Film Corner: Dragon Crusaders

Dragon Crusaders

What movie do you have for us tonight, Ana? Why it's DRAGON CRUSADERS which I honestly can't tell from the title if we've seen-- no, I'm thinking of DRAGON PALADIN, I think. Or DRAGON PARAGON.

Anyway, we definitely haven't seen THIS: "A group of fugitive Knights Templar attacks a pirate ship and they are cursed to turn into hideous monsters. To fight the curse and ultimately save they [sic] world, they must defeat the wizard-dragon who is determined to destroy it."

I feel like once you're a fugitive, you got no cause to be attacking pirates if they're minding their own business. What's that all about. And a dragon-wizard. That's new, right? We've had dragons and wizards, yeah, but I think this is our first combo meal.

A pretty girl with no bra runs up to the camera whilst clutching a book and pants urgently at me. I think she's warning me to run. Oh, pretty girl, I think we're stuck here together. A dragon swoops down to eat a guy while people run amok in fear. This is top tier dragon graphics. I feel confident that I'm a connoisseur of dragon graphics now.

This is by the Asylum. I've seen that name before. Hang on. OH YES. They do-- what did y'all call it. Mockbusters? Blockbuster ripoffs. "Atlantic Rim" and "TerminatorS" and so forth. They're also responsible for Sharknado. To their dubious credit, they have the money to animate a convincing dragon. They also have a good opera on call for credit sequences. The producer, Mark Atkins, did the Merlin movie I just enjoyed, so this one might be good! I'm aquiver with anticipation. Aquiver? A-quiver?

...on the other hand, he also did Dragons of Camelot, and I'm pretty sure that was the awful one with Morgana ruling and Galahad blundering towards unearned victory.

This pirate captain is wearing a lot of fur and hair gel. I'm not sure which bothers me more.

Hang on, mom and dad are coming over to bring me food so I don't starve to death.

I can't help but feel it would be equally or even more accurate for the Knights to be sacking the town and the pirates doing the rescue. The knights are being tracked by "the king's men" and don't feel like they have time to save villagers from pirates and I just have to repeat that they were riding at basically the same speed a golf cart goes when you take your foot off the brake.

Oh, right, they're Knights Templar so they're being unfairly persecuted. They take a vote to save the villagers (GET A WIGGLE ON, THEY DON'T HAVE ALL DAY) but one of them warns that no good deed goes unpunished, basically. Man, I wish they'd release WICKED on DVD. It's really balls that so much of Broadway culture is inaccessible to disabled people OUR ENTIRE LIVES.

Boy, these pirates are COMMITTED to the whole evil thing. It's a bit much, especially considering that literally no one has been characterized thus far, so it's all just strangers brutalizing strangers. It's not that I find it difficult to care about strangers I don't know, it's that I question the need to brutalize them just to take as read that the pirates are Bad. Kick a puppy, it's less trouble.

There's a Mysterious Castle in the village. A ninja chick just killed someone for entering the mysterious castle? I think? It's not clear. She looks familiar. Oh! She was in that WARRIORESS movie that left me frothing with rage at the ending. She apparently is a champion martial artist and sword master, which is probably why I like watching her fight; it's not "waif is slender until the peoples fall down". She is hurting guys. (I like slender waif fights, I just like variety.) I might like this fight even better if I knew who this woman was, or what this castle is, or how this ties into the pirate movie.

The braless girl who was running from the dragon in the opening credit sequence is back! I don't really understand how any of this ties together. It's like four different movies are happening on the same set? Seventeen pirates captured her, so she's having a bad day I guess. The Knights Templar are riding in!! They're just killing anyone with a sword which amuses me because that ought to be at least some of the villagers, lol.

Hair Gel Pirate Leader was all RAGE YELL for them to face his sword, so they just shot him with an arrow instead and I'm delighted by the efficiency. Never bring a sword to an arrow fight. HAHAHA OMG. The Templar Leader scowled at his archer buddy for ruining his upcoming duel with Hair Gel and Archer just gave him a cheeky grin. "Oh, I'm sorry! [In a "was that one yours?" tone] It's just that one looked kinda mean!" I love him, I want an entire movie around Cheeky Archer and all the times he ruined his boss' portentous duels.

It's...suddenly totally quiet? How?? Where are the villagers? Castle Ninja ran out, saw the Knights Templar, and exchanged a warriorly "thou art not my enemy" nod. WHERE IS EVERYONE ELSE. "All the pirates are slain and all the villagers are accounted for," one Templar reports to the leader. How could you POSSIBLY know that?? You're strangers here, you have no idea who is who or what the local head count was!!!!!!

Movie makers seem to vastly over estimate how quiet a post-battle scene is. A nun runs up to tell them they've taken "the orphan girl", who I presume is the braless woman. I'm impressed that this medieval village only has ONE orphan.

The Templars find a boat (where?) and row out to the pirate ship. They seem totally unconcerned about being sitting ducks for archers in this boat. I don't even see a shield anywhere. The pirate ship is empty but also seems really fucking tiny to have held those forty pirates that just got slaughtered. I've been on bigger pontoon boats, and this ship doesn't even have a below deck, that I can see.

