AGE OF THE DRAGONS
Directed By Ryan Little
Main Cast: Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier, Sofia Pernas, Kepa Kruse
Melville’s classic tale of obsession and betrayal is transposed to a snowy wilderness where a Great White Dragon has taken the role of Moby Dick. It gets worse but there are, fortunately, pleasures to be had from the resulting farrago.
Released: March 28th 2011
The young Ahab is shown failing to rescue his sister from the Great White Dragon and is hideously burned for his pains. A ponderous voiceover by Ishmael (Sevier) perpetuates Ahab’s legend as the bitter, scarred obsessive bent on revenge. Flash forward to Some Generic Remote Wilderness (Canada?) populated by Generic Busty Tavern Wenches, Prophetic Drunk Old Men and Salty Harpooners led by Vinnie Jones, who actually is quite believable in a sit-down-lads-and-I’ll-tell-you-a-tale sort of way. Yes, you heard that right. Sniggers a-plenty in the audience at his appearance but he was one of the best things in it.
Ishmael and Queequeg (Kruse) sign aboard with Ahab, whom they’ve yet to meet. They are reeled in by Ahab’s adopted daughter Rachel (Pernas), though it must be said they’d look more at home in a movie about surfing or even slacking: Dude, where’s my dragon? Rachel, in the manner of many a female protagonist in this sort of caper, proves she can kick ass with the guys but of course, drearily, needs rescuing later on. The young actors are no match for the stupendous Danny Glover, chewing scenery quite magnificently as the crazed Ahab on his doomed quest. His performance lends the whole tawdry schenanigans a shred of dignity. He even manages to rise above a truly terrible burned chest prosthetic; so false that far from inducing horror induced a longing for well-cooked pizza.
I shan’t bother you with the exigences of a silly plot, which has Ishmael, Rachel and Queequeg slaughter a herd of sleeping Wyverns (without waking any of them!) Queequeg’s subsequent breakdown and presentiment of his own death (really, we couldn’t wait) nor of Rachel’s discovery that Ahab harpooned her real father, whose dessicated corpse she handily discovers in Moby Dragon’s mountaintop lair. And yes, Ahab manages to attach himself to the Dragon via a harpoon and a length of rope but not before a rasping bit of redemptive monologuing where he confesses the truth of his sister’s death. He left her to die and was then pursued by the dragon and burned.
But like I say, there are pleasures to be had; the acting for a start. Only Vinnie Jones and Danny Glover knew what sort of film they were in. The American actors delivered their words through clenched jaws. There was zero chemistry between the good-looking leads and often hilarious dialogue. Rachel is menaced sexually by a crew member and tells him ‘you were never any good with a harpoon!’ Meanwhile the rest of the cast tell each other what’s about to happen and take it all far too seriously. What a shame it wasn’t meant as a spoof.
Country Of Origin: USA
Running Time: 94 minutes