In the Seventeenth Century, while Hungary is fighting the Turks, the population of a small village in the Carpathian Mountains faces the evil Countess Elizabeth Bathory, accused of drinking... See full summary »
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A 16th century Spanish town is plagued by some mysterious murders involving important town figures and when the sheriff Ruy de Mendoza starts his investigation on the mutilated bodies, he learns that no one else seems to want to help him out, as there's a cover up, which leaves him all in the dark. As the deaths grow, Ruy goes on to learns more. The web of deceit grows larger and secrets are being revealed. In his path is a mercenary group, which Ruy is trying to figure out who's the man behind it all and his intrusion could cost the lives of those his loves.
Christopher Lambert as an actor hasn't done anything that has really grabbed my attention, other then the sci-fi flick "Fortress". His most well-known involvement in "The Highlander" series, did nothing for me. Anyhow I decided to take a chance on this medieval B-film and was pleasantly surprised with the overall effort, even though some frustrating strokes cropped up.
Enchantingly sharp-etched period back-sets, props and costumes have a rich awe to them, despite the cheap origins. The premise holds up remarkably well with a broodingly elaborate mystery within a well thought up concept of effective twists and sustained involvement of the story's progression. This is because there's so much more going on behind the scenes in this conspiracy laced-script, which keeps things really tight and nebulous. The brisk location photography is genuinely polished and covered the beautifully picturesque Hungry backdrop with vivid scope. A blazingly elastic musical score paints the period and moody precisely. A solidly low-key Christopher Lambert plays in a husky and rundown portrayal of his character Ruy de Mendoza. He sounded like he needed a cough drop. Blanca Marsillach charms in her glassy part and James Faulkner weasels in. The acting while not great, is workably stable and watchable.
Now what brought it down was that in patches the limp direction couldn't come to terms with the promising material, and was weakly conjured up and lacked real gusto in its delivery. Some unorthodox set-pieces flourished with atmospheric flashes of intrigue and foreboding terror, but more often it came across as frosty, repetitive and stiff. Some nasty and mutilated violence livens up the show, but the bustling action feels torpid, even though the pacing is always busy. The idea behind it is a stimulating pot-boiler, but for most part the execution is rather muddled and dry.
While the material and production design is up to par, it's basically undone by feeble direction. Anyhow, it's not-too-bad and keeps you highly involved.
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