Thursday, 21 April 2016

Wolfhound (2006)

A boy watches as his father forges a sword.  The idyllic scene is interrupted when black-clad raiders sweep in and slaughter all before them.  Then their boss turns up, kills the kid's mom, and sends the boy off to be a slave.

And if you're thinking 'does the kid grow up to be Arnold Schwarzenegger?' then congratulations, because you have recognised the blatant rip-off homage.  As did I.  It prompted a mini-commentary on social media.  So I am going to put in as much effort into writing this review as the film-makers did on writing that scene, and copy/paste it all here in place of writing something new.

  • Oh hey I remember this opening scene from when I saw it in Conan 20 years ago.
  • Movie, you are no Conan. Except maybe the 2011 version.
  • ... okay to be fair that action scene was pretty good. You are better than 2011 Conan, movie.
  • Not much better, given your next plot point. But better.
  • I rate the bat companion as 0.7 ferrets.
  • 0.8 if it continues to smack the hero in his head with its wing when he is being a jerk.
  • Oh hey, Princess dressed up as a boy.
  • Bat-healing magic powers!
  • So much furtive hooded cloak-wearing.
  • Simple but evocative religious ritual. Nice.
  • Next scene is goofy though.
  • Why are you splitting the party? Never split the party!
  • Hello wannabe usurper nephew.
  • Hello arranged marriage.
  • The prisoner motif is strong in this betrothal.
  • I'm betting these guys flunked out of assassin school.
  • Oh hey they're executing a "witch". I wonder if she weighs as much as a duck.
  • Assembling the party by rescuing them. Beats meeting in a tavern I guess.
  • Princess wants to learn to fight. Hero is lousy teacher.
  • Wannabe usurper nephew scoffs at ghosts. Given all the magic in the movie so far he is either evil or stupid.
  • Probably he is both.
  • Spooky evil fog of spooky evil.
  • Glowy stones of glowing beat spooky evil fog of spooky evil.
  • Wannabe usurper nephew is evil! I am shocked! Shocked!
  • Bad guy's evil plan is to slip the hero a mickey. You have magic powers, man!
  • Orchestral Flashback
  • Princess wants sexy times with the hero. But only after blabbing much exposition.
  • No hero nookie for the princess.
  • The villain of course doesn't kill the hero while he is drugged. Evil is dumb.
  • Movie tries to pretend princess is dead, for all of 2 minutes.
  • Movie has pretty landscapes. Also much riding through forests. That's how you know it is a fantasy film.
  • Bat companion to the rescue.
  • Party is reunited when hero rescues them ... again.
  • Arranged marriage dude actually seems like decent guy. Especially for someone whose dad was named "The Man-Eater".
  • Bad guy dead. Time to break out the CGI monster.
  • Which breaks out a bigger CGI monster.
  • That turns wannabe usurper nephew to stone. So what was wannabe usurper nephew's plan anyway?  
  • I guess it was "1. Raise evil goddess, 2. Get turned to stone, 3. ???, 4. Profit!"
  • Oh hey dad's sword just turned into a giant lightsabre.
  • CGI monster go boom.
  • Ghosts of his dead parents save hero's life. Sure. Why not.
  • Party shot! Worst sidekicks ever, by the way.
  • Hero tries to fob off princess on arranged marriage dude. AMD ain't having it.
  • Bat still doing all the real work.

This film was apparently quite successful in its native Russia, though the absence of any kind of marketing (and the frankly spotty quality of the dub) meant it made little impact in English-speaking markets.  Whether you'd have any interest in it now probably depends on how much you really want to see a modern-day pastiche of Conan the Barbarian with a dash of The Beastmaster.

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