Ator 2 - L'invincibile Orion
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|The Blade Master|
One-sheet for The Blade Master, one of several titles for the film
|Directed by||Joe D'Amato|
|Produced by||John Newman|
|Written by||Joe D'Amato|
|Music by||Carlo Rustichelli|
|Cinematography||Joe D'Amato (as Federico Slonisco)|
|Edited by||David Framer|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|February 15, 1984 (U.S.)|
Ator 2 - L'invincibile Orion (aka Ator 2: The Blade Master) is an Italian film that was made in 1984. The movie was written and directed by Joe d'Amato. It stars Miles O'Keeffe as Ator, a man skilled in not only fighting, but in many other arts as well. It also stars Charles Borromel as Akronas, a wise ruler and teacher who is also called the Great One. Lisa Foster stars as Mila, the daughter of Akronas, and David Brandon as Zor, the principal villain of the film. The film was released in theaters as Blade Master.
It received the name Cave Dwellers on television after it was re-edited by distributor Film Ventures International. It is the sequel to 1982's Ator, the Fighting Eagle and was followed by 2 other sequels, Iron Warrior and Quest for the Mighty Sword. The movies were made to capitalize on the popularity of the Conan movies which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. The films were all directed by Joe D'Amato with the exception of Iron Warrior, which D'Amato never considered part of the canon since it was made without his cooperation by director Alfonso Brescia.
The movie was released in English under various titles: Ator the Invincible 2, The Blade Master, Ator, the Blade Master, Cave Dwellers and The Return. It was featured in the premiere episode of the third season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, under the title Cave Dwellers. O'Keefe was reportedly amused by the show's take on the film and called Best Brains (MST3K's production company) to personally request a copy of the episode. It is one of the most popular episodes of the series. The MST3K version of the movie is available in both VHS and DVD formats.
Akronas has discovered the Geometric Nucleus during the course of his research. The Nucleus is a device of incredible power that could be a terrible weapon. Akronas feels that the Nucleus must be kept from evil men at all costs. When he learns that the evil Zor and his army are approaching his castle, he asks his daughter Mila to bring his former student Ator back to help defeat Zor. Mila runs away to find Ator. Zor's soldiers enter and begin beating Akronas, but Zor angrily sends them away to maintain the image of a man who would only use violence if needed.
Mila is pursued by Zor's soldiers, and is wounded by them, but continues to stagger towards Ator's home. At last she arrives, and Ator uses his medical knowledge to heal her wound. She then is able to convince him she is the daughter of Akronas, and that her father is in terrible danger.
Mila, Ator, and Ator's Asian assistant Thong (Chen Wong) begin the journey back to Akronas' castle, facing a variety of dangers along the way, including a group of cannibals, another group determined to sacrifice them to their god — which is a huge snake — and other soldiers.
Finally they make it back to the castle. While Mila and Thong sneak in the back way, Ator uses his knowledge of flight to quickly make a hang glider, which he flies over the castle, dropping bombs on Zor's soldiers. Having defeated most of Zor's forces, Ator takes on Zor himself and defeats him. Akronas convinces Ator to let Zor live to face trial, but when Ator steps away, Zor grabs a sword to threaten Ator, and Zor is killed by Thong.
Afterwards, Akronas gives the Geometric Nucleus to Ator. Ator tells Mila he has to leave, that his life is too dangerous to share with her. Mila says that she knows Ator must fight evil where ever it occurs. Ator leaves Thong behind to help take care of Mila and Akronas, and leaves. He takes the Nucleus to a distant land, where he destroys it in a massive nuclear detonation.
- Miles O'Keefe - Ator
- Lisa Foster - Mila
- Charles Borromel - Akronas
- Chen Wong - Thong
- David Brandon - Zor
- Nancy Hall - 1st maiden
- Linette Ray - 2nd maiden
- Sandra Carle - Old woman
Cave Dwellers did not do well in critical reviews. Critics have pointed to the plot, or lack thereof, continuity errors, one dimensional villains, and stolen sound effects as examples of the film's shortcomings. A few editing errors showed up in the final version of the film, such as Zor's face jumping in one shot and visible tire tracks in the background near the end of the film.
Home video releases
- Released circa 1990, the Cave Dwellers version of Ator 2 - L'invincibile Orion uses opening and ending credits superimposed over blurred footage from an entirely separate movie; the 1963 Italian fantasy film Taur, the Mighty (Taur, il re della forza bruta), which starred Joe Robinson and Harry Baird. Pod People, Being From Another Planet and Stranded in Space, other movies featured on MST3K, have similarly altered credits; all four movies were distributed to Best Brains by Film Ventures International.
- The MST3K version of the film was released by Rhino Home Video on VHS in 1996 and as part of the Collection, Volume 2 DVD set in 2003.