Steve Carver's "The Arena" aka. "Naked Warriors" of 1974 is a highly entertaining piece of 70s exploitation that should not be missed by a B-movie fan. Produced by the almighty Roger Corman, co-directed by the king of exploitation himself, Joe D'Amato, and starring the sexiest duo of 70s cult heroines, the wonderful Pam Grier and Margaret Markov, this is pure Grindhouse cinema for lovers, and should not leave anybody bored. Abducted from their homelands and enslaved by Romans, two young women, the Nubian Mamawi (Pam Grier) and Bodicia (Margaret Markov) from the Brittany, are, along with other female slaves purchased by the Roman owner of an arena, where they are to do domestic work and serve as mistresses/sex slaves to the gladiators. After a fight at the dinner table, however, one of their unscrupulous slaveholders suggests to have the women fight for their lives in the arena, in order to offer something fresh to the blood-thirsty audiences... Both stunningly beautiful, charismatic, sexy and cool, Pam Grier and Margaret Markov are a true dream team in exploitation cinema (something they already proved in "Black Mama, White Mama" of 1972). Apart from Grier and Markov, the cast furthermore contains Lucretia Love ("Battle Of The Amazons", "The Sexorcist") and Rosalba Neri ("Lady Frankenstein", "Johnny Yuma"). Another cool role is that of Paul Mueller, a huge, ugly and bald Tor Johnson-lookalike, who plays an invincible gladiator. I personally also found the score pretty cool, although it is certainly not too original. The sleaze and violence are not quite as extreme as in many other exploitation flicks of the kind, but there's enough of both to entertain. Being a fan of exploitation flicks (or not) is a matter of taste, of course, and "The Arena" may therefore not be everybody's type of film. I personally love this kind of films however, and I therefore recommend this to all my fellow exploitation-enthusiasts. Especially Pam-Grier fans should give it a try!
Action / Adventure
Action / Adventure
In ancient Rome audiences have grown tired of viewing gladiators fight to the death. Something new is needed--women. (Josiah Howard, "Blaxploitation cinema: The Essential Reference Guide.")
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November 2, 2019