A thousand years ago, in England, the crazy monk Elmer wears a pair of wings and tries to fly from a high tower. He dies, and his soul is doomed to the eternity in hell for committing ... See full summary »
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This film wants to be a tongue-in-cheek campfest, like a cross between "Trancers", "Army of Darkness", and, yes, some or other comic book story -- Captain America as likely as any other. Which is not such a bad idea -- it's not terribly original, but it could have been very watchable.
Unfortunately, the campiness just comes across as narrative incompetence, and pretty much everything else goes horribly wrong as well. The dialogue ranges from unbelievably awkward to wincingly bad, with tired cliches and bizarre garblings standing in for witty one-liners. The actors often seem to have been filmed at different times, even during short scenes -- there's no natural back-and-forth. And there's a ridiculous overuse of close-ups, making it impossible more than half the time to get any sense of location.
So you start off with a comedy that isn't funny. Since the film's horror elements (such as they are) are played for laughs, there's no horror, either, and that pretty much leaves us with action as a possible source of entertainment. Sadly, the action is god-awful. The stunts and fighting are extremely amateurish and unconvincing, including sword 'fights' where opponents stand too far apart to possibly hit each other and only aim for each other's swords. With slow, awkward swings.
What's more, the camera work and editing conspire to make the action look even worse, with lots of fake undercranking (the action is sped up in a cartoonish fashion) and a complete lack of even simulated master shots. This makes the fighting look staged, which is exactly what the camera work is supposed to *avoid*.
The special effects are low-budget, which can be forgiven, but they really *look* low-budget. The most impressive effects I noticed were white contact lenses used on some of the zombies. Most of the effects, and a lot of the costumes, look like they were cooked up in someone's garage and rushed into production before they were ready.
Other reviewers are right on the mark when they describe Rob Bogue's performance, here, as looking like an attempted Bruce Campbell impersonation. It sure seems that way . . . especially when you consider the cleverest bit of writing in the film, a casually dropped "S-Mart" reference . . . but it's a misfire. I haven't seen any of Bogue's other work, but he's probably better when not trapped inside this character, because it just doesn't work for him.
Of course, that awful dialogue doesn't help, and the title character has far, *far* more dialogue than a film this long could possibly require, even if it had a better plot. Despite a story that takes about ten seconds to describe (WWII superhero awakens from hibernation to continue battling arch-nemesis and his smallish army of half-assed monsters), the movie is heavily belabored with unnecessary exposition, flashbacks, and voice-overs, ad nauseam. None of this seems even vaguely necessary; it just litters the film like the script was dipped in a vat of I Can't Shut Up.
In all fairness, there was some passable work by the supporting cast, including Karen Elkin, as a waitress, and Jay Baruchel, in a thankless and fairly annoying sidekick role he seems to have been born to play. (If you want to break out of that typecasting, Jay, you'd better start soon.)
But, in the end, this is a movie that misfires on all cylinders.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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