This is another one of those muscleman epics that seems alternately obsessed with displaying the rippling back muscles of star Gordon Scott (Hercules Vs. The Moloch) and with the palace intrigue in old time China.
The fact that the version I saw only ran 77 minutes was both a blessing and a curse. Cursed because everything happened in a rather hasty manner with entire sequences that could have explained exactly how characters went from doing one thing to the next mysteriously missing. Blessed though since it was still 77 minutes of Gordon perpetually greased up and standing around posing like an adult baby in a red diaper whose next appearance would be on Sean Connery in Zardoz.
If you have any hope of enjoying this movie, you’ll need to just accept as a fact that Samson is in China and actually has some reason for being there. The movie doesn’t really address the issues as to who this Samson is, why is he there, how did he get there, or where in the world he keeps that tube of bronzer in that little diaper he wears.
The Mongols (led by Garek) are bothering the Chinese in the 1200s. Garak isn’t content with merely being the supreme ruler of the invading hoard he also wants to become Emperor of China. Which is odd because during the entire movie he seems to be living in the royal court, hanging around with the prince and princess of the Emperor, all the while plotting their hunting accidents.
Garak puts his schemes into action and the prince goes off on a tiger hunt, but somehow it ends with him all tied up and dumped in a tiger pit. They must have had a different idea of what a “hunting accident” was than we do since I wasn’t sure how having your body be discovered tied up in a tiger pit with tigers gnawing on you would qualify as an accident.
Luckily for this dopey prince, there just happens to be a really big white dude standing around that part of China just looking to do a good deed where lots of muscles are needed. Samson takes this opportunity to grip and grope a tree and tear it out of the ground. Bad guys fall out of the tree and the next thing I know Samson is going one on one with a stuffed tiger!
Director Riccardo Freda (I Vampiri) at first interweaves blatant stock footage of a tiger prowling around with his actors and then switches to the stuffed animal once Samson has to try and pry the creature’s jaws wide open.
I will admit that once Samson had the thing in a chokehold and they went to wide shots of him putting the sleeper on this beast that it did appear to be real tiger, but I would add that it appeared to a really tranquilized tiger.
After finally beating up the drowsy tiger, he rescues the prince and heads into some town to meet up with rebel leader Cho where he gets mixed up with rescuing a princess Garek has captured, but only after busting up a bar of course!
He gets help in rescuing the princess from Garak’s girlfriend who is irked that Garak’s latest scheme is to marry the princess to become emperor instead of just killing everyone to become emperor. That Garak is such a skunk. If he promised his girlfriend that she’d be on the throne after everyone was murdered, then he should stick to it! It’s funny business like that that gave the Mongol hoard such a bad name.
As far as the film’s title goes, there was some talk by an old man at some point that there were seven miracles that were to be performed, but I think I got the version that only showed two of them.
First of all, Samson was told to go and ring the freedom bell. He goes and does this and as soon as everyone hears it, they act like Hawk did in Over The Top whenever he turned his cap backwards for a big arm wrestling match.
When this bell rang, it was ON! Peasants immediately started whipping up on their Mongol rulers and everything seemed to be going well for the rebels up until the time that Samson got distracted by some bad guys and bumped his head on the big metal dragon he was using to ring the bell with!
The Mongols lock him in big stone tomb underground while upstairs in the town square, Garak is ready to execute Cho. Samson suddenly wakes up from his nap and starts pushing at his solid rock confines and miracle number two is go!
The next thing you know the entire town is beset by a monstrous earthquake! Buildings fall, people tumble into lakes, and Garak gets speared in the chest by Cho. Watching scenes of Samson straining against the rock interspersed with scenes of the giant chasms opening up in the ground is beefy-sized action at its finest!
The one thing that distinguishes this film from its sweat-stained competition is its location. Like Hercules Against the Sons of the Sun, it tries to inject some life into things by taking Samson and putting him in a different geographic location far removed from ancient Rome or Greece. Things aren’t nearly as loopy as they were when Hercules went on his South American vacation though, so you’re actually better off seeking that one out before this one.
Samson himself has little personality and doesn’t speak more than ten lines of dialogue throughout the film, though it’s purely a judgment call whether that’s a drawback or just a good use of your slab of meat.
Nothing really memorable goes on and the short running time doesn’t give anybody the chance to do anything stupefyingly bad. A below average effort with minimal production values that makes you think that having Samson wear that diaper was as much a financial decision as an artistic one.
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