Hawk: The Slayer, or Ballad of a 3 Star Netflix Rating


Uh… sure, why not? Why, you’re asking right now, did I watch Hawk: The Slayer? It all started here- per the Wiki page for the movie:

In episode two of series two of the British comedy Spaced, Fantasy Bazaar comic shop owner Bilbo Bagshot claims that he once punched a man in the face for saying that Hawk the Slayer is “rubbish”, a move Tim Bisley admires. He then reveals that man was his father. He later punches/fires the employee he hired to replace Tim for saying the same thing proving his earlier claim to be probably true.

To make a long story short, I wanted to prove or disprove one simple theory- “Hawk the Slayer is rubbish!”

I’m not sure that I can find the right words to describe what I watched. Hawk the Slayer lists a few notable sources as inspiration. First and foremost, the story revolves around an elf and a dwarf and three other guys (including one with a magical sword) trying to defeat the evil Voltan, played with craptastic over-the-top aplomb by Jack Palance. Dwarves, elves, and a band of friends trying to defeat evil… You can call it something else, but there’s a lot of Lord of the Rings in there.

But also, Hawk the Slayer was made in 1980. It rode the crest of the success of Star Wars: A New Hope. And Hawk didn’t pull any punches about stealing, or borrowing, or whatever creative license you want to place it under. Look at the poster art there. Hawk is decked out in Han Solo gear. There are sword fights, and one of the swords possesses a neon green glowing thing. The sword’s possessor even uses some sort of magic to make it float to him (THE FORCE!). And then there’s the matter of the villain, Voltan/Palance. Does this guy remind you of any other dark cloaked, bell-rim helmeted villain?

You can try to tell me that’s not Darth Vader but I’d probably laugh in your face.

And it was bad. Laughably bad. The soundtrack could not possibly be more of a product of its era. From the very beginning, you get incredibly hackneyed dialogue like “the… prophecy… is… fulfilled”. Green silly string is used for special effects. Bilbo Bagshot’s father was right- Hawk the Slayer is rubbish. Why, then, did I give it 3 (out of 5) stars on The Netflix? I’m a long way from a sci-fi nerd but I have a decent respect for the genre. And anyone familiar with either Star Wars or Lord of the Rings would have to chuckle and appreciate Hawk on those terms. It’s sort of the Little Edie Bouvier Beale to Star Wars/Lord of the Rings’ Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Whatever. It is very much in the same family, even if it’s the odd duck of the clan.

And then there’s the campiness, the cult favorite angle. I genuinely enjoyed watching it, even if I enjoyed it for none of the reasons that the film’s makers intended. For 90 minutes, I guffawed and chuckled and laughed at the ridiculousness of the whole affair. In the end, isn’t that what movies are about- enjoying the experience? I’ll leave you with a little clip to brace you for what’d be in store should you opt to watch it:



Filed under Movies

2 responses to “Hawk: The Slayer, or Ballad of a 3 Star Netflix Rating

  1. Stu

    Let’s be perfectly honest. About half of the movies on my Netflix queue are there because they had hysterically bad titles, posters, or both. I can’t imagine I’m the only one.

    • That is so completely true. And you aren’t the only one by a longshot. Case in point- in my queue right now: Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter; Zombiegeddon; I, Monster; House of the Wolfman; and many more.

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