Film Review: Age of the Dragons

Directed by Ryan Little
Starring Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones and Corey Sevier

Why is it that when classic literature is adapted into a new setting it usually stinks unless it’s a teen film? Perhaps the melodramatic qualities of these tales will only translate well to a teenager. Age of the Dragons is a very loose adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick except this time Captain Ahab (Glover) isn’t chasing a white whale, he’s searching for a white dragon. The film follows Ahab’s newest crewmember Ishmael (Sevier) who witnesses his captain’s dissent into madness as he attempts to destroy the wretched beast.

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Does Danny Glover have nothing better to do? He really needs a new Lethal Weapon because he is useless here. Ahab is a character that should be played by a larger than life actor, someone who can be ballsy and crazy, not a man who always sounds like he’s about to have an asthma attack. There is no honesty to his madness; we never feel his need to kill this dragon. This film doesn’t require great skilled actors though, it’s a B-movie, and some hammy performances are welcomed in a film such as this. Nobody understands this more than Vinnie Jones playing shipmate Stubbs; he’s deliciously awful in this, overacting, delivering his lines with all the gusto of a Shakespearian actor who never really made it. It would have been far more convincing (and a hell of a lot more entertaining) if Jones had played Ahab. The more said about the unknowns in this film the better, still special mention must go to John Kepa Kruse who plays Queequeg, an actor who seems to believe that a constant look of constipation on ones face might convey intensity.

The film plods along at a snails pace, relying heavily on Ishmael’s voice over to provide exposition, yet never does it explain anything about the world the film exists in, how its inhabitants coexist with the dragons or why instead of ship or plane, Ahab’s vessel of choice happens to be some sort of ship/automobile hybrid (it’s a motorised boat that moves on dry land with the assistance of wheels) that seems a lot bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, seriously, people walk alongside the boat, at one point Ishmael is chained to the back and is forced to follow it on foot, yet it seems like travelling on foot may be quicker. Yet to lighten the film up there are moments of laughter some intentional (someone asks “Your name is Ishmael?” only to hear the response “You can call me that.”), some not so much (Danny Glover’s appalling delivery on most of his lines and the CGI dragons that made Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon look realistic).

The biggest question is why does this film exist? The script offers nothing new on Melville’s story; it lifts the plot, characters and a hefty amount of dialogue but doesn’t seem to add anything except the dragons. With nothing to add the story you would at least hope that visually we would be offered something new but alas the dull country side/forest locations and the awful CGI give us nothing to look at. There are things to like, but honestly this film should only be watched with friends and drinks.

1.5/5

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