Sword of Alexander (2007)
By: Paul Ryan on September 6, 2009  | 
Eastern Eye (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). Japanese DD 5.1, Japanese DTS 5.1. English Subtitles. 105 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Starring: Hiroshi Abe, Kyoko Hasegawa, Kakuro Kudo, Meisa Kuraki
Screenplay: Akira Amasawa
Country: Japan
External Links
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Wandering mercenary swordsman Genkuro (Abe Hiroshi) has spent his life tracking down three ancient artifacts forged from a mysterious alien alloy called Orichalum. When combined, these items (The Cross of Judas, The Skanda Thunderbolt, and The Sword of Alexander) will grant their owner immense power. As it happens, Genkuro isn't the only one after the artifacts, as two duelling alien symbiotes - one good, one evil - crash down on Earth to fight it out in search of Orichalum. In the midst of this Genkuro encounters a kidnapped princess (Kyoko Hasegawa), her bumbling guard (Kudo Kankuro), a band of assassins, and a ladyboy samurai (Meisa Kuroki). On top of this, the symbiotes have possessed human forms, with the good one taking over the princess, the bad one leaping from victim to victim in search of the artifacts...

Sword of Alexander contains plenty of ingredients for prime beer-and-pizza viewing, and yet the end result is way off the mark. Like a Japanese-made episode of Hercules or Xena, this intertwines ancient mythology with very contemporary dialogue and sensibilities, infused with a silly, comic tone and dodgy CGI creations. However, while those shows were frequently over-the-top, this film is often painfully, grotesquely hammy. Actors snarl, grunt and scream their dialogue as if cast in the world's worst pantomime, matched by Yukihiko Tsutsumi's in-your-face direction, making it hard to care about anything or anyone in the film. This extends to the visual effects, which (some good spaceship design notwithstanding) are garish, hokey, and downright awful at times. Between the frequently shoddy CGI and sub-Troma prosthetics, the film is not easy on the eyes. If everyone involved had just pulled back a bit and let the film breathe a little, this would have been a hoot. Instead, it's simply a tiresome, occasionally obnoxious bore.
The anamorphic video transfer is top-notch, though it perhaps has the downside of highlighting just how crap most of the CGI is.
Two excellent 5.1 tracks are included here, one Dolby, the other DTS. Both have great range and depth, though the DTS is the more impressive of the two.
Extra Features
Trailers: A pair of very brief trailers, played back-to-back. Nothing that would make you want to rush out and see the film. Stills Gallery: Fifteen publicity stills from the film. I've said it before about these things and I'll say it again: Yawn. Eastern Eye Trailers: Bonus previews of Shinobi, Shadowless Sword, Death Trance and Black Belt.
The Verdict
Hammy, tacky and not much fun, Sword of Alexander might play better with the aid of a six-pack or a sharp blow to the head. Madman's DVD is technically solid, but that's just really a case of polishing a turd.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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