From The Star of 322 Films: The Sword and the Claw Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

man wonders why no one is answering the door. He then notices that his hand fell off.

Face-smashing Trailers (10m 22s, HD)

  • Argon: The Fantastic Superman
  • Super Argo and the Faceless Giants
  • The Three Supermen
  • The 3 Supermen in the West
  • The Super Girl of Kung Fu
Brawl Busters (1h 23m, HD, 2.35:1)

This bonus film is not what I thought it was going to be and am a bit disappointed because of that. The back of the box has a guy with an afro, wearing a bandana, and the tagline reads:

Those Turkeys Fight Dirty
Black Jack Gets Mean
He Kicks Not Their Legs
But Just In Between

From that tagline, I thought that the film was going to be a Blaxploitation kung fu flick, but it is not. It is a normal kung fu flick from South Korea. The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and only has an English track, though lossless. The film is nothing to get excited about as it is pretty hard to follow because of the way the story is told. It is a revenge film, but everything is muddled by the editing. There are plenty of fight scenes and, while not all that memorable, do keep the pace of the film pretty quick. The print used for the film is really beat up, worse than that of The Sword and the Claw. There are scratches, dots, flecks, and green lines that come and go as they please. This film is a curiosity at best. Check out page 3 for screenshots

The disc is REGION FREE

boy plays with tiger. or is the tiger playing with the boy?

Presented in a 1.78:1, the back of the box touts this as “new 4K scan from the only 35mm theatrical print in existence”. Since this is the only known print in existence then we have to cut the picture quality some slack. I am known for doing that because not all prints, negatives, etc are made the same nor are they all kept in good condition. We have seen films like Hell Night, Asylum, The Beast Must Die, and the gore shots from Silent Night, Deadly Night not kept in the most ideal of conditions and their blu-ray releases reflect that, but how can we, as reviewers, come down on these releases when the only materials in existence are not kept in good conditions? Looking at The Sword and the Claw, I thought that the film looked pretty good. Colors are good and skin tones look pretty accurate. There is some detail, but not too much, but the transfer offers up a nice “film-like” feel to it. There is no digital tinkering. There was also no clean-up whatsoever done on the print. There are scratches, hairs, and plenty of damage on display. We even see the cigarette burns in the corner. While all of this would have dropped any type of score down to the lower numbers, I am not going to do that. I have stopped giving out scores, but if I still did, the score here would have dropped, but not that much. I always take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the transfer and the materials used for said transfer when reviewing. This is a good looking transfer that would have looked great with a cleanup.

no matter what this man is doing, he does it with a karate pose, just in case.

The film’s DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track is not the best thing that I have ever heard, but it does capture the feel of the film quite nicely. Sure, the dubbing is beyond awful and there are a few missing snippets of sound here and there, but the soundtrack on any blu-ray is supposed to make it sound like it did when the film was released. Preservation is what it is called. Does this track preserve sound? Yes. Does it do it well? For the most part, yes. Can it be any better? Probably not. The awful dubbing has no bearing on whether the track is good or not. The track comes through pretty well.

put up your dukes. Put 'em up put 'em up.

When the king is murdered, his baby son and heir is hidden in the forest where he is abducted and raised by a pride of lions. As an adult he uses his beastly strength and claw-like hands to take revenge against the new king and his armies.

Sometimes a film comes along that you have never heard of and, therefore, your expectations are low, or non-existent. Most of the time you will find yourself disappointed in the film for a barrage of reasons: the film wasn’t very good, the acting was awful, the story made no sense, etc. The other times, when the film is good, is when you get really excited. You will go on and tell people about the film. There are people who will go on and on about a film that they fell in love with.

That film for me is The Sword and the Claw.

Released as Kilic Aslan in its home country of Turkey, the film was released in the States as Lion Man, which is a pretty generic title, but one that fits the film. The film stars Cuneyt Arkin as the titular character. He is pretty unknown in the States, but in Turkey, he is a superstar. According to, Arkin has starred in 322 films. That may seem like a lot (it is), but after watching The Sword and the Claw you will realize that is not such a high number.

