The Roman Empire, circa 300 AD: Consul Caio (Massimo Serato, billed as
Johnny Barracuda in this one) conspires with the Germans to attack the
province of consul Valerio (Alberto Farnese) to ... well, to tell you the
truth, I have no idea, he just does so because he's an evil bastard I
Thus Caio sends his best soldier Marzio (Brad Harris) along
with his two sidekicks Claudio (Paolo Rosani) and the Fox (Raf
Baldassarre) to Caio's province undercover to find out what's going on.
Marzio soon learns several things, including facts about the planned
all-out attack on Marzio's army and the fact that Caio killed Marzio's
father ... but Caio has long grown wise to Marzio and lured him into a
trap, arresting him for killing Manlio (Attilio Dottesio), the father of
his own sweetheart Lizia (Maria Pia Conte), whom Caio secretly lusts for.
is to be torn apart by horses, but since he survives that ordeal, he is
granted his freedom (again, I'm not really sure why) but treated to a
sound beating by Caio's men. Ultimately though, Marzio makes it back to
Valerio's province just in time for the Germans' attack, and with superior
cunning, he is able to defeat both the Germans and Caio's army, is allowed
to kill Caio himself, and is granted Valerio's post as consul after
Valerio has died on the battlefield.
In 1971, the peplum as a genre has been dead for more than half a
decade, and this film has done little to revive it - pretty much because
this film was just too cheap for its own good: The sets are minimal (e.g.
there are no exteriors of historical buildings at all, the arena used in
the film is pitiful, the Roman fort used every now and again looks less
than impressive, ...), the number of extras is kept surprisingly low even
in epic battlescenes, and as a whole, the film lacks any
cost-intensive setpieces ... and because of all this, the movie failed to
leave a lasting impression with its audience.
Having said that, Three
Giants of the Roman Empire is not an all-bad film - of course,
everything said above is true, plus the actors and actresses are not
exactly from the (Italian) A-list, but one cannot help noticing that the
film keeps its tongue firmly in cheek and several quirky moments not
expected in a film like this - like the heroes having a burping contest
after an extensive sequence showing them eating roast duck or five Roman
soldiers unwittingly pissing on Raf Baldassarre - make this one fun to
watch after all.
So don't expect anything big, accept or even embrace
the film's shortcomings, and you might even come to like Three Giants
of the Roman Empire.