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Anodyne woman - Xena Warrior Princess
Sydney Morning Herald

14 September 1998

Scanned/Transcribed by MaryD


ALL Gaul is divided into three parts" - the opening sentence of Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico describing his campaign to conquer France has been languishing in my noggin for 25 years, hammered there by a forceful Latin teacher who assured me that it would come in handy one day.

At last, then, a use for it as Xena comes up against Caesar and the other two leaseholders, fighting to free an imprisoned Gallic warrior called Victorinox, or Magimix, or somesuch. The action starts in Gaul, moves swiftly to Syria, and then on to Rome and the obligatory gladiators and colosseums. That Xena sure gets around.

It's the usual hokum, full of well-choreographed battles on the sort of styrofoam sets that the original Star Trek used for beaming down to The Planet, and the boring members of Captain Kirk's Away Team were inevitably blown away. We know what's going to happen, we know Xena's going to escape scot-free and we know Gabrielle is going to whinge and stuff things up -the only mystery is how Lucy Lawless manages to make a woman in a short leather skirt, thigh-high boots and cleavage-revealing bodice so anodyne. It's a feat not equalled since Linda Carter spun around our screens as Wonder Woman.

That said, I like it. Xena sneers and bashes her way to inevitable victory while her offsider (Renee O'Connor) is the Greek chorus, generally hanging about on the sidelines and dribbling on about good and evil. Again this brings to mind Star Trek and the weekly wrestling with moral complexities that assailed the Enterprise crew. Which makes Xena Captain Kirk and Gabrielle Dr McCoy.

There's also a touch of the technocolour about it this week, with lashings of colourful togas. Even Xena gets kitted out in a floaty red chiffon thing.

Pompey is portrayed as a very gay blade, indeed, in a rather fetching red-and-gold mini, while the lesbian undertones are given another nudge when Xena and Gabrielle declare their love for each other as they sail off into the sunset.

Keith Austin


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