VOD film review: Age of the Dragons
James R | On 29, Nov 2014
Director: Ryan Little
Cast: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Sofia Pernas, Corey Sevier, Kepa Kruse
Watch Age of the Dragons online in the UK: Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
Opening Moby Dick in Microsoft Word and using “Find & Replace” to change the word “whale” to “dragon” sounds like the ultimate high-concept movie, but any optimism is swiftly quashed.
A Great White Dragon pursued by a one-eyed man? We’re introduced to Danny Glover’s Captain Ahab as a teenager, who runs around a corn field in slow-motion, before immediately discovering the movie’s mythical beast. No sooner has the dragon killed the young man’s sister than along comes Vinnie Jones. He plays veteran dragon-hunter Stubbs, a man who stands around telling war stories as if he’s Mickey Rourke.
Our young heroes Ishmael (Sevier) and Queequeg (Kruse) meet Stubbs in a bar, where they prove their worth by playing darts with their harpoons. That test over, they join the crew of Captain Ahab’s (Glover) vessel, The Pequod, bound on his quest for revenge against that dragon what killed his sister. And so the ship sets sail. On land.
One of the clever ideas the film had (other than replacing Herman Melville’s whale with a dragon) was to change the novel’s sea-faring boat to some kind of armoured shed. Rolling along at two miles per hour, it’s like watching a wheelie bin covered with crossbows, or Vinnie Jones driving a broken mobility scooter.
Among all the manly men is Ahab’s daughter, Rachel (Pernas), a character who’s flimsier than a cardboard cut-out. The romantic chemistry between her and Ishmael is dubious from the start: “What’s your name?” she asks the young harpooner. “You can call me… Ishmael,” he replies. Everyone seems to pause mid-sentence for dramatic effect when referring back to Melville’s original text.
But drama is sadly lacking in this disappointing outing, which sees Glover stagger about like Jack Sparrow’s cousin. “He cannot come out in the daylight, unless he keeps his mask on,” warns Rachel. Ahab then spends the rest of the movie standing outside in the daylight taking his mask off. All of this is stitched together with unfortunately dire CGI: this Great White Dragon isn’t white. It’s yellow. Nice concept, what a shame about the execution.
Age of the Dragons is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.