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FLASH GORDON

title: FLASH GORDON
year: 1980
cast: Sam J. Jones, Topol, Melody Anderson, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, Max Von Sydow, Ornella Muti, William Hootkins
rating: ****

A classic in every way, FLASH GORDON has only one "drawback": the title is somewhat misleading, being that our square-jawed hero, a perfectly-cast Sam J. Jones, has allies equally as important: Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan the hawk man, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin, Melody Anderson as the beautiful ingenue Dale Arden, Ornella Muti as the seductive Princess Auri, and Topol as Dr. Zarkov, the wily scientist responsible for getting Gordon into space to save the Earth from Ming the Merciless, played by wickedly dependable Max Von Sydow. The way Flash goes from one doomed situation to the next, thrust into the primal customs of each race, is as perfect as the Queen soundtrack: cutting through the action like a machete. A man-to-man battle involving Gordon and Barin (Dalton) on a revolving spiked sphere is a standout. Director Mike Hodges and producer Dino De Laurentiis create a world that not only resembles a gloriously conceived comic book, but reads like one as well.
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