By: Wonko The Sane (Five Beers) –
It is the early 1300s and the Pope has disbanded the order of the Knights Templar, forcing its members to escape into the hinterlands of Europe to find peace and freedom from persecution. A group of these knights led by John the Brave (Stuntman and Horse Trainer Dylan Jones) encounter a village being ransacked by pirates. In spite of the fear that the villagers will sell them out for personal gain, they intervene, saving the town from total destruction.
Here they also encounter totally-not-Xena The Warrior Princess, who is most definitely not going to be a love interest for one or more of the Knights. Eventually they discover a curse which haunted the pirates, and has now overtaken them… A curse that causes the victim to turn into a dragon if they give themselves over to evil thoughts!
You wouldn’t like them if they’re angry…
This is not a naturally tenable position for religious knights, so they set off on a quest to find the evil wizard whose curse now haunts them.
When I first heard of the impending release of The Asylum’s Dragon Crusaders I had three thoughts; “Well, I like Dragons”, And ” The Crusades are an interesting point in history”, and followed that comment promptly with “how bad could it be?”
The Asylum’s already stellar reputation for quality is of course maintained. However, Dragon Crusaders does up the ante a bit, boasting competent performances, a fairly original take on medieval fantasy, and computerized special effects that would have passed for blockbuster quality in 1994. I watched this film with my good friend Bennie, whose affinity for Swords and Sorcery includes a deep and highly pornographic obsession for Kristanna Loken. And while she isn’t in this movie, that won’t prevent me from posting her picture in this article.
You’re welcome Bennie…
The characters in the movie refer to the Dragons as Gargoyles. Of course, the title Gargoyle Crusaders just doesn’t have the same ring to it… Still bothered me though.
There is a lot of buildup for the big fight between the Wizard and the Knights… a buildup to a severe anticlimax. One special effects defect which plagues the movie is that the Dragons/Gargoyles never interact very well with the actors, and often feels downright cartoonish.
Although Disney made it work, so there is still hope.
The Asylum knows how to take advantage of outdoor surroundings and location shoots to get the most production value out of very little money. Dragon Crusaders, for instance, was shot in and around the hills of Wales, and the splendor of the countryside is definitely nice. However, the film does fall victim to the JRR Tolkien rule of fantasy storytelling.
As outlined in this helpful demonstration:
Editor’s Note: It is well known that every Asylum film deserves a good six pack, a few jello shots, maybe a forty in a brown paper bag, and/or a severe chemical imbalance for maximum enjoyment. With that said, please drink responsibly… especially if your film preferences are as poor as mine.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever someone turns into a dragon
Take a Drink: for random healing song?
Take a Drink: every time someone uses the words “Knight”, “Saltpeter”, or “wizard”
Down a Shot: for ZOMBIES!!!!!