Monday, 3 October 2011

Review - Wolfhound (2007 - Dir. Nicolay Lebedev)

For once the poster is fairly accurate. The film is a homage (ahem) to Conan and Lord of the Rings. But, as it hails from Russia, it is quite refreshing.

As a young child, Wolfhound sees his parents murdered (surprise, surprise) by our two villains: Greedy and Cannibal. I think Cannibal must have been the ostracized eighth dwarf, took a chunk out of Sleepy when he was having a kip. Greedy (quality name) is not actually a dwarf but a rather large Skeletor type who lays into people in a similar manner to Sauron. You know even now that Wolfy (Aleksandr Bukharov) is going to seek vengeance, which he does, and there's going to be some Princess involvement, which there is.

Just as Natalie Portman can make anything watchable (okay, not the Star Wars prequels, although she's easily the best thing about them) I think Oksana Akinshina, who plays the princess, could end up being in the same category of actresses. Well, maybe not, but she is rather nice looking.

Even though there is a dull section in the middle, you get the feeling that they enjoyed making Wolfhound. There are a lot of goings on in it, mostly borrowed from other films. There's a cool fight on some burning rope bridges that recalls Harry Potter and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom simultaneously. You also get to see the Wolfman fighting a huge snake made out of whirling rocks and fire, maybe with a little nod to the massive metal worms from Vexille. It's hard not to like it just based on the cheek value.

The CGI effects are not too bad either. You can forgive them more in a film that obviously has a smaller budget than most Hollywood films. One thing you don't have to forgive is Mr Wolfington's bat. I still don't know how they trained it to do all those things. It is on a par with the animal training in Jumanji  and George of the Jungle. Seriously though, it only looks ropey in a couple of scenes, shame one of them was the last. This cheeky little fellow is the exception to the rule in the irritating small sidekicks stakes (see Sword and Sorcery Checklist).

If you've seen any Sword and Sorcery films before, then you pretty much know what to expect. Don't expect too much and you'll probably enjoy it.

If you like this you could also try:
The Beastmaster, Conan the Barbarian, The Sword and the Sorceror.

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