Flesh & Blood [1985]

A rarely screened cult favorite from Paul Verhoeven, this story of medieval war and revenge should please action fans and admirers of the director and his semi-regular leading man, Rutger Hauer, but its graphic scenes of sexual violence earmark it for mature viewers only. Hauer stars as a 16th-century mercenary hired by a Western European ruler (Fernando Hilbeck) to assault a neighboring kingdom; when the king reneges on his promises to Hauer and his men, they kidnap his son's fiancee (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and hole up in a nearby castle. Hauer and Leigh are standouts in a strong cast that includes Tom Burlinson, Bruno Kirby, the late Brion James, and Susan Tyrrell; Verhoeven's realistic approach to the down-and-dirty facts of medieval life and the bloody aftermath of warfare offers a refreshing alternative to most Hollywood period films, but a pair of brutal rape scenes may be too much for some audiences. MGM's DVD is widescreen. --Paul Gaita

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