Director Ferdinando Baldi (Duel of the Champions, Warbus) and writer/star Tony Anthony began the 3D revival in the 1980s with the spaghetti western Comin’ At Ya! and they also brought the Italian chapter of it to a close with Treasure of the Four Crowns.
As near as I can tell, those were the only two Italian 3D movies made, which means that they have to be that much more spectacular since all our Italian 3D needs will have to be satisfied by those two films for years to come! Well, you can rest easy because Treasure of the Four Crowns has enough 3D action to fill a movie called Treasure Of The Five Crowns!
What makes TOTFC great is that it’s not one of those 3D tease movies. You know the kind of 3D movie I’m talking about – the titles are in 3D and then not much else goes on except for the occasional hand or some other randomly selected object poking out of the screen until the ending where maybe a knife or spear sticks out as the big payoff. TOTFC tattoos a 3D hurtin’ on you from the very beginning of the movie and doesn’t let up for the next 21 or so minutes!
Tony Anthony plays the guy with a porn star name, J.T. Striker, who’s been charged with breaking into this castle where an ancient doodad is housed. The castle is unlike any you’ve ever seen because J.T. has to run, jump, roll, climb ropes, and dodge the most deathtraps ever assembled in a movie before he can get to his treasure.
And what deathtraps they are! There’s strange flying creatures, dogs, flying arrows, spike-laden logs, fireballs, floating crossbows, and so many other 3D-friendly weapons and threats, that I couldn’t spoil them all if I watched this movie every day for a hundred years and took notes! Which I plan on doing!
After Striker recovers a key from the castle (which explodes as he dives to the ground in slow motion as soon as he gets out!), he goes to the museum where he hands over the key to his pal and gets paid.
The key opens one of the Four Crowns. The Four Crowns were created by the Visigoths and the Arabs ruined one by trying to use it without a key. One is located in the museum where Striker is at and guess where the other two are! They’re being held by the crazed leader of a deadly cult at his mountaintop stronghold! That’s a lucky break! For fans of 3D adventure!
To be honest, I never had a clue what these crowns were all about. Once in awhile someone would babble about how they could be used to fight all the evil in the world, but I get the feeling that Ferdinando Baldi and Tony Anthony thought that if Indiana Jones would be going after a single lost ark, then J.T. Striker would up the ante and go after four crowns!
Well, three crowns since the Arabs broke theirs. Well, two crowns since one was already in a museum. But that’s still twice as much cliffhanging treasure hunting as that Indy Jones wuss did!
Striker gets convinced to lead an assault on the cult leader’s compound and thus has to assemble a 3D tomb raiding Delta Force!
Here’s the interesting thing about Treasure of the Four Crowns: it’s such a mega behemoth of a film that the whole story can’t fit into its 3D confines! You’ll probably think I’m stupid for telling you this, but DO NOT discard your regular 2D videotapes of TOTFC!
You will also need the 2D version because it contains the longer cut of the film compared to the 3D version (probably sourced from a Japanese 3D VHD release). Among the many important scenes you can only get from the regular video is the scene where Striker goes to the circus to recruit some of his team!
Frankly, you can get by watching the 3D version most days, since the team Striker recruits is so sucky. He’s got an alcoholic, a woman of no discernible skills, and an old man whose chief ability seems to be heart trouble.
And Striker himself isn’t exactly a strapping young go-getter. He’s an out of shape middle-aged coot who wears a nasty red jacket when he was tomb raiding at the beginning of the film!
The attempt to retrieve the last two crowns provides the movie the opportunity to pull out all the stops and overdose you on 3D action!
If you like flying arrows, shattering glass, and most of all, fire, you will not be let down. Especially if you like fire! When Striker gets his hands on the glowing orbs inside each crown, he starts to shoot flames out of them! And not just once or twice, but for hours on end! This probably explains why his face melts!
But don’t worry about Striker, he’s survived worse. Like when he first touched the orbs and his head spun around and around! You know, the more I watch this, the less I realize that Indiana Jones actually did!
Comparisons to Raiders are inevitable. If you take Raiders and subtract all of the budget, all of the acting, the exotic locales, the story and then multiplied what’s left by three dimensions you have a Treasure of the Four Crowns that is three times as great!
It simply outclasses Indy in all categories (except for budget, acting, story, etc.)! Don’t believe me? Remember when Indiana was being chased by the big boulder? Striker has to run away from at least two big boulders! And they’re on fire! And it’s all in Wonder Vision 3D! (Or Super Vision 3D depending on which part of the poster you read.)
© 2014 MonsterHunter