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The Sword and the Claw - Blu-ray Review

4 beersHis fingers have been eaten away.  He will no longer be able to use them.  Well, that sounds like a challenge to me!  Game on!  Long live the Texas-based American Genre Film Archive as, once again, they make movies fun again!

AGFA goes the distance in rescuing director Natuk Baytan’s The Sword and The Claw from the gulf of obscurity with the Blu-ray release of their new 4K scan from the only 35mm print of this wild tale in existence.  This largely uneven action flick combines cheapo depot thrills with some of the gaudiest sets and costumes ever put in front of a motion picture camera.  It feels fake; looks all sorts of cosmic with moonboots and glitter; yet constantly teeters back and forth on the edge of a world that simply goes through the motions. 

The Sword and The Claw, while entertaining in that so bad it’s good kind of way, is a tough one to recommend to ANY casual viewer of retrograde cinema.  It’s funny because it is so damned pathetic in its rollout, editing, and various scenes of water torture among the bamboo reeds.  It also features a man, raised by lions, that hops and jumps and leaps like Sonny Chiba to protect the Turkish people.  He even turns a castle into a aerobics classroom.

Utter nonsense.  You have to be a dyed-in-the-wool fan of really shitty B-movies to make it through this cheaply made tree-flinging farce.  Oh, The Sword and the Claw is damn funny – considering the boy at the center of the movie is wearing a wig for his underwear as he “feeds” a family of lions and another man runs around with a giant cupcake on his head – but this retelling of Turkish and Christian fracases by way of Tarzan (with lion claws) is far more painful than it is pleasant.

The Sword and The Claw (also known as Lionman and Kiliç Aslan) is one wacky sword and sandal adventure of Turkish delights.  Poorly dubbed by a bunch of emotionless people who seem to be suffering from post-Thanksgiving dinner fatigue, the only real reason to sit through this cheap slice of D-grade cinema is for the ongoing (and often hilarious) swordplay which is highlighted by a Christian soldier being rolled out of a tightly bound rug and springing to action.

And then there is the grown lion boy.  His name is Altar (Cemil Sahbaz) and he swings into action in his animal leotard, hoping from hidden trampolines to tackle the Christians who refer to women as "bitches" and everyone else "bastards" in their battle to spread the gospel.  It doesn’t help matters that Sahbaz looks a hell of lot like Wayne Newton.  Nor does getting his hands eaten off by acid help him fight any better.  So he has metal claws made.  RAWR. To the gates of Hell we march!

The bonus movie included with this release is called Brawl Busters, a Korean martial arts film directed by Jeong-yong Kim yet features Australian-leaning dubbing.  It’s bizarre in its cheap progression as one mistress of Varity Lodge, on a revenge mission for the murders of her family, takes on the four leaders of the members Tung-Cheng Party and makes them pay.

The Lionman cometh and sanity leaveth.  The Sword and The Claw is now available on blu-ray.


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The Sword and the Claw - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
109 mins
: Natuk Baytan
Natuk Baytan
Cüneyt Arkin, Bahar Erdeniz, Barbara Lake
: Action | Adventure
Blood and Guts Action--From Start to Finish.
Memorable Movie Quote: "We orgabize ourselves to fight a war of revenge."
Theatrical Distributor:
William Mishkin Motion Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 14, 1982
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 23, 2018
Synopsis: They took his money. They took his family. And now, they’ve taken his hands. But they can never take his revenge! Exploding from the same hallucinogenic netherworld as TURKISH STAR WARS, THE SWORD AND THE CLAW stars Turkish genre legend Cüneyt Arkin in his most iconic role. It’s CONAN THE BARBARIAN meets The Three Stooges meets DOLEMITE with more lo-fi bloodshed, pop-art visuals, and bizarro dubbing than the boundaries of reality can handle.


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The Sword and the Claw - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: AGFA
Available on Blu-ray
- January 23, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The Sword and The Claw is much deserving of its 4K scrub.  The banged around 35mm print is scratched and problematic but, as it is the ONLY print of the movie, the digital transfer is much appreciated, even if it can’t save the flick from all the scratches (or the poorly acted scenes).  From the wilds of the desert to the reeds in the water, this film has a lot of daylight hours in it.  was shot during daylight.  The high grain – especially in the hilariously awful scene of Altar swinging into action with a rebel yell – is to be expected.  It is presented in the film’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and features a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono soundtrack for all of your dialogue listening needs.



  • None

Special Features:

We get 10-minutes of super fun trailers for Argoman and the Fantastic Superman (1967), Superargo and the Faceless Giants (1968), The Three Supermen in the Jungle (1970), The Three Supermen in the West (1973), and The Supergirl of Kungfu (1975) and the additional 2K scrub of Brawl Busters.  The fantastic reversible cover art is from Alexis Ziritt.

  • Brawl Busters
  • Trailers


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The Sword and the Claw - Blu-ray Review