While the team of director Lawrie Brewster and writer Sarah Daly have made a name for themselves it has been for inventive horror films such as The Black Gloves and The Devil’s Machine not for fantasy. So I, like many others, was a bit surprised when they announced that they were making Dragon Knight, a cross of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. And it was to be shot on a less than epic budget. They may not have entirely pulled it off, but they’ve come a lot closer than most who’ve tried.
Two hundred years ago the demon Abaddon rose up with a fiendish army and attacked the five kingdoms. Led by an order known as the Dragon Knights and the dragons themselves the kingdoms fought back. But after a hundred years of war, they were defeated and both the dragons and Dragon Knights were thought to have been wiped out.
They were wrong, Braedyn (Ryan Livingstone) the last of the order still remains. He travels the countryside trying to raise an army to fight Abaddon but no one will take the risk. He does, much to his dismay, gain a less than helpful follower in the form of Edwin (Regan Walker, Ghost Crew).
Right from the start, however, Dragon Knight’s two biggest problems are obvious. Ryan Livingston has several credits working in the sound department but this was only his second credit as an actor and it shows. He delivers most of his lines in a furious pitch just below a shout that’s meant to be intense but ends up somewhat comical. On the other hand, Edwin, and the music that frequently accompanies him, is meant to be comic relief, but like so many similar characters, is just irritating.
So irritating that when the assassin Jigme (Megan Tremethick, Werewolf Castle, The Lockdown Hauntings) puts a poison arrow in him I thought Braedyn let her go not out of chivalry, but out of gratitude. Instead, he gets Edwin to a healer (Emily Louise Knutsson) who not only saves a lad but informs the pair that there is still a dragon left alive. Along with Jigme, who suddenly develops a conscience and decides to change sides, they set out to find and recruit it for their cause.
For a film made on a budget of under $100,000, Dragon Knight is very ambitious. That is frequently a problem with films like this as the budget is nowhere near what is needed to put what’s in the script on the screen. Brewster however manages to get a lot for his money. The characters have costumes that look the part rather than leather biker vests from the local flea market. Similarly, the weapons and armour are from a professional prop house, not the dollar store, or this being a Scottish film, Poundland.
It’s also obvious that the cast of Dragon Knight got some training in how to use those weapons as the battle scenes aren’t the embarrassingly poorly choreographed fights that plague so many low-budget films. Actually, a few of them look a bit too polished and come off more like professional wrestling than actual combat.
It all adds up to a reasonably entertaining bit of medieval mayhem. The plot really isn’t anything new and there’s still entirely too much wandering around in the woods. But there are more fights with more people involved than usual to keep it from dragging. When the dragon final does make its appearance the CGI, while not great, is much better than in the likes of Dragon Fury.
Unsurprisingly for almost any kind of fantasy, it ends on a note that suggests this is meant to be the start of a trilogy. Hopefully, Brewster and Daly can fix the issues with this film if there are sequels because there is a lot of potential in the world of Agonos. Dragon Knight is available on DVD and VOD from High Fliers Films, you can check their Facebook page for more information. A deluxe three-disc version is available on Hex media’s website. And if you’re looking for more fantasy, FilmTagger has it.