2004 - PG-13 - 92 Mins.
|Director: Stephen Furst|
|Written By: Patrick Phillips|
|Starring: Tony Amendola, Iskra Angelova, Angel Boris, Maxwell Caulfield, Maxim Gentchev,
John Hansson, Woon Young Park, John Rhys-Davies, Richard Wharton
|Review by: James O'Ehley
This made-for-TV movie about dragons from outer space set in the dark Middle Ages is guaranteed to cause motion sickness. So either keep a supply of Dramamine handy – or even better: just don’t watch it in the first place. I knew within five minutes of this Sci-Fi Channel “original” movie that I was in trouble because I was beginning to feel physically nauseous and watching what should simply have been a bad low-budget movie became an act of physical endurance.
What is my agent's phone number again? I have to get out of this movie!
You see, director Stephen Furst (who? sources other than IMDb supplies his name as being Steven Feuerstein) belongs to the Michael Bay school of filmmaking, which dictates that even when nothing exciting is happening, you must edit your movie as though there is. Thus quick edits and swirling camerawork without any breathers whatsoever throughout the entire movie. DRAGON STORM is strictly amateur hour stuff: a shot doesn’t last longer than two seconds (I kid you not – I timed them).
Furst (or whatever his real name is, I’d also be too ashamed to have my name coupled with this movie) has no sense of flow, no idea how to stage an action scene or even a normal scene. The action scenes just have the actors standing around awkwardly, not knowing what exactly to do. Three quarters through the movie I was feeling so seasick that I stopped the DVD for a while and washed the dishes and did some other house chores simply to gain some balance and equilibrium.
In the beginning of the movie we see meteorites hurling through space straight towards Earth. The meteorites turn out to be dragon eggs which hatches, and out pops some CGI fire breathing dragons which promptly attacks and burns down a castle for no apparent reason other than to kick-start the plot.
The king of the castle (played by John Rhys-Davies, the only actor you’ll recognise because he had a bit part as Sallah in the INDIANA JONES movies) entourage escapes and makes their way to the neighbouring rival king’s castle. Their kingdoms can’t be too big because it doesn’t take them too long to reach it. Along the way they enlist the services of a “huntsman” named Silas (Marner?), who is supposed to be our hero and a sort of lovable rogue type, but just turns out be somnambulant (Silas is played by Maxwell Caulfield of GREASE 2 “fame”, and looks like a bearded THREE’S COMPANY’s John Ritter).
The two kings decide to team up and quickly put together a team to slay the dragons. Halfway through the movie a subplot about the one king wanting to backstab the other one simply drops in from nowhere – but when a movie has alien dragons just drop out of the sky, one shouldn’t be too surprised if irrelevant subplots also drop in out of nowhere.
Lots of things in this movie just happen for no apparent reason. One has the impression that maybe the movie made sense in a rough cut, but that sadistic editors felt that the running time was just too long and simply butchered it. Anyway, breakneck epileptic seizure inducing editing aside, DRAGON STORM suffers from a minute budget which manifests itself in an embarrassingly sparsely populated castle and lack of extras. The acting and dialogue is also terribly wooden throughout. This movie needn’t have been so bad: some of the settings used (Bulgaria!) are quite atmospheric and apt.
Also, the CGI-generated dragons themselves aren’t too bad. It’s just a pity that everything else in the movie is. Even by the rotten standards of movies made especially for the Sci-Fi Channel. Dragonstorm is a dud. It would have made perfect fodder for MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 - but no! The Sci-Fi Channel had to go cancel what was probably the only decent TV show they ever produced! (Then again watching Mike and his ‘bot pals throw up in their pop corn because of the bad editing and camerawork throughout the entire movie wouldn’t have been a pretty sight.)
Things we should be grateful for though:
a) At least it doesn’t feature a techno soundtrack
b) Uhm. That’s about it.