Only now does it occur to me... um... where to begin? At the beginning, the middle, or the end? Truly they are all the same, because the beginning is the middle as well as the end, and of course there never was a beginning, middle, or end. Like a circle. Of Iron.
So... CIRCLE OF IRON is a quasi-mystical martial arts action epic (based on a story by Bruce Lee and James Coburn!) that harvests that fertile ground where "Kung Fu-Samuel Beckett" and "Bible-themed community theater" intersect. Don't believe me? Here's Eli Wallach soaking in a tub in the middle of the desert, trying to dissolve himself in oil to prove a metaphysical point:
Samuel Beckett's lesser known martial arts play, WAITING FOR G'DEATH-BLOW.
Here's Christopher Lee, offering us a flower, donning a resewn pillowcase headpiece, and instructing us about the nature of existence:
They easily could have gone with this instead of the "modified 90s Cher" look for Saruman.
Here's a wacky-wigged David Carradine (who plays–count 'em– four roles!), ready to rumble and tearing off his robe to reveal a man-bra/S&M harness made out of Treasure Trolls' jewels:
Also– he's kind of pulling it off!
Here's Roddy McDowall, possibly wearing a woman's spandex leggings as a hat, and overseeing some sort of wizard kumite:
I think now we should call him "Rowdy Roddy" McDowall.
What a day for a kumite.
And, in a possible nod to Roddy's role in the PLANET OF THE APES films, this universe also has kung fu monkey men:
Budget was an issue.
And we mustn't forget the glorious Jeff Cooper as "Cord," the seeker of knowledge, whom you would never guess was on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS and DALLAS:
In the end, it's BLOODSPORT at a monastery, equal parts drive-in trash and Zen metaphysics, the no man's land between watching EL TOPO and being trapped in conversation with your crazy uncle. And for that, CIRCLE OF IRON, I salute you.