Monday, December 31, 2012


James Dodson 1993
Starring: David Warner, Corbin Allred, David Kriegel, Olivia Hussey

I really hope Quest of the Delta Knights is not going to be my last movie of the year, but if it is, so be it. At least it stars David Warner. I know I said I was only going to write about 1980s sword and sorcery movies, but when I heard about this film and the lost treasures of Archimedes, I knew it had to be my one exception. This is also less a sword and sorcery romp and more a medieval knight-fantasy flick, but close enough. It is also unapologetically from the early ‘90s.

A young boy named Tee joins up with Baydool, who is secretly a knight of the Delta order and recognizes Tee from a prophecy. Baydool and Tee set off on a quest to find the Lost Storehouse of Archimedes. The treasures and knowledge therein will help them defeat an evil queen (the Mannerjay) and the sinister Lord Vultare. Tee is also helped by a princess and a young man named Leonardo. For some bizarre reason -- perhaps the abysmally low budget -- David Warner plays the narrator, the aged knight Baydool, and Lord Vultare. Interestingly, he is introduced to us when he throws a chamberpot full of piss on someone. How he thought he could live that down for the rest of the film, I don’t know. 

Director James Dodson (responsible for nothing I can recommend to you) hasn’t made a terrible film with Delta Knights, but I certainly can’t claim it’s any good. With some weird Enya-like flute music mixed in with almost midi-sounding “medieval” themes, that should be your first clue that this would be better off as a spoof than what I think is trying to be a serious movie. The acting doesn’t do it any favors. Other than Warner, we have Corbin Allred (Robin Hood: Men in Tights, actually a medieval spoof) playing the young knight’s apprentice, though for some reason he looks like a girl for most of the film. Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas) makes a brief appearance as the Mannerjay. The rest of the cast is forgettable. The funny thing is that it’s not a triple whammy of bad acting/bad dialogue/bad delivery. It’s some mystery mix of badness that only really appeared in the early ‘90s. Think Xena and Hercules even more so. 

The plot was apparently ripped off of Robert Heinlein’s Citizens of the Galaxy, which I haven’t read, but it does borrow many typical fantasy tropes. The theme song is also stolen from Battle Beyond the Stars (1980). In my opinion, other than many moments of sheer boredom, Delta Knight's worst offense is its awful sort of Renaissance Faire anachronism. There are elements from medieval England, Renaissance Italy and Viking culture. A good reason for this is that it was actually filmed at a Ren Faire in California, something equally impressive and horrifying.  

If you plan to watch Quest of the Delta Knights, I recommend you do so on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. It will be less painful. “Prince? Better than being captured by Morris Day, I guess.” Otherwise, it is available online, but is still unreleased on DVD. 

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