Well. They're pretending it has a below deck anyway. Orphan is in a cage, praying. She's deeply upset to be rescued and tearfully explains that she's accidentally killed them all by... invoking the curse of Anathor. There's a lot of Anas in shitty B movies, isn't there? Anaset in Mythica, Anathor, every other lady is named Ana. I notice, ok?

The dragon looks completely different from the opening scene, I assume because they blew all their CGI budget? Now he's a sort of...flying gargoyle dog. Kinda cute. She changed all the pirates into the gargoyle dogs. This is some strange new definition of "curse" which I was not previously aware. Way to make the pillaging bad guys even more powerful, Orphan!! Anyway, all the Knights are cursed now too, because they stepped on the boat while she was a-cursing.

She's even calling the creature a gargoyle!!! I was promised dragons!! I want a manager!

"I only learned how to invoke the curse, not to undo it!"
"Is there someone in this village who can undo it?"

They're being very cordial considering that they're having this conversation WHILE Sexy Bob screamingly transforms. I do appreciate that they haven't threatened to stab her, don't get me wrong; I'm just surprised by their forbearance. Why does this one knight look so familiar. Hang on. Well fuck me gently, he's Merlin from the Merlin Dragon War movie.

Well, Merlin is fine but Sexy Bob turned into a gargoyle and ate one of the other knights. Castle Ninja shows up to be attacked by the gargoyle and I DEMAND SOME KIND OF EXPLANATION FOR HER?? She's an element that doesn't make sense? Why is there a solitary castle ninja chick in this otherwise bland medieval village setting?

The other Templars show up to scare the gargoyle away. Jim is like "I TOLD YOU no good deed goes unpunished" and I feel this gloating is unearned, like, most people don't expect the curse of Ana's Thor.

(Nothing but respect for MY god of thunder.)

Dead Guy has become a zombie. Castle Girl teaches them to take his head off. There's....there's a LOT going on here. Ok, so everyone killed by an Anathorn-cursed person INCLUDING PEOPLE KILLED BEFORE THE CURSE comes back as a revenant. So all the pirates are undead because the knights who killed them are cursed. THIS IS A TERRIBLE CURSE. You'd think half the villagers would come back as undead too, but I guess we're not doing that.

Merlin and Orphan are creeping around the forest while undead pirates dance gleefully about in a menacing way. THERE'S A LOT GOING ON HERE. I honestly can't tell a difference between the undead pirates and the living pirates, but I guess this means we'll see Hair Gel again?

Orphan is just getting slowly naked as her dress inches off her shoulders in each scene, lolsob. Her job is to cling sexily to Merlin. Ok, guys, Castle Sword Girl fucking TOLD you that the undead needed their heads taken off, were you just not listening. ...ok, I guess if you stab them enough times through the heart, that works too? I don't care.

She learned the curse from a book she found???? Not the nuns who raised her? Why include the nuns if that's not relevant? Fantasy nuns can have gargoyle magic!! Who says they can't? She got it from a sorcerer known as the Black Dragon, but god only knows how or when or why or why she thought memorizing this spell would be a good idea.

"Why couldn't he be called Snowball?" Ok, I did laugh.

Castle Ninja can also read, and I really do demand that there be some explanation for her. She reads the curse for less than a minute and is now an expert on it, lol. In a better movie that would be Suspicious. Anyway, the gargoyle curse takes effect faster or slower depending on how internally naughty you are. Bets on Merlin going last?

"Where did you learn how to fight?" Ok, here we go. Backstory for unexpected castle sword lady who is cool, don't get me wrong, but feels like a strange extra element crowbarred into this already very crowded concept. She's from a northern island where everyone fights because the Saxons and Norse keep invading it-- she supposed to be Scottish??

ANYWAY, she's taking them to a druid for advice and they're entering a wee village with grass roots and I swear I've seen this exact set in another movie. I'm pretty sure. I'm so tired. I mean, they're literally in Real Europe, they're talking about London, if she's Scottish why wouldn't you just say that or is the problem that even more people would wonder what's going on with her accent.

Two of the three druids are Nimue and Viviane from the Merlin movie help help what even is real anymore.

I do really appreciate that the Knights know that the death of Orphan Girl would relieve the curse but so far they have not even considered that route. They're instead going to go fight the guy who wrote the book she used. Oh, no, wait, they're gonna try a druid exorcism first. I'm sure this will work like a charm. Well, the druid girls couldn't save Grumpy Bart. He died. Sir Bore was gargoyled about the same time and nearly attacked the Orphan. (WHAT A GREAT CURSE THIS IS.)


I fell asleep last night mid-movie. I'm so sorry.

Several of you have asked if Cheeky Archer is ok. He's still with us!

ANYWAY, the Knights, the Orphan, and the Warrioress are all going to confront the Black Dragon Wizard (The backstory seems to be that he's terrorizing and enslaving Orphan's people, in the form of a dragon, and she stole his grimoire in the false hope that it would slightly inconvenience him.) on the grounds that it's morally easy to kill a sorcerer than a defenceless maiden, and maybe that will break the gargoyle curse and the undead zombie revenant curse.

