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Awesome: 38.46%
Worth A Look: 7.69%
Pretty Bad: 7.69%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 7 user ratings

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Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King
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by Scott Weinberg

"Silly Swords & Sorcery Stuff"
3 stars

In Germany it's called "Die Niebelung" and it ran three hours as a TV mini-series. In the UK it played theatrically under the title "The Sword of Xanten." If you happen to be in South Africa (which is where the flick was shot), the title you'll want to remember is "The Curse of the Ring."

Here in the U.S. it's called Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, and no matter what the flick's actual name is, the story is based on numerous ancient Nordic legends, including a few that helped inspire Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings. Yep, it's a magic / dragons / swords / romance / treachery sorta thing, precisely like what you'll find in Excalibur, Dragonslayer, and ... um ... Krull.

Starring German woodblock Benno Furmann and B-movie vixen Kristanna Loken, Dark Kingdom is all sorts of predictable, corny, and trite ... but it falls well short of being "Boll-style" bad and, despite being a full-bore b-movie all the way, manages to deliver some slight cheesy fun along the way. Fans of "spot the face" will enjoy the supporting performances from Alicia Witt, Max Von Sydow, and (get this) Julian Sands -- as a villain!

Stop me when this one sounds familiar: A young warrior, whose parents were killed in a long-ago village raid, beds the Queen of Iceland, slays a mighty dragon, claims an entire chamber of cursed gold, steals a transformo-hat from a grungy wizard, befriends a craven king, drinks a potent love potion, forgets his oath to the Ice-Queen, and basically gets embroiled in a whole lot of medieval melodrama before most of the characters are slain in very Shakespearean style.

Though clearly not made with half the budget of a similarly themed Hollywood flick, Dark Kingdom exhibits a fairly impressive production value, and director Uli Edel takes ample advantage of South Africa's eclectic locations and landscapes ... but the flick also suffers from a stuttering editorial approach. Even at 120 minutes, the story feels rushed and choppy. Whatever was left on the cutting room floor between the German mini-series and the Region 1 DVD release might not have been cinematic gold, but it probably would have filled in a lot of nagging blanks. (Whatever happened to that grungy little wizard, anyway?)

Provided you don't watch this type of movie for the acting performances, Dark Kingdom isn't a half-bad little time-waster. It's got lots of twists and turns, a few unintentionally amusing components, and a pretty darn nifty dragon battle. It's certainly not a great film, but hey, this is coming from a guy who proudly owns a copy of the Sword and the Sorcerer DVD, so maybe I'm just a sucker for the whole sword-swingin' sub-genre.

(© Review reprinted from DVDTalk, with permission from the author (me) and the DVDT management. For the full DVD specs on this particular movie, please visit and get friendly with the search bar.)

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originally posted: 05/22/06 17:25:42
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User Comments

11/16/14 Erik Unger Runs pretty close to the Niebelung song the central tale in both Wagners and Tolkiens ring 4 stars
2/25/13 Muhammed Flaifil Excellent Movie, Kristina Loken remarkable 5 stars
7/29/07 Erich You really should see the full 3 hr version! aka 'Curse of the Ring' on Aussie R4 PAL dvd. 5 stars
12/28/06 auyjentic, best cosumes in any period piece ever, well done ruth myers 5 stars
4/13/06 Dawn Benno Furmann and Kristanna Loken did really well in this movie! 5 stars
4/03/06 Elysium This movie sucks, and displays such blatant anti-Christian message 2 stars
4/02/06 doesn't matter AWESOME 5 stars
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  28-Mar-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Mar-2006



Directed by
  Uli Edel

Written by
  Peter Morwood
  Diane Duane
  Uli Edel

  Benno Fürmann
  Kristanna Loken
  Alicia Witt
  Julian Sands
  Samuel West
  Max von Sydow

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