Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Apparently I like to spend my time watching low budget dragon movies. I didn’t realize this until I looked on this site on saw that I’ve seen three low bud dragon movies from that wacky film studio the Asylum in ‘Dragon’, ‘Merlin and the War of the Dragons’ and ‘Dragon Quest’. We won’t even get into the bigger budgeted mess of a dragon flick ‘Eragon’ or the French animated movie with a similar title ‘Dragon Hunters’, so without even knowing it, I have a dragon fetish. You would’ve thought I spent my teenage years playing Dungeons and Dragons or something but I was too busy torturing those freaks to get into that. Maybe the fact that they wouldn’t let me play their stupid ass game has manifested itself in my adulthood as an unrequited love for dragons. Nonetheless here we are with another low budget Dragon movie that I refuse to let waste away on the shelves with ‘Dragon Hunter’.

Our film starts with some deep voiced brother prattling on about courage and fear over some scene of indecipherable mayhem. This mayhem would be the nightly nightmare of our main character Kendrick of… I can’t rightly remember where he’s from but you know in medieval days have to be ‘from’ somewhere like Robin of Nottingwood or something. Kendrick is a gentle boy, mainly because his older brother Darius (Erik Denton) treats his little bro like fine china, over protecting him at every turn since their parents died when Kendrick was still a baby. The lives of our young men turn to the worse when their little village is attacked by a dragon forcing them to flee, though Kendrick would’ve like to have stayed and fight especially considering he believes his older brother to be some kind of dragon hunter.

Onward to destinations unknown, at least unknown to Kendrick, head these young men until they are attacked by a randy band of travelers who mistook them as friends of the Orcs. Once Darius, who is a great warrior, kicks all their asses, they all the sudden want to play nice an introduce themselves. Our crew of simple villagers lacking the

fighting skills are led by the honorable Nathan (Orland Seale) who has a crew by his side which includes the elfin Raya (Kelly Stables) and the gigantic silent Black dude Olick (Isaac C. Singleton) who I’m guessing can speak since he looks like the only person in our cast who could deliver that silky smooth opening narration. Big bro Darius is heading to some city in the west, and considering the treacherous terrain, our villagers are going to assist them in their journey since they are going that way. Plus the previously asexual Darius has his eye on the microscopic cutie with the pointed ears and the magic arrows.

The thing about Kendrick is that he has the peculiar talent of being able to smell a dragon which actually forecasts much greater things for the boy with the fear of fire, which is why his brother is taking him on this trip in the first place. Things happen such as the crew meeting a scurrilous healer and an honorable wise old dude who recognizes Kendrick’s unique talents, but these talents need to be developed and the dragon menace is here right now. What we really need is a big Black dude to sacrifice himself so that we can buy some time so the rest of characters can live, but where in the hell are we going to find one of those on such short notice? Oh…

So if I were to tell you that this movie ‘Dragon Hunters’ largely consists of ninety minutes of actors you probably don’t recognize walking in the woods talking to each other, you would probably be of the mind that this must be a movie that sucks pretty bad. Oddly enough… it doesn’t suck. At least not to me and recognize that that description I just gave you is pretty accurate. Oh there is the occasional fight scene and the omnipresent dragon that you won’t really don't get to see until very end, but the fight sequences are relatively brief and they really aren’t all that well done anyway, and we’ll get to the dragon a little later, but despite the mythical magical backdrop, this is truly just your basic coming of age type story. Armed with this knowledge I am now asking myself ‘why didn’t this movie put me to sleep’? I’m not completely sure of the answer to that question but I think part of the solution lies in the fact that writer / director Steve Shimak seems to have a good grasp on the fundamentals of filmmaking. He has written some interesting characters who we got to know pretty well, considering they did talk an awful lot, but their dialog never seemed boring or trite and for the most part the actors came off well in their portrayals of their particular characters. Since the acting was above average and at least some of the characters were well developed, we had an interest in what became of them which also kept us in the story. Plus the story was paced well and framed well so I never ended up getting bored with the movie, or got stuck looking at the counter on the DVD player watching time pass.

These are good things because outside of these positives the movie really doesn’t have all that much to offer. The story is a bit derivative leasing liberally from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Alien’ among others, the action sequences and the super shaky camera was making me dizzy after a while and the Dragon looked liked total ass. I’m sorry, but it did. It was obvious CGI but it didn’t integrate all that well to its surroundings and the actors didn’t respond to it that well either which is probably why they made the decision not focus on it that much until absolutely necessary. Good move. There was this drawn out ‘about to kiss’ scene between our heroic big brother and the microscopic cutie that took so long to develop, amidst the films soaring score, that it could qualify as the most melodramatic about to kiss scene of all-time.

There are other little issues with the film largely due to what I’m sure were some intense budgetary limitations, but out of the low budget Dragon flicks I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a few, ‘Dragon Hunters’ is the best one by far. It takes talent to make a movie entertaining about folks walking in the woods in costume and talking to each other , and surprisingly this crew has managed to do just that.

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