Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

In this movie ‘Dragon Crusaders’, some Knights Templar are galloping in the forest… note that I’m happy that The Asylum actually sprung for some horses for everyone to ride this time around, unlike in ‘Almighty Thor’ in which everybody had to walk across the countryside… but they’re galloping in the forest and they hear some screaming from down below. Turns out some pirates are raping and pillaging a nearby village. Templar Knight Sigmund the Skittish (Tony Sams) is like ‘shoot… sucks to be them. Let’s get outta here’. But John the Brave (Dylan Jones) reminds Sigmund that Knights Templar don’t run from fights, even when the kings men are chasing them for deserting his rotten rule. So along with Maldwyn the Virginal (Simon Lloyd-Roberts) and Eldred the Funny (Feth Greenwood) they go down the hill, observe that the microscopic, super athletic warrior princess Aerona (Cecily Fay) has already handled most of the heavy work, and they clean up what she didn’t get around to killing yet. Job well done Knights, Let’s get outta here! That is until one of the villagers mention the kidnapped orphan girl. If they knew what we will know, they’d totally forget about the kidnapped orphan girl.

Okay, so the Knights jump on a boat to the pirate ship, but it’s empty. Just the Orphan Girl in a small cell doing some incantation. No problem, they free the Orphan Girl, who we can plainly see is no girl and is fully formed woman named Neem (Shinead Byrne). Neem is very upset. Apparently… and this is kind of funny… but apparently to get rid of the pirates, Neem who is a sorcerer’s apprentice or something, cast a spell that turns anybody who steps on that boat, who also spilled blood, into an indestructible man eating gargoyle. That’s what Neem did. I’m thinking Neem might’ve opted for a spell that turned them into piles of dirt or frogs, but Neem chose man-eating, indestructible gargoyles. I have no idea why they didn’t chop her head off right there, other than the fact that she’s kinda hot. Of course this ridiculous spell she casts includes the Knights because they have spilled a drop of blood or two in their day, but depending on how evil your heart is determines how quickly you will turn. Again, if I were a Templar Knight, and I just saw one of my boys turn into blood thirsty Gargoyle right before my eyes, which happened right there on that boat, I would’ve slain that idiot Neem right there. Not only that, somehow Neem’s spell turned the pirates that they’ve already killed into reanimated pirate zombies! Neem! You’re killing us over here!

So they take care of that business, but these knights have a lot on their plate right now. They have to find some way to break the spell that will eventually turn them all into gargoyles because Neem doesn’t know how to break the spell, they have to travel to the land of the Dark King or something to do something or another that I can’t remember, and eventually they will have to do battle with the Dragon Lord and his seven dragons of evil and his extra large Black Dragon of mean. Oh, and Neem has gotten herself captured and for some reason they feel the need to save her. Neem, as it turns out, is a little sweet on young Knight Maldwyn, and the kid was just fine until Neem started firing up some latent horniness in the young priest, who was pure as snow and gargoyle free, but now his loins have ignited his evil lustful desire deep inside and now he’s about turn. Neem! Die already! For the good of Mankind!

Regardless, adventure and dragon slaying shall ensue.

This is the third Asylum / Mark Atkins Dragon flick I’ve seen and I guess this is the best of the three. I guess? I mean there are some good things in this movie. I don’t know how good of a film director Mr. Atkins is, I mean he did helm the Sci-Fi craptastic ‘Battle of Los Angeles’ which would be a blight on just about anybody’s resume, but he also served as the cinematographer for this film and if nothing else, the man certainly has a talent for this part of the film craft because this movie did look good. The various shades of gray used for the color palette and the locations gave us a movie that felt like it was actually taking place during medieval times. The toned down color schemes also helped integrate the dragons and gargoyles into the scenery much better than we would usually expect from a lower budget film such as this one. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it was solid. Then there’s Cecily Fay who has to be some kind of world class athlete with all the flipping and leaping and acrobatics the young woman was performing in this film. Early in the movie Ms. Fay’s character had this fight sequence against the pre-zombie pirates, and Atkins edited the scene with all the prerequisite quick cuts and zooms and pans when it looked to us as if this lady didn’t need the assistance of camera tricks to convey the illusion that she could kick some ass.

Not unexpectedly, there are some things in ‘Dragon Crusaders’ that aren’t so good as well. The story Atkins has written is fractured, wildly inconsistent and difficult to follow, and I still don’t really know who that blonde cat was sicking gargoyles on people. The pacing was also off as the movie had a lot of these long uncomfortable lulls of nothing in particular going on. It’s possible they were talking about important stuff during these lulls, but I missed that part, and besides Cecily Fay and maybe the dude that played Eldred the Funny, none of the actors were able distinguish themselves from each other, just blending into the drab surroundings.

As I look through the archives, apparently I spend way too much time watching low budget dragon movies, since I’ve seen nearly a dozen of them. Who knows why? ‘Dragon Crusaders’ is near the top of the list in the battle of the low budget dragon epics with its impressive look, improved special effects, and super athletic tiny women… but being the best of a bad lot still doesn’t make it good… you know?

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