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Tower of the Firstborn
What looks like just another cable-ready adventure flick starring Ben Cross, Peter Weller, and Ione Skye is actually a three-hour Italian mini-series that's as dry and arid as the massive desert in which it takes place. Putting aside the extraneous moments, the outrageous voice dubbing, and the endless redundant storyline ... the thing's still a massive and silly mess from start to finish.
Here's sort of a recap: Weller and Cross are estranged brothers who comb the Arabian desert searching for two pieces of an ancient pendant. The pendant leads, I think, to a golden tablet, which in turns leads, I think, to a goofy idol which (I'm pretty sure) leads to the mysterious Tower of the Firstborn -- and what resides inside the tower is anyone's guess. Suffice to say it's all powerful and biblical.
Clocking in at over three hours in length, the movie delivers a tale that could have been streamlined into an 80-minute time-waster, but making this movie shorter probably wouldn't make it any better. Cross raves through the desert as some sort of invincible weirdo, Weller vanishes for huge chunks of the running time, and poor Ione Skye is left to shoulder the whole rambling production. Borrowing a few pages from the Mummy movies, Tower also boasts a few supporting characters like Comic Relief Brit (Guy Lankester) and Mysterious Arab Prince (Marco Binini), neither of whom venture beyond their basic stereotype trappings.
If you're in the market for a three-hour wander through the desert, from outpost to oasis and everywhere in between, stopping only to point a some dry old relics and spout a bunch of treasure hunt nonsense, then hey, you'll probably adore Tower of the Firstborn. Personally, it took me four attempts before I could watch the whole thing without falling asleep.
Video: A passable full-screen transfer. Better than TBS quality, I suppose.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 with optional subtitles in English and Spanish.
Extras: Just some trailers.
Corny, campy and endlessly familiar.