Have Knives--Will Travel !
peterfromkanata | Kanata, Ontario Canada | 04/16/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike the other reviewers, I am not an expert on Bava's oeuvre, although I know that horror film fans respect him highly. However, I have always enjoyed the Italian "spear and sandal" epics that were popular in the late 50s and early 60s, even when the setting moved north to Scandinavia and the heroes and villains were Vikings. Of course, this is what we have here.I really enjoyed this movie. The simple plot is very familiar--one reviewer mentioned "Shane"--Clint Eastwood's "Man-With-No-Name" persona also comes to mind. Instead of bullets, we have blades. Cameron Mitchell--not always a great actor--is very effective here as the world-weary "avenger", searching for the man who destroyed his family. The otherwise Italian cast is adequate, although--given this type of movie--the villain could have been a bit more "hissable". The action scenes are well staged, and our hero's knife-throwing prowess certainly gets the viewer's attention.What impressed me the most ? This film has a great "look"--it is beautifully photographed, which I understand is a Bava trademark.
The DVD exhibits a gorgeous picture, and it is widescreen, both of which add much to the viewer's enjoyment. I have seen other Italian action pictures of the same vintage on DVD that did not exhibit such quality.This movie is not in the same league as "The Vikings" or even "The Long Ships" ( The latter is due for release on DVD in June 2003--great news ! ) Nevertheless, with a much more modest budget and story, "Knives" is entertaining and--kudos to Mr. Bava and the people at Image--beautiful to watch. So put on the popcorn, break out the beer, and enjoy it !"
Enjoyable Spaghetti-Viking Flick
Chasemouse | 07/18/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's great that Bava's films are finally being released in the US. I grew weary of buying one poor dub after another. I had lost interest in the maestro's work until his films resurfaced on laser disc in the nineties. Now, with the popularity of the DVD format even more facets of Bava's career are being revealed. Beyond his classic horror films there are smaller gems like Rabid Dogs, 5 Dolls For An August Moon and this film, Knives of The Avenger. According to Tim Lucas' always informative liner notes Bava made this film so quickly that he finished three-quarters of the film in less than a week. After watching the picture I never would have guessed that such a fine looking film could be made so fast (or cheaply), but that is part of Bava's genius isn't it. Knives... is not a great film but it is enjoyable. The film's plot and look doesn't differ much from Leone's western films. The anti-hero of this picture is Cameron Mitchell. He's scruffy, looks like he smells awful, and he's just as quick with a knife as Eastwood is with a pistol. He's a loner condemned to a life of wandering. Other than the excessive jumping into the air at an opponent (a ridiculous feat that I doubt any skilled fighter would do) the fight scenes in this film are well staged. The added bonus here is Mitchell's endless supply of knives (Bava's idea). The film has a great score, but that too follows the spaghetti western formula. Despite some of the lame dialogue, "She's dead", Knives Of The Avenger is well acted. The DVD is decently letterboxed and the colors are fairly strong. The disc comes with a heavily damaged black and white trailer and a small supplement of production photos and poster stills. Take a close look at the production pictures and you'll see Mitchell's stunt double. The disc also comes with English and Italian language options but no subtitles."
Bava's Nordic Western
John Peterson | Marinette, WI USA | 07/06/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very strong Mario Bava film that under the Nordic costumes and settings it comes across more as a western, with a terrific performance by Cameron Mitchell (who collaborated with Bava for Erik The Conqueror and Blood And Black Lace). Mitchell plays a beggar who saves a woman and her son from being assaulted by a couple of men with his prowess with knives (hence the title). The movie's familial themes, along with the avenger's conflicts between two divided camps makes this one of Bava's most engrossing and endearing films. This DVD comes with a four page booklet with liner notes by Tim Lucas, a Mario Bava biography and filmography, theatrical trailer, photo and poster gallery, and trailers from other Mario Bava's films.
A worthwhile experience. Check it out!"