Directed by Dominic Sena. Starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore.
Nic Cage once again in an off-beat, whimsical and very B movie, this time as the unlikely warrior of good (and God) against (d)evil.
You know, I don’t hate Nicolas Cage. He’s not the quintessential Hollywood hero, his hair needs some serious wizardry and his choice of films hasn’t been stellar. But he’s had some good work. Remember Face/Off? Matchstick Men? Leaving Las Vegas, Con Air, The Rock? Yes he’s done some great work in fact. But alas, a curse has been upon him. With exceptions like Kick-Ass and Bad Lieutenant, a string of duds have crept upon his scraggly locks, making them even more dishevelled.
Set in the time of the Crusades (wars sanctioned by the Catholic Church to kill civilisations who don’t subscribe to ‘the only son of god’ theory), Behmen (Cage) and his sidekick Felson (Perlman) battle the unbelievers, that is until they – surprisingly late in the day – realise they’re killing innocent women and children. They become outlaws until they’re enlisted by a plague-infested church to chaperon a witch to her trial (read execution). Thus begins their humdrum journey through dangerous forests and deathly witchery.
Doesn’t Hollywood do their research anymore? Is it alright if their actors don’t bother to at least feign an accent appropriate to the period of the film? Did they use American lingo back in the medieval ages? Sorry, but if they can’t even take care of things like that, I refuse to forego disbelief and immerse myself in a shoddy production. Director Dominic Sena (Swordfish, Gone In 60 Seconds) looks like he had the plague himself. The plague of laziness. The only silver lining this coal-black cauldron of sludge has is the girl-witch played by Claire Foy.
There’s a line in there when the surviving band of jailers and their witch arrive at the plague-stricken destination that Cage utters: “There’s no hope here, only the plague.” Gag, choke, sputter. That line is pretty apt as a tag line for the movie too.