by Kevin Taylor & r & & r & The Incredible Adventures of Marco Polo & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & ometimes a film is so bad you want to get on the horn -- pronto! -- and demand a word-for-word recounting of the pitch meeting where someone decided to bring this jovially insipid movie to life.
How can you mess up The Incredible Adventures of Marco Polo? We have an interesting, historical person who essentially walks from Venice to Beijing through a cauldron of drama and culture clash during a bold and vibrant point in history.
Someone -- or a conference call of someones at the pitch meeting -- decided the story still lacked something ... but what? With a dashing "A-ha!" we get wacky misadventures with camels and a muscle-flexing rescue of an anorexic princess from the clutches of Jack Palance, er, Beelzebub, whose evil gang is a cross between Klingons and the Knights Who Say 'Ni'!"
China? The movie never gets to China. Instead of the Silk Road, we get the Polyester Pathway.
We know Ninja Sex Slaves in the Haunted Hills ... of Mars! is a bad movie. Judging by title alone, however, Marco Polo ambushed me. I was thinking bio-pic or historical epic. It's so terrible on so many levels, that it's hard not to like it. We see Oliver Reed -- Oliver Reed! -- leading his camel caravan with a blue and white nylon rope. Warriors brandish cardboard swords painted silver. There is the evil Muslim trader who speaks, by turn, in Italian and Russian accents. The same castle in Scotland is the prison at Genoa and the fabled city of Accra. And it's all unabashedly in the foreground as Don Diamont, a beefcake model who "proves he's more than just a pretty face," keeps asking other characters if they have seen his father. As if Marco Polo needed inner conflict to go to China.
The DVD has almost no special features such as deleted scenes. All the bad ones are in the movie already. There are bios for Reed, Palance, Cas Anvar -- good actors all -- yet we are offered no clue about why they signed on. It couldn't have been the money. We need to get them on the horn. Now!