Subversive Cinema // 1983 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 6th, 2007
"No man will ever penetrate me." -- Hundra
You want girl power?! Bad-ass mofo Hundra has some girl power for you. The only question is can you handle it? I doubt it.
Hundra (Laurene Landon, Airplane 2) is a member of a nomadic tribe of warrior women, wandering around during an ancient time of loincloths and horned helmets. Having sworn off men, the women live lives of seclusion in their commune. Occasionally, a girl will get her self impregnated to keep the tribe rolling along, but if the offspring is male, then the baby is given away on the next boinking trip. Hundra is the mightiest warrior in the village, able to fell any man or woman that tries to go toe-to-toe with her.
One da,y a pack of marauding barbarians raid the village, killing and raping and devastating, leaving Hundra the only surviving member. She promptly takes off on her horse and smokes the raiders, but is left with a loss of purpose. Luckily a loony old sorceress informs Hundra she needs to reproduce and squeeze out enough babies to get the tribe going again.
Her search for an ideal mate leads her to a town run by horny men who worship bulls and have orgies with submissive slave girls. It's going to take an extra-large dose of Hundr-osity to turn these chauvinistic apes around.
If you've been looking for a feminist take on the barbarian genre, then I may have something for you. Hundra is a hard-core girls-only beat-em-up that would make Martina Navratilova proud. The entire premise is that men suck and will eventually be hacked to death by a blonde woman and her sword. Who can't get behind that kind of female empowerment?
Laurene Landon plays Hundra and, frankly, she doesn't have the warrior princess vibe going. She's got the looks and the physique, but her line delivery is far from awe-inspiring as she sputters through her dialogue. When the script calls for Hundra to be all menacing and imposing is when Landon really struggles. She just doesn't have the chops, or a strong enough voice, to blast out "female bad-ass." The action scenes are worse. Landon gives it her all, but she never once looks comfortable swinging (an obviously) plastic sword around, and she triumphs in her melees simply because her foes are more than willing to throw themselves in front of her blade.
Of course, I don't pretend to think this a movie to be taken seriously. The plot is, of course, one woman's quest to get knocked up and her fight against a bunch of perverts who worship bovines. Landon's stitled performance combined with the stilted action sequences lend the entire film a camp value that can be enjoyed by you and your friends on a boring Friday night (and the guys at Subversive seem to recognize this, employing memorable goofy scenes as menu transitions on the disc's front end).
The film's action is localized to anytime Hundra lofts her sword and swings it at suckas who've come to get some. The fight choreography leaves plenty to be desired, but at least the filmmakers had the good sense to include wounds spurting blood and the final smackdown where Hundra runs crazy through the bull-worshipping temple skewering any man she finds.
Hundra does share some elements with Conan the Barbarian -- the village sack in the opening, a grizzled old narrator, an orgy -- but there is much less emphasis on the sword and sorcery elements found in Schwarzenegger's opus. No snake-men, no demonic resurrections, no prayers to Crom, none of the fantastic elements that made that barbarian saga such a blast. Hundra is straight-up red meat for the N.O.W. crowd and can offer a night of laughs for you cult enthusiasts. Overall, however, the film is lean in the substance department and fat in the bad-acting department.
Subversive has treated this obscure movie like a queen. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is stunning, and shows off sweeping shots of the Hundra's home turf (there is some good cinematography) very nicely. The stereo audio track works fine, bringing Ennio Morricone's score to life.
And if you can't get enough of that score from the film itself, Subversive has packed in a limited edition bonus audio CD. Um, yippee? The remaining extras: a lengthy retrospective with Landon and director Matt Cimber, cast and crew bios, a full-length commentary by Landon and Cimber, and an adults only comic book. Eclectic, huh?
Oh, I forgot about the gratuitous nude horseback riding in the ocean scene. Man, this is like the second time I've seen a topless woman ride a horse for no reason in as many weeks (see Private School).
If you like you women in furry boots and swinging swords, this is the movie for you. For most everyone else, the accused has little to offer.
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Subversive Cinema
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Director's Commentary
* Making-of Documentary
* Bonus Soundtrack Audio CD
* Comic Book