Rye has just released the “Directors Cut” of Avalon. If you never saw the original, should you buy now? If you purchased the original, is the new version worth your time and money? We hope to answer both of those questions with the following review.
First, let’s start with a full-blown review that may help any newbies decide if this film is for them.
Sometime in the past, the superheroine Avalon gravely injured Elise, the wife of the villain, Dr. Creighton Spawn. Spawn wants revenge and part of his plan is to reveal Avalon’s secret identity to the world.
This version of the film actually builds a lot more quickly than the first cut. It also introduces plot points that are still a major part of The Battle For Earth storyline, namely Spawn’s serum. For the uninitiated, Spawn’s serum has empowered many of the villains that have appeared in TBFE episodes. The serum endows users with super human strength and with repeated use, various other powers.
Avalon defeats a henchman, but not before he places a tracker that allows Spawn to deduce Avalon’s secret identity. Spawn sends his cybernetically enhanced wife Elise a.k.a. Syren, and later on, two henchmen to Avalon’s home, and they deliver a pretty good beating to the heroine. Elements in these two fights that people may find enjoyable include: a bearhug, a low blow, a backbreaker and several stomach punches. In spite of the beating, Avalon prevails in both fights, but is captured by Spawn himself.
Avalon awakens, chained up in a dungeon. She is unable to break her bonds and Spawn informs Avalon that he has taken away her powers. Instead of killing her, he lets her go back out into the world without her special abilities to protect her. She receives a horrible beating from two ordinary criminals and returns home to look for answers.
Through meditation, she flashes back and learns that her powers were not actually taken, they were just being suppressed. With her powers back and at full strength, she speeds off to Spawn’s lair where she is confronted by Elise for a second time.
Avalon goes on the offensive against Elise, but her efforts are entirely ineffective. Elise has been upgraded by Spawn, and she basically ignores Avalon’s best punches and energy-based attacks. Avalon takes yet another beating in a scene that includes a reverse bearhug, stomach punches, Avalon’s costume getting damaged, and Elise lifting Avalon off the ground by both her hair and her costume. Backed in a corner and with Elise about to deliver the finishing blow, Avalon finds a way to defeat the cyborg. Enraged, Spawn rushes Avalon and we are left with a cliffhanger that still exists today because we have not seen the character of Avalon since.
Avalon is a very good superheroine film. It has an almost perfect action/story/peril mix that not many other producers have been able to duplicate. I felt this was the first effort by an American producer that had a real “wow “ factor. In my mind it had three big things going for it.
1. A producer and director that really knew what their audience wanted.
2. A storyline that felt bigger than just about all superheroine movies that came before it.
3. A ridiculously good looking lead actress who just so happens to be one of the best female martial artists in the world.
Bottom line, if you are a new to this genre, Avalon is a really good jumping on point.
Now, what if you have seen Avalon? Is it worth paying for again? In my mind, yes. Technically speaking, it’s just a better film. A lot of the filler has been cut, and the action scenes come very quickly. The special effects have been vastly upgraded. The music and sound effects are all superior to the original version. The fight scenes are longer, better fleshed out, and contain various camera angles that weren’t in the original. And there’s more peril. Just all around a better film.
Most importantly, you get more of Amy Johnston, the actress who plays Avalon. She is beautiful, but most of the girls in these movies are. It’s just that she is better suited to play the role of a superheroine than any of the other girls I have ever seen. She is just physically capable of doing things other girls aren’t able to do. Hopefully, Rye or The Battle for Earth can cast her again. She is a huge fan favorite.