Not too along ago, I caught a screening of Dragonheart with Dennis Quaid on TV. Not seeing the film since the cinema release, I had forgotten how entertaining it was, especially the voice of Sean Connery as Draco. I roared with laughter at the scene when Draco comes out of the water, spies the livestock and goes ‘hmmmm’ in anticipation of his next meal. Proving that you can’t beat a ‘dragon’ picture I dug out the old Full Moon film, Dragonworld on video and watched that as well. So I was a happy man as we have a new dragon film and one with a connection to Dragonheart, since Connery’s son, Jason, turns up in director Mark Atkins’ new fantasy.
The evil sorcerer Kirill has summoned a fire-breathing dragon to destroy all who oppose him. ‘Grandfather’ is an old school member of ‘The Brotherhood’, a group of monks and warriors who protect the land from evil. Arkadi is the chosen one and must complete a series of quests in order to prove he is worthy and a man of ‘virtue’, i.e. a good man of heart, mind and spirit.
Arkadi must seek out the warrior Maxim played by the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer. (Personally, if I was on a quest I wouldn’t say no to some help from The Beastmaster and the guy who could fly alien ships in V.) Arkadi is assisted by the beautiful female warrior Katya who resembles a distant cousin of Xena: Warrior Princess. Now, actress Jennifer Dorogi is no Lucy Lawless but looks good in leather warrior gear and swings a mean sword and stick. Again, handy to have around when one is on a quest.
Grandfather gives Arkadi a medallion which needs to be filled by the ‘stones of virtue’ and to get a stone he must complete a test. During the course of the film he comes up against a bog creature and even a sexy blonde in a bathtub.
For a low budget feature, Dragonquest looks great, shot on location in woodlands and a national park in America. The evil Dragon is a smart piece of CGI, leaving his smoky slipstream behind as he flies around villages destroying all in its path. There is also a nice battle scene in the film as well with some good old stabbings and beheadings, so perhaps not a film for the younger viewers.
Playing the evil sorcerer Kirill, genre veteran Brian Thompson wears his black cloak in a menacing fashion and hams it right up. Marc Singer is one actor I thought was a really cool guy when I was a kid. Not only was he The Beastmaster but as mentioned above, Mike Donovan in V. To say he overacts in this film is an understatement; he doesn’t just chew the scenery, he chomps it right up. No one is safe when he is on screen. With his dodgy squint and slanting mouth, Singer delivers his lines with the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. Someone get this man back on the big screen. Playing the young man on the quest is Daniel Bonjour who, to be fair, isn’t bad, but a little bland. However, with Thompson and Singer in the film no one really stands a chance but he does all right as our hero.
Complementing the film on the disc are some deleted scenes, trailers, bloopers and a short ‘making of’ featurette.
Dragonquest will never set the world alight or win any kind of awards but it kept me interested for its running time. Some of the effects are a little hokey and some acting is dreadful but it is a fun film and worth anyone’s time if you like low-budget fantasy.
Dragonquest R1 is available now.