“The Serpent of Death”, also known as “Out of Time”, is an archaeological thriller, filmed in Greece and Egypt in 1989.
The US video premiere was 6 December 1990, and it was released under various titles in West Germany, Portugal, Egypt, Greece, and Finland.
The role of Xaros gave Michael Gothard another opportunity to travel to exotic places, but he must have been less than delighted to be playing yet another hit-man, especially one with so few redeeming qualities.Plot
Jake Bonner (Jeff Fahey), the supposed hero of the film, is an unscrupulous archaeology student, who thinks nothing of damaging historical sites and relics. He finds a sculpted head of Alexander at the bottom of the sea, breaks it open, just to see what’s inside, and finds a small carved snake, which he believes is a clue that will lead him to a hidden and forgotten hoard of Alexander’s treasure.
Omar (Gamil Ratib), a dealer in antiquities, for whom Jake does occasional identification work, hears about this, and decides to get the treasure for himself, with the help of cold-blooded hired killer, Xaros (Michael Gothard).
Xaros mistakenly kills Jake’s friend and colleague, Donald, strangling him with a string of beads – his trademark method of killing. When Omar expresses surprise at seeing Jake alive, when he thought he was dead, Xaros, unphased, simply says ‘Someone is.’
Omar and Xaros pursue Jake, and a girl he has recently met, Rene (Camilla More), from Greece, to, and across, Egypt.
Xaros kills a number of people who get in their way, including the henchmen of millionaire Stavros, who is also interested in Alexander’s legacy. Xaros even threatens a little girl who happens to live with one of Rene’s friends, to get information.
Xaros kills an old expert to whom Jake has taken his carved snakes for examination, and his assistant, but the clues Xaros brings back to Omar are fakes. Omar is annoyed, but Xaros just shrugs, and says he isn’t in the resurrection business.
Eventually Omar and Xaros catch Rene on her own, steal the genuine relics from her, and set off after the treasure; this time with Jake and Rene in pursuit.
Thinking to find the treasure himself now he has the clues, Xaros leaves his employer, Omar, dying on the road.
Jake and Rene find Xaros’ car crashed into some abandoned World War II tanks. He seems to be dead. They wait until dawn before going to check, but Xaros has more patience, and Jake falls into his trap, and loses a fight with him.
Xaros thanks Jake for supplying him with both a vehicle, and a woman. But while Xaros is trying to rape Rene, she throws a snake – left in a bag the back of the truck by her zoologist friend – into his face, and he is fatally bitten.
With three minutes to live, Xaros shoots out their tyres, but – while still trying to kill them – steps on a landmine, and is blown up.
This may be the most ridiculous death any of Michael’s characters has suffered.
All the killing is pointless in the end, because Nikos, the disaffected son of the millionaire Stavros, kills himself and consigns both his own body, and the treasure, to the sea.Review in TV Guide( Read more... )
Watch extracts, including Michael Gothard’s scenes as Xaros
on Youtube.IMDB entry