Retro Review: Yor, the Hunter from the Future
Our last film salute to the great (and not so great) caveman genre concludes with Yor, the Hunter from the Future.
We’ve looked at prehistoric cavemen, modern day cavemen, and now we’re going to wrap up with a caveman from the far, far future. Lucky you. Follow us one last time into the land of the lost, as we wrap up caveman month in style.
Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983)
Yor is a blond haired, blue eyed hunter who lives alone on a mountain. One day, while out doing Yor stuff, he sees a beautiful woman and her elderly protector about to become dinosaur food. Yor leaps in and smashes the mixed up triceratops/stegosaurus hybrid in the face with his Yor axe (an enchanted weapon, as no matter how many times we see him drop it, he magically has it again in the next scene.)
The woman, Kala, and the geezer, Pag, invite Yor to join their tribe. At the feast, the village elder tells Yor that his medallion is similar to one worn by a reclusive goddess who lives in the wasteland with a tribe of mutated fire-worshipers. The three friends resolve to go there, but are interrupted by a group of blue skinned cavemen who attack the feast, kill the men, and run of with the women.
Yor and Pag regroup and head off to get Kala back so they can discover more about Yor’s strange medallion, and his heroic destiny (which mostly involves bringing death and destruction to everyone he meets.)
Yor the Best!
Yor is like The Beastmaster, without the benefit of Marc Singer’s abs and Don Coscarelli’s flair for gonzo monster movies. Reb Brown does an able rendition of an 80’s fantasy hero, with his long golden locks, ability to do mildly entertaining high kicks, and overabundance of enthusiasm. I kind of wonder if Sam Jones (Flash Gordon,) Marc Singer (The Beastmaster,) Dolph Lundgren (Masters of the Universe) and Reb Brown ever grab a beer together and reminisce about their glory days. I would pay to see that.
The animatronic dinosaurs are pretty good for a foreign B-Movie flick. Sure, the baby stego-ceratops looks like somebody put horns on a pissed off possum, but the mama dino certainly looks fearsome enough. The different tribes who Yor brings unintended destruction to are all distinct and well-realized. When the movie makes the jump from Fantasy to Sci-Fi, the laser blasts and robots look decent as well…
…wait…robots and lasers? What the hell kinda movie are they making here!?
Yor the Worst!
The director of this film seems to have been unable to decide if he’d rather be cribbing notes from Flash Gordon (1980) or The Beastmaster (1982) so he said to hell with it, we’ll do them both. Yor discovers his amulet is the mark of citizenry for an advanced enclave of fair-haired people who control some serious technology, and that he was exiled from this race as a boy in order to save his life.
Turns out an evil Overlord (named Overlord, for simplicity’s sake) has taken control of the island of Swedish descendants and created an army of killer androids to enslave them all. You see, this isn’t the ancient past, and apparently the title of the film wasn’t screwing with us: a nuclear war reduced men and beasts back to their default factory settings, with only a scant few still possessing any technology. This pisses Yor off, who sets out to magic axe Overlord, and free his people.
What was a decently respectable caveman movie gets all hopped up on Star Wars, with red and green lasers flying left and right. Despite not knowing much more than how to swing his axe (always blunt side first, cause stuntmen are people too!) Yor is able to fire a blaster with deadly precision on his first try. Add in some ludicrous acrobatics, logic defying forbearance on the part of the murderous warlord, and one hell of a lucky spear throw at a moving elevator, and you get a second act that checks its credibility at the door and decides to go full throttle insanity till the conclusion!
Yor manages to find the sweet spot of so-bad-its-kinda-good. Sure, the sudden switch in genre is baffling, but the films makes up for the silliness by adding a metric-ton of action into the last half-hour. The acting is passable, though Overlord tries to chew way too much scenery. You’re not Max Von Sydow, buddy, calm it down a notch! If you want a B-Movie cult classic that manages to mix dinosaurs, loincloths, and death rays, Yor has got you covered. Now if only it came complete with a bitching 80’s hair metal theme, specially made for the movie…
Oh…I see. You’ve got that covered too! Well done, Yor!