Walter von Huene, Tray McKnight, & Michael Hartson
Starring: Franco Columbu, Daniel Baldwin, Richard Lynch

Mr. Olympic Franco Columbu really can’t act. At over sixty years old, he’s neither a truly physically intimidating force, nor a real draw aside from being “Arnold’s friend” for the past forty years. So if you’re him, what else do you do with your new $4 million project, one that he himself partially funded? Of course, you produce and star in it. Here, Columbu is in above his head. Ancient Warriors is a mess of a movie that abides the philosophy of throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. In Warriors’ case, the floor ends up the messiest area in the room.

The movie opens up with a greatly overused archetype, one that I managed to see twice in a span of four hours after watching the soon-to-be-reviewed Cutthroat Alley. While protecting an ambassador from enemy forces, Columbu’s father is taken out in a drive-by. We know this is his father because Columbu demonstrates his acting chops by crying out, “Papa! Papa!” Uh huh. Years later, Columbu has himself a hot wife, and a mentally challenged daughter. I could easily insert a joke about steroids affecting the sperm, but that’d be tasteless and just plain wrong. I’ll let you do it instead.

At the same time, a “mining company,” led by the deliciously villainous Curtis Hughes (Richard Lynch), is a dieing millionaire performing evil deeds underground. They’ve taken a scientist hostage, and are forcing him to work on a formula that could mean trouble for the entire world. It’s not long before Columbu begins to investigate the peculiar company, and when he learns that they were the cause of his father’s death, messages come to him that it’s time to step back. His wife is shot in broad daylight, and soon after, enemies burn down his house. This leads to the calling in of yours and my favorite Baldwin, Daniel, along with other members of his task force to take them down.

Ancient Warriors’ three screenwriters are partially in tune with what the direct-to-video viewer expects from a film starring a former bodybuilder and a Baldwin. They successfully brought the film a surprisingly solid plot, occasionally hilarious dialogue (Daniel’s weight getting ripped on), and plenty of chase/shoot-out scenes. But what they fail to do is bring a satisfying third act. The title stems from the “ancient warrior spirits” who are lingering underground. For whatever reason, this is hardly elaborated on, and when it is, it’s poorly executed. They look so terrible, and have very little reason to be in the film, so the placing of them seems to be done just for purposes of the title. The evilness of Curtis Hughes holds the film together, and when his son, who is more Seth Green than anyone representative of a legitimate bad ass, starts to get focused on, the actions of our heroes become less important, and at least to me, a huge letdown.

DVD: Standard Direct-to-Video Release™.

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