The Sword and the Claw is a cheap film. The sets are cheap, the costumes are cheap, hell, even the swords are cheap (they look to be made out of wood and I think that there were only a few on set, being reused in scene after scene, shot after shot.), but this only adds to the enjoyment of the film. We are on the lookout for anything that seems a bit off and then we laugh at it. Early on, the king is stabbed a bunch of times, but the some of the swords don’t even make contact. The swords don’t even have a shine to them. Well, there is one sword that has a shine to it, but the rest of them look dull and gray.

The fight scenes, which is why one would go to a film like this, are pretty bad, but enjoyable. None of the actors seem to know any type of martial art, so the film resorts to jumping to make up for the lack of skill. A character will jump into frame, slash someone, and then jump out of frame, thus giving us the illusion of martial arts action. In fact, during the climax of the film, Arkin jumps in and out of frame so much that the filmmakers decided to just keep using the same footage over and over. Arkin will jump at a character, then another, and then another, all using the same footage. It is really very funny how many times the same jump is used in one fight scene.

Since the film was in Turkish, the distributors here in the States decided to dub the film. However, it seems like the budget for the dubbing was about $10 because this is one of the worst dubs I have ever listen to. The opening scene is a battle scene, with characters on horseback carrying swords. There is no sound unless something is happening and when the action does happen, none of the sounds sound like they are onscreen. We hear swords clash, but it is the same sound every time, no matter how the sword was struck. A sword hit another sword? Use the sword sound. Two swords hit a sword? Use the sword sound, but don’t double it. That would cost money. A sword is thrust into someone? Use the sword sound. Much like the reuse of jumping shots, the sword sound is the same no matter what. The dialogue doesn’t match the length of the dialogue the actor spoke in their native tongue. When dubbing a film into another language, dialogue is written to not only translate what is being said but also to match the length of the sentence being said. Here the dialogue will keep going after the person on screen has stopped talking or it will stop long before the person has finished.

There is so much happening during the film’s short hour and twenty-seven minutes ( and the back of the blu-ray case list the runtime as 109 minutes, but that is probably an uncut version of the film). There is a scene towards the beginning of the film where the bad guy goes to the king’s castle to offer him a sign of peace: a rug. There are some other things that the bad guy offers the king, but the rug is the most important. The bad guy and his goons carry the (rolled up) rug into the throne room and lay it down in front of them. They address the king and tell him about their offerings. The king accepts the offerings and asks to see the rug. The bad guy says something along the lines of “here is a surprise” and kicks the rug forward, which starts its unrolling. We can tell that there is something in the rug, but nothing could prepare us for what is actually in the rug. As the rug finishes unrolling, it reveals a man, with a bow and arrow. He shoots the king while the bad guys’ other gifts burst open to reveal other archers and swordsmen. I laughed so hard at what happened that my wife thought that I was watching a comedy. I told her what the film was, but she refused to what the scene. I think that she would have enjoyed it.

Scenes like that happen all throughout The Sword and the Claw. That is what makes the film so great. The filmmakers don’t think that any of this is funny. They think that what they are putting on the screen is the coolest thing ever. I like this. This isn’t something like The Room or Birdemic where the filmmakers were clearly not giving a fuck about what they put on screen. Here, the filmmakers do care and they are giving it their all. It mostly comes across as funny, but you can tell that this is supposed to be taken seriously. This is a serious action film in Turkey. In the States, it is a comedy.

The Sword and the Claw is a fun film, taking us to a whole new way of cinema. Those who have seen Turkish Star Wars knows how much of a pleasure it is to watch these films. Sure, they are funny, but they come from an honest place. Everyone looks like they are having loads of fun and the film comes off better for it. Make sure to watch this with friends to increase the enjoyment factor.

The blu-ray, from AGFA, is good. The picture and sound quality are what you make of it. Sure, the films can look pretty bad, but that is the best they will ever look without some type of major restoration done, which I don't think is all that possible. The blu-ray also has very few extras on it, mainly a bonus film in the form of The Brawl Busters. That is a film that could have been a lot more fun than it is, but free is free, so I take what I can get.

Post a Comment