To save their Kingdom from the Dark Lord’s army, a group of warriors must travel through the Forbidden lands fighting the fearsome monsters of The Dark Kingdom to rescue their King.
I watched Knights of the Damned a few months ago and wondered afterwards if there would be a sequel, but I never investigated further and soon forgot about it. So, imagine my surprise when, in the opening scene of Dragon Kingdom, I realized this is, in fact, that sequel. I actually laughed out loud and had to grab the case to make sure I hadn’t missed something. A single picture on the back and the same cast and crew are all I could find that hinted at what this movie was. Now I can’t say that I’m thrilled, as the first movie wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but I’m happy they decided to try and finish the story. Although it looks like they’ll need at least one more based on where this one ends.
Dragon Kingdom begins right where Knights of the Damned left off, and while there is a structure to the film, it moves from one scene to another without a clear purpose. The main antagonists from Knights of the Damned are back, but they don’t play any active roles, merely guiding the characters along in the background, resulting in a movie that felt mostly unnecessary to the overall story. Yes, the end of the movie sets up what should be the last movie of the trilogy, but nothing else in the movie was there for any reason beyond needing action to break up the plot. The fight scenes are decent, so the film is not a complete disaster, but action for action’s sake is never good.
The characters are probably the weakest part of this movie, and this is 100% the result of overusing the action scenes. There is no growth for any of the characters, old or new. Of course they have scenes between the many fights, but it’s all plot related or awkward attempts at trying to grow the characters, none of which succeed. You can forgive a few bad action scenes or plot holes if the characters are fun to watch but that is not the case here. A romance is acknowledged between two of the characters but there is not enough to make the viewer care. To make matters worse, the acting isn’t the greatest. The villain’s actor is the standout performance but is underutilized with just a few minutes of screen time. The rest of the cast do an acceptable job with the poor dialogue they are given.
I’m not going to go over everything the DVD case lied about, but I do want to tell you now that while Dragon Kingdom does in fact have more dragons than all of the Hobbit films combined (that’s the quote on the back of the case), they are much less impressive and are not nearly as important and get less than 5 minutes of screen time. Except for the dragons, there is not much obvious CGI use that stands out, good or bad. Most of the creatures in the movie are practical effects or costumed. Not all of them are good, the blue goblin creatures being the worst example, but the special effects team should be applauded for some of the prosthetic and creature designs. I can’t say the same for the set design, but only because there are not that many sets outside of the forest setting of the Dark Kingdom.
I’m still interested in how this story ends so I’m hoping they can get the last movie made. It’s not going to become a household name, but I don’t think it’ll go on anybody’s list of worst fantasy movies either. A stronger script and more interesting characters would have fixed most of the problems. Also, I’m just going to throw this out there: STOP USING SLOW MOTION FOR EVERYTHING! Sorry… I know it can be used to enhance a scene, but most of the time it’s just annoying or used awkwardly. Dragon Kingdom sits in that awkward position of bad, but not terrible that I’m learning is where most fantasy movies end up. Let’s hope the third movie can bring the trilogy to a satisfactory conclusion.
On a side note, it’s always nice to see Neuschwanstein castle. Although there’s no dragons like it shows on the box…
Yes, if you’re a movie fan
Yes, if you’re a fantasy fan
Yes, if you’re bored and it’s on TV
Buy It Here
Runtime: 85 minutes
Director: Simon Wells
Starring: Ross O’Hennessy, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Rebecca Dyson-Smith
MPAA Rating: Not Rated