(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was an awesome "guy" film. 4 elements made it stand out as such. 1) The main characters were Pam Grier and Margeret Markov. Two very attactive women. 2) There was constant action throughout the movie. Even a couple of catfights. 3) Of course it wouldn't be a guy film without tons of unnecessary nudity. Both Grier and Markov have full frontial shots! 4)But to top it off, it's not like you're sitting though a bunch of mindless scenes just to see Grier and Markov. Rather this film has a really great storyline. The plot is believable (except for maybe one scene) and the message really touches your heart. It's a great film worth owning. and if you like it you should check out.."Black Mama, White Mama"..not nearly as good but has it's moments."
Gladiator-babes in ancient Rome!
Bill W. Dalton | Santa Ana, CA USA | 03/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is Roger Corman's version of Gladiator and Caligula rolled into one, years before them! And it's not bad, either. Beautiful slave girls must fight to the death in the arena in ancient Rome as a novelty for the jaded Romans. The gladiator girls learn to fight and then use their skills to revolt and escape. Sort of a feminist take on Spartacus.And the production values belie the usual low-budget restrictions. The costumes, sets, props, and fight scenes are good, and Pam Grier, in her pre-Coffy star-making role, is feisty, pugnacious, and naked, too. Her nude scene, in fact, got a top 3-star rating in Craig Hosoda's The Bare Facts video guide!The bonus features on this DVD include not one, but two Leonard Maltin-Roger Corman interviews, but neither of them is about this movie in particular! There's the movie trailer, trailers of several other Corman films, a chapter index, booklet, and a few mini- biographies of cast and crew. The image quality is good. Unfortunately, though, the movie is in full screen format when it would have really benefited from the widescreen treatment. All in all, not quite what it should have been, but still worth it to all us diehard Corman/Grier/ancient Rome fans! MORITURI SALUTAMUS!"O Cæsar, Morituri Salutamus!""O Cæsar, we who are about to die Salute you!" was the gladiators' cry In the arena, standing face to face With death and with the Roman populace. --Longfellow"
Shane Killen | Florida, US | 05/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After seeing the best movie of my life, Gladiator, I had to find other titles of similiar interest. The Arena seemed too good to be true, and I'd much rather see women fight than men.The story starts out with women of different backgrounds (a priestess, a dancer, etc.) who are caught and sold into slavery. An argument between two of the girls leads into a catfight in the food room, where in turn all of the girls get into a huge food fight. Ceaser is informed of the trouble and gets mad at the mess. His advisor says if they can fight like this, maybe they can fight in the arena as gladiators. (The crowd have been asking for something new)The story line continues as the women are trained and then pitted against eachother. (The fights are superb in this movie, especially judging that the movie is almost 30 years old!)Finally the women turn the fight from eachother towards the fight for freedom, against the Romans. They battle roman soldiers in the Arena and fight for they're escape.Eventually they find a tunnel that leads out of the city and find they're freedom.A very good movie, it isn't the best I have seen, but I'd easily give it 5 out of 5 stars."
In the 70's drive-in, can you picture yourself watching a Ro
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 11/16/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"No need to be put off by this rating I personally love this movie. I am exploitation -enthusiasts and would have rated it much higher but instead I save myself for being a bias. Fashionable feminism, utterly unwarranted nudity, catfights, overdramatic dialogue are all right here in "The Arena," a lavish spectacle (by New World standards) in which the audience is treated to Caged Heat in gladiator drag. Of course, most DVD buyers will probably want to snag this one up for Pam Grier, doing by far the most explicit and unabashed nudity of her career. Luckily, it also happens to be quite a fun film.
The Roman Empire was at its height (and right after the Spartacus revolt, as one minor character is quick to point out), the Romans took delight in pillaging other cultures, slaughtering innocents, and taking the most beautiful women back with them as servants. Bodicia (Margaret Markhov) of Brittany is the token blonde goddess captive, while Mamawi (Grier) is a tribal woman; miraculously, both apparently know how to speak Latin. Along with two other women, Bodicia and Mamawi are subjected to such indignities as public hose-downs and hand waiting on Roman political slobs. When the girls start a nasty catfight (the first of many over the top highlights), the nasty Romans, headed by the questionably named, token gay comic character Priscium (Sid Lawrence), decide that their new acquisitions might make for more entertainment in the gladiator arena. However, after the women witness the brutal treatment of the male gladiators, who are promised their freedom and summarily executed, they decide that perhaps this isn't the most efficient system of government and plan an escape. Not surprisingly, the last third of the film is devoted to the female "jailbreak," filled with plenty of sword clashing and spilled blood. The male contingent of our cast is a sad lot, though much of their performance is damaged irreparably simply by the obvious dubbing. No amount of dubbing, however, could excuse Daniele Vargas' overacting as Timarchus. His eyerolling, sheet-chewing scene when he condemns Septimus to death could likely be used as proof for the (now discredited) theory that Rome went mad from drinking water poisoned by lead piping. Sid Lawrence can be forgiven, he was told to be a cliché as Priscium, and he is a cliché. Paul Muller's Lucilius, however, is a nicely restrained, steady performance by a pro.
Markhov and Grier make a nice team after their previous stint on Corman's Black Mama, White Mama, and visually, the film looks terrific. Though credited to Steve Carver (Big Bad Mama - Special Edition, Lone Wolf McQuade), directorial chores were reportedly handled mostly by the film's cinematographer, Joe D'Amato (Aristide Massaccesi), who later found a profitable career helming horror films (The Grim Reaper) and a slew of highbrow Rocco Siffredi hard porn titles. And believe it or not, this was edited by Joe Dante, long before Corman gave him his big break as director of Piranha. For Grier and women in prison fans, the decision to pick this one up should be a no brainer.