A gun-brandishing, rogue detective, Saunders (John Brumpton), interrupts Theo’s (Arthur Angel) tryst with a prostitute, threatening to kill him unless he agrees to turn prosecution witness in a high-profile case against underworld crime boss, Armande Poroni (Henry Maas). Just as his minders are killed by uniformed cops, Theo escapes and finds his way to his cousin Ajax (Stan Longinidis), himself a former cop who was framed. Poroni’s henchmen, led by the crazed punisher Zork (Mark Jackson) as well as breakaway bounty hunters, close in on Theo and Ajax as they try to keep one step ahead of the thugs and make contact with Saunders. The chase continues as the moment approaches when Theo will present his damning testimony in court.
Review by Paul Kalina:
By the measure of its credit roll, Trojan Warrior is a big film; unfortunately, by any other standard it is a minor albeit cheerily-made low-budget action/exploitation film, which predictably will happily end up on a video library shelf alongside other locally made genre pieces (such as Redball and Under the Gun) and be discussed in articles and forums on the cult and industry of maverick ‘underground’ films.
Cast mostly with non-professional actors and sprinkled with promotion-worthy celebrity cameos (Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, Jim Keays, Wilbur Wilde, Dermott Brereton, to name but a few), Trojan Warrior uses the unfolding chase as a device to link a series of tableaux of the multicultural suburban underworld (think Newtown’s King Street, or Sydney Road in Melbourne) — brothels favoured by judges, S & M parties, strip clubs, kebab joints and Asian grocery shops where chicken heads double for choking socks, and so on. These forays are a hanger for the film’s modest and predictable set-pieces, including a handful of martial arts fight sequences for which Longinides, the winner of eight World Heavyweight Kickboxing titles, is famous. The screenplay, by Headley Gritter — long-time host of a popular talkback radio show and whose interest in rockstars, sporting heroes, lawyers, hookers, etc, is well reflected in the film’s characters — loses its way in a knot of subplots and diversions, while never forgetting its sense of mischievous humour and the opportunity of the occasional and well-placed joke.
The episodic structure and often crude performances make Trojan Warrior’s dramatic shifts, as it moves from the cornball brotherly bonding of clean-cut Ajax and horny Theo, to the mock-serious depictions of Mafioso, Triads and the cops in their pockets, far from smooth. Many sections of Trojan Warrior are lead-footed and colourless (the film virtually stops dead in its tracks for a redundant scene between Poroni and the ‘Godfather’), and for all its implied strikes for corruption, revenge and justice-for-all, Trojan Warrior ends up playing a sly game of its own — witnessed most clearly in its cruel and callous depictions of women.
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TROJAN WARRIOR (M)
CAST: Stan Longinidis, Arthur Angel, John Brumpton, Mark 'Jacko' Jackson, Roland Dantes, Mark Brandon Read
PRODUCER: Murray Sestak, David Teitelbaum
DIRECTOR: Salik Silverstein
SCRIPT: Headley Gritter
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Hosking
EDITOR: Brett Southwick
MUSIC: Brian Lang
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Graham Blackmore
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Triple Three Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 8, 2002 (Melbourne); September tba (Sydney);