I can remember Flash Gordon the intergalactic hero. Apparently, he is nothing like the Flash from The Super Friends. (I used to think they were one and the same.) Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) is a football star, who was sent off into space along with Dale Arden (Melody Anderson), a lovely travel agent, and scientist Dr. Zarkov (Topol). They all wind up on the distant planet Mongo, which is ruled by the wicked tyrant Emperor Ming the merciless (Max Von Sydow), only to get captured among other beings.
While defending Dale, there’s an exciting fight scene when Flash takes on a group of guards like a football player would. I always thought football was a rough sport, but here is where the roughness really pays off.
After that fiasco, Flash gets recaptured and executed. Shortly after, Ming’s daughter Princess Aura (Ornella Muti) brings him back from the dead and leads him to safety. I had a feeling that Flash couldn’t have been killed that easily, especially this early in the movie.
Princess Aura likes to use seduction to get men to do what she wants. She even uses that method on Flash while trying to help him, but Flash’s heart is devoted to Dale. Whose side is Aura on anyway?
Soon, Flash and Aura fly to Aboria to find help from Prince Barin (Timothy Dalton, who is also well known as James Bond). Aboria is a swamp world with large trees, dangerous creatures, and unusual method of initiation for manhood. Barin refuses to help Flash and captures him. I don’t see how Flash’s football skills are going to get him out of this peril.
Dale shows some fighting skills while trying to escape from Ming’s palace when she takes out several armed guards and still remembers to bring her shoes.
The hawk men led by Prince Vultan (Brian Blessed) capture both Flash and Barin and bring them to their kingdom, along with Dale and Zarkov. Now Flash and Barin have to duel in combat for their lives. “This place is a lunatic asylum.”
The duel is on a circular platform over a pit and Flash and Barin fight with whips. It becomes even more intense when Vultan uses a remote control to make the platform tilt in random directions and add raising spikes to the battle.
Flash’s act of chivalry wins over Barin and the hawk men. Now they all team up to battle Ming. Even Aura joins them, but not until after Dale fights with her. The other slave girls do nothing because they enjoy watching a good cat fight.
This was a pretty good film overall. What I remember best was the title sequence, which shows comic book images and music performed by Queen. “Flash! Ah-ah!” That’s such a catchy tune.