It is what it is...
Erik Herrmann | Portland, Oregon | 09/21/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Where the title 'Return of the Gladiator' comes from, I've no idea.
This film is actually called 'Three Giants of the Roman Empire', and
lest you think that's something mythological - 'Giant' is pretty much
how they refer to any muscle-bound star in the Italian 'peplum' genre.
This particular entry has less 'hokum' than most of this type of film,
and more history. (Though genre star Brad 'Son of Samson' Harris does
get a chance to flex out while chained between two horses - a familiar
torture device in these films. i.e. see 'Goliath and the Barbarians')
The quality of the DVD print is pretty much up to par with other
releases from Mya Comm. - which is to say, watchable but not great.
It's widescreen and English dubbed (which is actually the way you
want to see most Italian peplum films, since they're mostly action
anyway - and subtitled versions usually don't make a lot of sense.)
If you're planning a purchase, I recommend you hold out for something
used, since Mya releases tend to be pretentiously overpriced when
A minor but diverting "peplum"
Parisonn of Atlantis | Minneapolis, Minnesota | 02/08/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Coming a bit more than a dozen years after Steve Reeves' "Hercules" -- the "Ur" of sword-and-sandal movies -- this modest entry in the genre eschews mythological trappings in favor of a historical adventure set on the borders of the Roman Empire, circa 310 A.D. As an adventure, it's a haphazard affair marred by a few doses of juvenile humor and a half-hearted bit of Christian piety, but there's enough action, romance, and intrigue to keep the indulgent viewer suitably entertained. Leading man Brad Harris is good-looking and brawny, (though not in a cartoony way), and he seems both more mature and more intelligent than the usual muscle-bound hero. Curiously, one must wait an entire hour before he takes his shirt off! After that point there's an entire beefcake-bonanza sequence in which Harris, stripped to a loincloth, is seen chained in a dungeon and then tied between teams of horses which attempt to pull him apart like a turkey wishbone. Fans of the male physique will not be disappointed. It's all downhill from there with the last part of the movie degenerating into a long but not particularly exciting battle sequence -- the outcome of which is never in doubt.
The title on the screen is "Three Giants of the Roman Empire" but you'll find it listed on the imdb as "Il ritorno del gladiatore piu forte del mondo" and the name on the DVD box is "Return of the Gladiator." Whatever. Running time is 85 minutes. The DVD is letterboxed and comes with either English or Italian dialog. The English-dubbing is adequate and color quality is good. If you're a "peplum" fan, you'll probably enjoy this."