Dragon Crusaders (2011) – Review

3 Stars


It’s been a while since I’ve seen a good sword and sandals flick from The Asylum, and Dragon Crusaders delivers the goods. Asylum Hard Knocks alumni Mark Atkins (Battle of Los Angeles, Princess Of Mars) pulls out all the stops available for a two week shoot and creates an interesting movie both on the page and on the screen. A group of knights stumble onto a village being attacked by pirates and decide to help out (the villagers, not the pirates). After boarding the pirate’s yacht they’re accidentally cursed by a witch. One by one they begin to turn into gargoyle-like flying creatures. In order to break the spell they must defeat the evil wizard and his dragons.

The strongest thing Atkins has going for him is his cinematography skills. This movie looks like it takes place in the middle ages. The color palette alone sells it. That’s not to say his other skills as writer, director and editor don’t play a major role in why Dragon Crusaders is so good. Early in the film there is a pirate ship that is so painfully obvious as a modern sail boat dressed up with aged canvas sails. But Adkins keeps the ship in the background and out of focus, even while we’re on board. If you aren’t paying close enough attention, you may miss it (although I’m sure many won’t).

The acting is lacking in areas which can make the dialogue seem flat (also could have done without the wannabe Shakespeare English in parts). This is somewhat do to the casting of stunt people and riders, which actually turns out quite well for the film. Don’t get me wrong, the acting is no where near bad and is very watchable.

The fight choreography is solid for such a short shooting schedule, but the effects just aren’t there. No awesome sword hits in Dragon Crusaders, and when they do go for it the digital blood squirts (especially in the decapitation scene) take away too much (honestly who doesn’t remember playing with fake swords as kids? if you stab someone between their body and their arm they’re dead, right?). This is a problem in some fight sequences when it appears the actors are play fighting rather than chopping each other up with heavy metal swords (hey we’re on a budget here pal).

The gargoyles and dragons, while on par with other SyFy movies, are probably some of the best digital effects in an Asylum film to date. The movements of the creatures remind me of how the stop motion monsters of Ray Harryhausen moved- slow, steady and with little regard to real world physics. It fits in perfectly with the look of the film.

Overall Dragon Crusaders is worth watching, especially if you’re a fan of medieval era films, dragons or b-movies.

Director: Mark Atkins
Stars: Cecily Fay, Dylan Jones, Sinead Byrne

One thought on “Dragon Crusaders (2011) – Review

  1. Could have been better, way better, lacked theme music in the right places, acting was almost plastic in some scenes and the special effects where so very clearly CGI which could have been way better improved upon with the right kind of techniques. People running for their lives looked like they where out having a Jog and the fight scenes left a lot to be desired, people where far too concerned with using the queens english. I can not, what about “sorry no I just plain can’t and your screwed!” – Worth watching, but not something I would watch again.

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