(Welcome to the NSS: Netflix Streaming Safari, a trip into the bowels of Netflix’s Watch Instantly streaming movies library. On this journey you will see things that will shock you. Things that will please you. And things that will haunt you forever.)
If you were a middle-aged man who was sexually obsessed with the bodies of the football team back when you all shared a shower in gym class, and then they pantsed you in front of the entire school and you wanted revenge — but sexy revenge — LEGION OF IRON is exactly the kind of movie you’d grow up to make.
Billy is a high school football quarterback who just won the big game and is about to bang the head cheerleader. Unfortunately for him, a gang of wiry middle-aged men are scouring the country looking for football talent whom they abduct and take to the Legion of Iron, an underground sword and sandal kind of arena where captured, half-naked football heroes are forced to engage in gladiatorial combat for the pleasure of the sadistic Queen Diana who does not go anywhere without spending at least five hours on her hair. There, virginal Billy is forced to try to battle the over-sexed, manly Rex, while Allison, his girlfriend, is brainwashed by a gangbang and turned into a harem girl with silver lipstick and eye shadow.
Rarely have I been more convinced that a movie’s original source material was amateur BDSM erotica from an online message board circa 1999. In the same way that re-reading Chris Claremont’s run on the X-Men as an adult reveals all the kinky leather & lace dominance and submission lurking just below the surface, LEGION OF IRON seems to be all about deferred sexual urges. Apparently, making this movie got the poison out of director Yakov Bentsvi’s system because he went on to direct just two more movies and neither featured men fighting men for the pleasure of a woman inside a drained swimming pool.
Having sex will change you into an underground-dwelling nymphomaniac, killing is the key that provides access to sex, chastity is purity, and everyone winds up on their knees in front of the Queen — these are the lessons of LEGION OF IRON when it’s not engaged in some surprisingly sadistic, but not-very-gory, death. The half-naked, oiled men in the ring rely on half-speed sword-swinging that looks to be about as wild as ribbon dancing, but backstage people take bullets in the head, kicks to the nuts, and get shards of wood stabbed through their eyes. The cast are mostly racial and sexual stereotypes played by actors who may or may not have just taken a lot of pills, forming a rainbow of gay rapists, kung fu Asians, Hispanic gang members, and sleazy Arab sheiks.
Everything ends with an epic fight between a crazed underground sex queen in an ultralight wielding a machine gun and two half-naked slaves driving a truck, and if that’s how you wished more movies ended then this one’s for you. From the Alabama kid recently abducted and dragged into a bunker, to all the weird Viennese parents who’ve kept their children in secret underground rooms, to Patty Hearst going “underground” with the SLA, to stolen children being dragged off to underground kingdoms by ambiguously sexual goblin kings (see: Labyrinth), people being kidnapped and hidden in in secret underground kingdoms has a long tradition in our culture. LEGION OF IRON is a proud addition to this literature of kinky, subterranean fiction. (Watch it now!)