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November 05, 2003

Ming the Merciless

The supreme Emperor of the planet Mongo, Ming the Merciless (Max Von Sydow), controls through fear and terror. He amuses himself by destroying other planets in the solar system. Back home, he uses his secret police force to find those who oppose him and destroys anyone in his way. So, it is with a bit of a chuckle that the mighty Ming is brought down by a fair-haired goofy quarterback named Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones).

Kidnapped along with travel agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) by the brilliant but misunderstood Dr. Zarkov (Topol), Flash finds himself on this strange planet being run by a psycho with plans to destroy Earth. Well that just won't do for Flash, but before he can call any trick plays, Flash is executed. Short movie, huh? Well, Ming's impestuous daughter, Princess Aura, revives Flash and hides him Arboria with one of her lovers, Prince Barin. Flash realizes that all the different races - the Tree People, the Hawkmen, et al. - could defeat Ming if they only put away their differences and worked together. Ming has kept all of the groups fighting each other for so long and their distrust is so great that it seems impossible. Flash tries to convince Barin to team up with the Hawk Men... and then they're captured by the Hawkmen.

Meanwhile, Ming realizes that Dale Arden is a hottie and decides to make her his Empress of the Week. Those Earthling girls are tough nuts to crack though and she finds a way to escape with Zarkov before getting caught by the Hawkmen. Their leader, Prince Vultan, is a fun-loving blowhard, but like Barin, he has no interest in fighting Ming or teaming up with Barin and the Tree People. Flash is able to win over Barin and Vultan, but is it too late for Earth?

Ming smells treachery and discovers Flash Gordon is still alive. Undoubtedly, this was the work of his daughter and he approves her torture to locate Gordon. Soon enough, he recaptures Dale Arden and sets the wedding plans back into motion, leaving Gordon marooned in the soon-to-be-destroyed Hawkmen palace. As it explodes, Flash escapes and leads the Hawkmen into battle. Back on Mongo, Ming is about to say "I do" when one of his own ships, piloted by Flash, bursts through the side of his palace and impales the Emperor through the chest. So not only has Flash ruined Ming's plans for destroying Earth and getting married, but his daughter has turned on him and now he's dead. The only hope for Ming now is that someone will put on that ring of his, and perhaps the Merciless One will return.

INTELLIGENCE - 7: The Emperor is cold and calcuating, and like his name says, merciless.

POWER - 7: Ming is quite mortal, but his powerful ring and legions of troops protect him at all times.

VILENESS - 9: He destroys planets for his amusement, approves of his daughter's torture, and has his way with unwilling concubines.

SWAY - 5: Ming doesn't intimidate nearly as much as his right hand man, Klytus.

PURITY - 9: Ming has but one weakness: women. But each one only seems to last for a week.

PHYSICAL - 7: His elaborate regalia is not nearly as frightening as his eyebrows.


Posted by Destro at November 5, 2003 09:43 AM