Finally, an Italian swashbuckler that documents the financial hardship endured by lesser nobility in medieval Europe while still delivering to the masses the all-male fetish fights that we secretly watch these movies for.
And if things are generally too talky for most of the film, at least it’s a lot of humorous whiny talk from the stingy Baron about how he can’t really afford to host the duchess or provide enough gun powder to ward off the pirates. You also really don’t mind all that talking whenever our hero Nadir (worst name ever for a hero!) is rocking a costume that looks like his pirate ship docked at the Baron’s castle on the way to a drag queen ball.
I was wondering just how Nadir kept a ship of filthy pirates in line, especially when it became apparent that he wasn’t after treasure and that he wasn’t really a pirate. But then he came strutting out in his kinky bright red get up and backhanded one of his men for shooting a dude in the back and I realized that he was Nadir, Male Dominatrix of the High Seas. And really, what else are we to think about his over the knee shiny red hooker boots, red vest and what looked like red panties that he sported during his most dramatic moments. (There were times when he toned it done and went with a sensible bright blue suit as well as the more standard open white shirt with sheepskin vest, but you could tell he couldn’t wait to slip on his bad boy boots again.)
An all-male bout of grab ass though is only as sizzling as both its competitors, so while it’s all well and good that Nadir is appropriately dolled up, his opponent also has to bring the sexy kink to his part of the fight as well. And Captain Carmona does! Resplendent in the same black leather pants and vest he ably filled out for the entirety of the film, he not only whips Nadir with a bullwhip during their private beach showdown, but whips the audience into a frenzy as well!
But if all Pirate of the Half Moon was were hunks rolling around with each other in leather boots and vests, it would of course still be awesome, but would be more a “specialty video” than an actual movie. Thankfully for us movie buffs that like to watch such things guilt free, there is a story of some sort prodding Nadir and Carmona toward their spectacularly wet climax.
Nadir and his bear-like buddy arrive at the Baron’s castle pretending to be traveling minstrels or storytellers or whatever and are allowed into the castle at the insistence of the Baron’s niece, Angela. Angela and Nadir hit it off which doesn’t sit well with Carmona who is intent on forcing her to marry him. Carmona is the captain of the castle’s military forces and is a singularly unpleasant fellow, constantly harassing the Baron for a bigger military budget as well as threatening Angela that if she doesn’t marry him, she’ll be locked away in a convent. (As if to cement his over the top villainy, he even plays peeping tom on Angela when she’s getting dressed, but honestly, her 16th century lingerie was more demure than some of the clothes I’ve seen women wear to church and funerals.)
But Nadir isn’t your ordinary pirate pretending to be a traveling hobo. He’s really a nobleman doing recon at the castle, searching for the man who murdered his family in an effort to steal his family’s wealth. He knows the evil Ugo has changed his name, but apparently doesn’t know what he looks like.
But Nadir’s brother does! And he just happens to get caught breaking into the castle and notices that Carmona is really the vile Ugo! (It didn’t seem as if this was a concerted plan between Nadir and his brother, especially since Nadir didn’t even know his brother was in the castle being tortured while he was flirting with Angela!)
All of this of course takes quite a while to play out (there’s a bunch of time spent on Nadir trying to kidnap the duchess and the castle sending Angela in her place) but you do get to see the fancy (and expensive!) feast the Baron had to put on for the duchess only to find out that the duchess just wanted a single egg! (What’s your caterer’s refund policy again, Baron?)
Nadir and his pirates attack the castle, but are driven out by the sudden arrival of the king and his army. Nadir stays to plead his case to the king and things bog down for a bit while the king asks a bunch of questions before the rousing finish along the sea coast.
John Derek (famous for being married to Ursula Andress, Linda Evans, and Bo Derek) is the perfectly cast stud with his tan and sculpted hair that would make Steve Reeves or any of the lesser Italian muscle gods proud while Alberto Farnese as Carmona is a vet of Italian flicks and handles his bad guy duties competently. The movie threatens to veer into comedy every now and again whenever the Baron is bellyaching about his fiscal plight and even in a fight scene where a guy is sitting down and just whacking people on the head as they walk by. That this guy is eventually stabbed and killed tells you what side of the comedy/drama line the film is firmly on.
Pirate of the Half Moon is a decent costume adventure that you’ll be happier with if you appreciate the saucy costumes more than the adventure that it sporadically and unremarkably depicts.
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