Nightfall, and Orphan is asking Young Merlin the exact ramifications of his chastity vows. Cranky Roy tried to attack Orphan on the theory that killing the witch will fix the curse and Cheeky Arrow shot him non-fatally because good men don't attack innocent girls. Cranky Roy is down! Young Merlin is struggling not to change! Orphan has fled! THERE'S A LOT GOING ON HERE. It's amazing to me that zombies were even added, given how under-utilized they are in this complicated mess. Why have them if you're not going to use them?

Warrioress and Leader gallop after Orphan, who seems fully capable of out running horses. From the opposite direction, Hooded Mystery Man is running her down. Before everyone can converge, a dragon swoops down and carries her off. She's having a tough day.

...I'm not certain, but...Hang on. IMDB time.

The Templar Leader is Uther Pendragon from the Merlin movie. One of the other templars was an extra there, too. Uther's daughter will also be showing up in this film, apparently. The actor overlap here is amazing. ANYWAY, Hooded Man shot the Templar Leader for no known reason. He tried to shoot Warrioress, but she's effortlessly batting his arrows out of the air with her sword.

I was going to complain that she can heal arrow wounds with moss, but Uther seems determined to die anyway, so we'll call that a draw. Warrioress sings a dirge and a Forest Maiden has appeared to harmonise. (It's Uther's daughter.) ...The Forest Maiden brought Uther back to life and then buggered off.

We're just determined not to explain Hooded Mystery Man Who Looks Vaguely Like Tom Cruise, but he appears to have some command over the gargoyles. Merlin is going to do a heroic last stand, but he's not looking too good. Oh my god, Bad Druid Advisor from the Merlin movie is here too, I'm

Oh, Orphan *was* the Black Dragon Wizard's apprentice. She left that part out of her backstory. Anywho, the villagers refuse to rise up, and instead try to kill the Templars so that the Black Dragon Wizard isn't moved to revenge himself even more on the populace. The Templars plan to blow the frightened villagers up, but in, like, a MORAL way.

But wait, Tom Cruise is here! Since we still don't know who he is or why he's in this movie, it's really hard to care, but he's fighting Uther for reasons which I assume make sense to himself. Cheeky Archer is still my absolute favorite character from this or any movie. He's got funny lines and he's trying to fight the villagers non-lethally, AND apologizing to them as he knocks them out.

I don't want to blame my chronic fatigue on this movie, but I am going to point out that I keep passing out and I think the narrative is failing to retain my interest. Anyway, Tom Cruise is still fighting the Templars and it's very vexing to me that none of them are asking who the fuck he is. They might have the same goals, you don't know!! The Templars set off a bomb (don't ask) which damages nothing and no one that I can see, but the sound is enough to flush a pack of dragons out of a nearby cave. The Templars run inside and find Orphan in a dangling cage.


There is yet another discussion about killing the girl in order to break the curse, and it's a mark of sloppy writing/editing to have the same discussion 4 times in a movie--either you didn't trust your audience or you were depending on your editor to trim some of these. It's especially irksome when it's a pretty self evident fact like "magic ends when the caster dies". That shouldn't keep being a shocking revelation to characters as its repeatedly revealed.

Warrioress is doing realistic rope climbing to go with her other stunts. This movie kinda feels like a vehicle to showcase her talents and in that sense I'm ok with it. Orphan is clearly and blatantly wearing modern shoes for the rope climbing in this scene, but what can you do.

You'd think all the gargoyles that people have been turning into would have some kind of role to play in this final battle against the wizard dragon, but I guess they're off hanging out with the equally forgotten zombies. Aww, no, I was wrong. Merlin's gargoyle came back to monch a dragon because he loves Orphan so much for that time she tried to kiss him. The rest of the gargoyles are presumably at New Gargoyle Orientation training.

Uther tried to be a hero without Warrioress and the movie physically intervened to shut him down so he'd need her help, lol.

Little known fact: Dragons explode if you knock them into a saltpeter mine.

Uther--briefly gargoyled--is un-gargoyled!! He's......He's making out with the Warrioress despite the fact that I was not aware they were love interests. I...ok.

Cheeky Arrow survived!! I've never been so relieved!! Also, Merlin is here and kissing Orphan.

SMASH CUT to credits and jesus that was an abrupt ending. Nothing with the villagers being free now? Any discussion of "the king's men" and whether the Templars are safe? Burying their comrades? NOPE, FILM OVER. GO THE FUCK HOME. Good Lord, that really did feel like 4 films shot on the same day and edited together.

....I still have no idea who the Mysterious Hooded Tom Cruise was, nor why some of the gargoyles seemed to obey him.

@SoBasically6. Was he the Wizard half of the Dragon Wizard? Maybe?

See, I thought that too, but the wizard turned out to be a dying old man who was seeking eternal life.

Maybe he was "the king's men" tracking the Templars???? I DON'T KNOW.

In the credits on IMDB, he's just "Calvain" which is begging for a "and Hobbes" joke.


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