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I watched this on television this morning. I hadn't really intended to, but when I saw that John Rhys-Davies was in it, I decided to give it a chance. I, too, at first wondered what he was doing in this movie. The dragons were immediately impressive, but the stunts during their first rampage in the opening scenes looked like they could have been pulled off by average high-school drama students. Guys getting their backs lit on fire, screaming, flapping their arms, and falling down. (This, by the way pretty much sums up the stunts in the rest of the movie, as well, and none of the people seem to have the sense to even roll in the snow once aflame.)
To anyone with at least a little of a discerning eye, these opening scenes are a bit of a red flag. Bad stunts usually make for bad movies. But, as I hadn't yet seen John Rhys-Davies, I kept watching. And I'm glad I did. All-in-all, it was an enjoyable film.
I think budget must have had a lot to do with the way this movie turned out. The dragons must have been expensive, and unless John Rhys-Davies was doing it as a favor to someone, I'm sure he wasn't cheap either. So, it seems, they had to skimp somewhere, and they apparently chose to do so with the stunts.
Yes, the acting is cheesy at times, but appropriately so, for such a tale. And, regarding John Rhys-Davies, he certainly brings a certain presence and dignity to all of his parts, but if you really take a look at his body of work, he hasn't exactly done Shakespeare all his life, either. I think, just as with Sean Connery, he improves any movie he graces with his presence, even the stinkers.
Ultimately, I think they did quite well with the resources available. And when you think about it, would the movie have been better with great stunts, but with lousy dragons?
So, if you like this sort of thing, it is well worth a watch. Just keep your sense of humor about you, and don't allow yourself to be put off by the opening scenes.
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