Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Far be it from me to let a low-budget dragon epic slip past, considering that low-budget dragon movies are right behind Steven Seagal movies and low-budget Shark Attack movies when it comes to representation on this low budget website.  This has led me to the conclusion that when one is tight on a budget, and one needs a computer generated monster, sharks and dragons must be the most economical to get animated.  But of course none of that is neither here nor there at the moment as we prepare to inform and educate about today's low budget dragon epic, 'Dawn of the Dragon Slayer', a film much heavier on the melodrama than it was on the dragon slaying.

Will Shepherd (Richard McWilliams) is an impetuous, hot headed young man in medieval Scotland who has somehow roped his old man into going out dragon hunting, who was really just going along to keep an eye on the boy.  Dragons have stuff in them which will yield one a tidy sum, but of course it is actually trapping a dragon which makes getting this stuff exorbitantly dangerous.  Tragically Will's father gets fried like a piece of tasty bacon during this ill-fated adventure and Will is sad.  Will would like to stay home and avenge his father, but he must honor his father's wishes that he travel to city become a bondsman  - whatever that is - which could set him on the path of Knighthood.

On this walk Will meets some never-do-wells who chastise the boy because he's from the mountains, which apparently is like saying you live in a Trailer Park in this day and age, then he runs into the lovely maiden Kate (Nicola Posener) who is daughter to the nobleman Baron Sterling (Ian Cullen) who Will is supposed to meet with.  Sure they don't exactly hit it off, but we all know that Love is in The Air.  Love will not be Denied.  Love is Gentle and Kind.
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At this point 'Dawn of the Dragon Slayer' digs deeper into its melodramatic roots.  Will is frustrated because the Baron has the boy digging holes and shoveling dookey which isn't very Knight-like.  The Maiden Kate is frustrated because her old man is an insufferable asshole and won't let her do anything.  Then the roguish Knight Rogan (Phillip Brodie) shows up, sees Kate looking all grown up and stuff and figures it would be economically feasible if The Baron gave her to him.  Considering the Baron is financially strapped right now, this seems like the logical thing to do.   And of course Will and Kate's initial chilliness defrosts as the seeds of love begin to grow.  A love montage shall ensue. 

Eventually the Dragon shows back up causing a ruckus.  Will wants to kill it for obvious reasons but he's not quite ready, the Baron wants it dead to gain favor with The King, Rogan is up to absolutely no good and Kate, who dabbles in a little witchcraft on the side, is sad since her old man is being jerkier than usual and Will has decided a poor mountain boy shouldn't be with a beautiful princess.  Then Will gets ready for that dang dragon, Rogan gets his, the Baron becomes slightly less of an asshole and love has come full circle. 

So… 'Dawn of the Dragon Slayer' is actually a pretty decent movie, as long as you're prepared for what you are signing on for before you enter the room.  I wasn't really prepped for a melodramatic, soap opera-esque medieval tale that just happened to have a dragon show up on occasion, but at this point I'm used to adjusting my expectations on the fly.  For starters the movie is well acted, young Richard McWilliams able to create a character that realistically transforms himself over the course of the film while still retaining qualities which keeps him human as opposed to elevating him to super-human status.  Phillip Brodie made for a solid charming and duplicitous cad, actress Maggie Daniels brought a mature calming influence as Kate's wise aunt and while Nicola Posener was performed well and is an absolutely lovely young woman, she had an awful lot of histrionics applied to her character which may have gotten a little annoying after a while, but this is melodrama.  Director Anne K. Black's camera captured some stunning images of some magnificent Irish vistas, and the musical score was one of the more majestic ones we've heard for a film of this type.

But since Ms. Black's film is more of drama / relationship / romance type of movie the pacing maybe a little too deliberate for some since most of the focus is on the characters and what they are dealing with.  I'm of the opinion that this only becomes a problem if one is sitting around waiting for the dragon slaying mayhem to fire up, to which we must point out that the viewer waiting for this dragon mayhem will ultimately be disappointed because the dragon mayhem is far and few between.  When the dragon does show up for its extended cameos a couple of times, it looks good, it's plenty mean and its integration in the surrounding scenery is okay though it's interaction with the human characters is a little squapity, but the dragon is more of a plot device than a central theme in this movie.

Still, now armed with the knowledge of what kind of movie this is, we are also of the opinion that 'Dawn of the Dragon Slayer' succeeds and provides a different slant on the medieval dragon epic than we're accustomed to seeing.
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