If you are accustomed to modern, sophisticated special effects, then this movie will seem lame. However, if you remember the old Flash Gordon serials, then they will be familiar. That serial was well known for having some of the cheapest special effects and poor acting. The makers of this movie seem to have kept to that style, the effects are pretty weak and the acting is at times hollow. Some of the dialog and action is so cheesy that it had to have been by design. The most conclusive point in support of this is when Flash is fighting with Ming's guards in the palace. In the movie, he is a quarterback in professional football, so he is throwing football-like objects at them and getting down in a three-point football stance. On the "sidelines", Dale Arden is playing the cheerleader, moving back and forth shouting, "Go Flash Go!" Sam J. Jones plays a Flash so naïve and simple-minded that you can almost predict his dialog. Brian Blessed plays the hedonistic Hawkman king and he is grinning through the whole movie. Timothy Dalton is the Aborean prince Barin, and while his dialog is a little better than everyone else's is, it still drips with Mozzarella. Max von Sydow is Ming the Merciless, and he seems to relish his role as a man devoid of any good quality. Ornelli Muti is extremely hot as Ming's daughter Princess Aura. Of course, in the end, Flash saves the Earth at the last moment, kills Ming and Barin is installed as the King of Mongo. This movie is an attempt to remake the adventure serials of an earlier time, although the producers tried to maintain the style and avoid a complete modernization. If you view it through the lens of modern filmmaking, then you will consider it cheap. However, if you see it in the spirit of the original Flash Gordon serials, then you will enjoy it. I did the latter and I loved it. The soundtrack by Queen is also a high point of the movie.
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Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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When the totalitarian planet of Mongo decides on a whim to obliterate Earth, it's up to the lunk-headed quarterback Flash Gordon and his oddball companions to make the universe safe for democracy. Based on the classic (and infinitely more reputable) comic strip and its '30s screen serialization, this cotton-candy-colored trash classic deserves immortality for Queen's unforgettably pulsating soundtrack alone. The legendary Max von Sydow appears to be having a blast as the evil Ming the Merciless, while Ornella Muti, as his daughter, is the living embodiment of what attracts adolescent boys to comics in the first place. (She makes Barbarella look mundane.) One of the most shamelessly entertaining movies ever made, this is a knowingly absurd sensory freak-out that'll have the viewer blissfully checking the sky afterward for signs of Hawkmen.--Andrew Wright