Never Mess With Family – Avenger of the Seven Seas (1962)

If looking for a movie about pirates and revenge, one can do little better than the Italian feature, Il giustiziere dei mari or Avenger of the Seven Seas. Taking the lead would be Richard Harrison, no stranger to Italian cinema or peplum films of the time and here he would play a man named David Robinson, navy officer and loyal subject – at least until he is pushed too far. Seeing your father and brother abused before you is more than the man can take and soon he rebels. Captain Redway is not a forgiving man though, and after the father is killed and the brother kidnapped, Robinson must go to extremes to get his revenge. Teaming up with pirates is just the beginning which soon leads to action upon the high seas, torture, man-eating plants and more. Eventually the two men meet in battle and only one of them is going to walk away.

What is most surprising about this film is that it seemed to have a hefty budget and as such, there was no expense seemingly spared to make things look as good as possible. The battle between the ships looked especially impressive, exciting and filled with everything one could want to see when the navy takes on a gang of pirates. In direct contrast to that, there had to be a little bit of cheese present and it reared its head towards the last act of the movie in the form of plants with a taste for human flesh. They were not particularly terrible as it was, but up until this point in the film, it had gone unscathed by what some might deem the fantastic. That aside, there were quite a few fights to be had between the various parties in the picture and there was more blood than one would expect in a film of this vintage.

Through it all, Harrison shined; standing above all that revolved around him and opposite him as the antagonist would be Roldano Lupi as the villainous Captain Redway whose greed would know no bounds. Lupi was almost as bad as Harrison was good and the two were perfectly suited as the leads of the film. What was interesting to see was the fact that at times, Redway seemed to have a conscience, though it would not last for very long as his desire for the pearls that started the entire mess would overtake any sense or semblance of sanity he might experience. Also starring would be Michele Mercier as the love interest, Walter Barnes as the pirate leader and Marisa Belli as the conniving local who betrayed all she knew in the hopes that Redway would keep a promise to make her his wife once back home. The problem with villains is that they rarely keep their promises and Belli’s character would learn that with finality.

Ultimately, the movie is a good one. It is packed with action from start to finish featuring some amazing sights, and considering it started with Robinson angry over the treatment of his family and ending with the overthrow of his captain, the destruction of some ships and more than a few deaths, one cannot say the movie was not wholly entertaining. A nice twist on the final battle between hero and villain was seeing them have a spear fight instead of the conventional kind with swords, a strange choice to be sure, but one that ended up being quite exciting. Definitely a fun picture, Avenger of the Seven Seas is not to be missed.

4 out of 5

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