UK Release date: 7th January 2011
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 11th December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I remember reading about this one before it came out and thinking the premise wasn’t too bad. Maybe a little predictable, but I was prepared to give it a go. Less than a year after release it comes up on TV and I should have taken that as a bit of a warning. I do like a decent sword and sorcery movie like the best of us, but I’m afraid this one is a pretty poor effort. Despite the presence of Nic Cage and Ron Pearlman and a huge budget, it just can’t hold a candle to many better examples. I will tell you more of my dismay after this brief summary.
Having fought with great distinction in the Crusades, Behmen and his friend Felson become disillusioned with the cause. The leave and head for home only to find the land plagued by a pestilence. The blame is laid on a girl who has confessed to being a witch. The pair are tasked with taking her to a remote monastery where the last surviving copy of a book of spells that can render her powerless exists. Accompanying them will be a priest, Debelzaq, a local knight, Eckhart and their guide, a swindler called Hagamar. They are later joined by a boy, Kay, who wants to prove himself and become a knight. What dangers await this band of travellers on this perilous journey? Is the girl all she claims to be? Well, I guess I can’t tell you that right now or the Spoiler Police will throw me in the stocks (again).
It’s all quite well shot with some nice CGI, nothing that hasn’t been seen before, but quite nicely done. As far as performances go, well, with a poor script (IMO) they all struggled to shine and so honourable mentions go to; Nicolas Cage as Behmen, Ron Perlman as Felson, Stephen Campbell Moore as Debelzaq, Stephen Graham as Hagamar, Ulrich Thomsen as Eckhart, Claire Foy as The Girl, Robert Sheehan as Kay and finally, it was nice to see Christopher Lee, albeit briefly, as Cardinal D'Ambroise.
Although I quite liked the premise of this one the execution was woefully wide of the mark. Firstly, to have American accents in a film set in the middle ages I find totally wrong. If you’re going to do that, set it in some fantasy land (I give you the ‘Conan’ films as an example). I have already alluded to the fact that the script was poor, well, the script and the plot both left a lot to be desired. I don’t know who they think they’re target audience is, but please give us some credit, we don’t have to be spoon-fed the entire thing! I will, however, give credit for some nice CGI, costumes, there ware a couple of decent fight scenes and an acceptable musical score. Apart from that, there wasn’t a lot to recommend this one, and so, sadly, it’s another in the ever longer list of Nic Cage films that gets deemed… NOT recommended.
My score: 5.2/10.
IMDb Score: 5.4/10 (based on 31,634 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 10/100 (based on 111 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 32/100 (based on 73,190 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Behmen: [preparing for battle] Whomever slays the most men drinks for free.
Felson: I'll take the 300 on the left, you take the 300 on the right.
Behmen: But if we divide them evenly, who will buy tonight's drinks?
Felson: Oh, you're buying, my friend.
Hagamar: [locked in a stock] Ah, visitors. What can I do for you gentlemen? Perhaps you'd like to pelt me with fruit or kick me in the groin.
Hagamar: [about the Girl] She's watching me.
Debelzaq: Put your mind on something else. She's trying to frighten you.
Hagamar: It's working.