Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (2005)

I don’t know why a critical flop deserves a sequel, but here we are. Yep; despite the first Dungeons and Dragons live-action movie absolutely tanking at the box office – and amazingly is unavailable on any streaming service i could find (i had to buy the DVD – THE DVD! In a time when i only have my favourite Blu Ray box sets and steelbooks) we are still ‘treated’ to this direct sequel, featuring the villain Damodar from the first movie. Point 1: Damodar died in the first movie. He fell spectacularly to his death off the tower.

Anyway, before I start talking about how wonderful the movie isn’t, let’s have a quick synopsis. Basically the evil ex-henchman Damodar has returned from the grave by some kind of magic, and has managed to obtain the Black Orb of distinct nastiness, which contains the soul of the Night Dragon, an evil beast lost to time. He hopes to find said Dragon, and use it to take over the world of Izmir.

However, there is hope, and a rag tag bunch of misfits band together to seek out the Orb, kill Damodar and, ergo, the world. Along the way they will face an Ice Dragon, a Lych, a hoard of bandits and even vicious dungeon plants. They will encounter puzzles, traps and their own feelings for each other.

Actually that makes it sound good. Let me rephrase; a band of clichés will join together to run through boring landscape, face unfeasibly awful CGI and bad makeup, overcome traps as complex as ‘press this button to open’ and then have horrible banter with as much chemistry as planks of wood.

I cannot come to terms with how bad actors can be. I mean, all you need to do is pretend you were a child, running about fighting dragons which no one can see… Am I the only that did this?? Yet still grown adults find it impossible to react properly. Look Harry Potter had an excuse – he was a young boy who had never really had to ‘act’ before. But these people… they actually have credits. One of them starred in a James Bond movie, for goodness sake. But its painful to watch.

The soldier (who used to be a thief), the soldiers wife (a bland blonde with the likeability of a rotten tomato), an attractive barbarian with the facial expression of a heron, a thief, a mage and another mage (who is a girl, and may or may not be an elf). This is your dungeon crew? They won’t make Level 2 without cheat codes, I promise you.

In fact, some of them don’t make it. And we are expected to care about these characterless idioms, even given the chance to drill up hatred for our villain.

Oh God. Bruce Payne. Damodar is an absolute hoot. No. Actually, being described as ‘a hoot’ implies he makes me laugh – but he doesn’t. I don’t giggle in amusement, i gasp in exasperation. Stone faced Mark Dymond (soldier thief) is oscar worthy compared to Bruce Payne’s complete lack of interest in the project.

Its a real shame, again, because Dungeons and Dragons has such a wealth of material to plunder and here we have a film that is actually difficult to watch. I once heard a particular phrase used to describe the first D + D film (reviewed previously) – but it applies far more appropriately to this one: “Dung-y and Drags-on.”

The title however, is top tier. But that doesn’t excuse anything. At all.

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