Love Conquers All? ~ Sometimes
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 11/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"My rule of thumb concerning presentation format. If you have a choice between widescreen and full screen, always purchase the widescreen. However, if the film is only available in full screen and it's one you really want, you buy the full screen and put up with it until a widescreen version comes out to replace it. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. With that said I'll comment on the movie.
Being the movie buff that I am, I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of 'Ashanti' until I puchased it recently. The selling factor for me was the inclusion of Beverly Johnson in the cast. Upon my initial viewing I was delightfully surprised to discover that this is actually an extremely good and timely film. The existence of a modern day slave traders and the ever rising numbers of unaccounted for missing persons has received alot of media coverage in the U.S.A. this past year. It's a harsh reality, but it's the truth nonetheless, slavery continues to flourish in the twenty-first century. Odd how this '79 film could so accutely tap into our awakening consciousness of this worldwide scandal so relevant today.
'Ashanti' is a well conceived, highly entertaining action/adventure and love story of one man's relentless search for this kidnapped Ashanti wife. He pursues the slave trader Suleiman across the slavery routes of Africa and Arabia with the aid of the enigmatic, nomadic warrior Malik who lost his family years earlier to the same slave trader.
The cinematograpy is gorgeous which makes it a real shame that this DVD is full screen (sorry had to make another comment on format). The screenplay is brutally honest, at times sadly poignant and will keep you engaged until the very end. 'Ashanti' also boasts a cast of international stars that deliver admirable if not outstanding performances. My personal favorites were; Kabir Bedi in the role of Malik and of course the devastatingly beautiful and exotic Beverly Johnson as the kidnapped Anansa.
Negatives: One of the worst muscial soundtracks I've ever heard. It sounds like something that belongs in a very bad '70's television series. Also disappointing was the ending. Up until the last ten minutes I would have given this film -5 Stars-. What were they thinking?"
Slave to Love
EddieLove | NYC, USA | 04/29/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a dull, full-screen version of a 70s international thriller that might merit some attention if it looked better. It's pretty lame, but not really cheesy save for Ustinov's buffoonish clowning which belongs in a different picture. The great William Holden shows up for maybe a day's work -- he's supposed to be a cynical mercenary and crack helicopter pilot, but comes across more like a craggy old-timer going 40 in the fast lane oblivious to the fact that his turn signal's on. Much better is Rex Harrison turning in a tart cameo. He seems to have wondered in from a Graham Greene adaptation and he's welcome. Caine wears a Paddington Bear hat for the first third. You'll note his final confrontation with the villain of the piece is almost the same as in The Wilby Conspiracy."
Not quite Michael Caine's worst
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 02/16/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It's strange that a man with the likes of Jaws - The Revenge, The Jigsaw Man, Blue Ice, The Holcroft Covenant, On Deadly Ground and Bullseye, not to mention two Harry Alan Towers movies on his resume should dismiss Ashanti as his worst picture, because Michael Caine's done a LOT shoddier (check out Geoffrey Reeve's strikingly inept Shadow Run if you want to see just how much shoddier). Not that it's particularly good, but even though it comes from the late Richard Fleischer's I'll-do-anything days and features cameos from actors out to top-up their pension funds (Rex Harrison) or who just happened to be in Kenya anyway (William Holden), this somewhat pedestrian modern-day slavery picture that sees Caine's WHO Doctor (insert pun here) tracking down his kidnapped wife (model-turned-very-bad-actress Beverly Johnson) before comical slave-trader Peter Ustinov can sell her to Harvard-educated smoothie prince ("Would you like a cucumber sandwich?") is at least watchable in a wallpaper kind of way. Caine certainly looks the wrong kind of pissed off throughout, but the guest stars bring a spot of old school professional star power to the proceedings, Ustinov has fun with his villainy while Kabir Bedi provides a bit of intensity as Caine's reluctant and vengeful guide, and there's a host of familiar faces from British films of the 50s and 60s like Marne Maitland, Eric Pohlman, Johnny Sekka and Zia Mohyeddin rounding out the supporting cast. It always looks good thanks to Aldo Tonti's photography, though Don Black's cheesy lyrics for the end title song are typically laughable.
Be warned that the DVD is very shoddy - both the original UK DVD from Mosaic and the US disc are only a poor panned-and-scanned transfer of a Scope film, and in the UK disc's case one taken from a very heavily and visibly cut TV print. If you can find it, the French PAL DVD has a good remastered 2.35:1 widescreen transfer with removeable subtitles (except for a brief bit of opening text) and theatrical trailer."
Great Acting, Great Story!
Music Lover | Wakeman, Ohio | 02/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Caine and Peter Ustinov are great in this intriguing film that is full of beautiful scenery and great adventure. As Michael Caine's character searches for his wife who was kidnapped by slave traders, Peter Ustinov's character is busy making it difficult. The story is relevant to this day as slave trade continues throughout the world. There is some insight into how these slave trading groups work and renders the need to this day for more international attention to the problem. A great movie!"