Kingdom of Gladiators
R2 - United Kingdom - Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (28th September 2011).
The Film

Back in 2000, Russell Crowe starred in the Ridley Scott epic Gladiator which was greeted with huge acclaim from critics and moviegoers alike. Over the next few years, Hollywood made a few movies based upon Gladiator's including a remake of Clash of the Titans and Zack Snyder's very stylish 300, based on the comic book. The boxoffice success of Gladiator also helped bring series such as Rome and Spartacus: Blood and Sand to the small screen and of course, many copycat low budget films, hoping to cash-in on the Gladiator genre. Kingdom of Gladiators is one of these low budget independent features and is Italian director Stefano Milla's second feature film after Claang the Game, another Gladiator movie.

The synopsis from the press release is as follows:
In an ancient world where magic is common and mighty warriors roam, a King faced by merciless opponents enters into a pact with a demon to ensure his victory at all costs. After ruling for many years, the mysterious demon reappears to the King at a Royal Tournament and claims his settlement – the lives of the court’s descendants and eventually the destruction of mankind. Three powerful gladiators are chosen from the competitors to hunt down the demon, break his spell and protect the realm. But as the forces of darkness prepare to rise, can the gladiators overcome their differences and undertake an incredible adventure that may end in the ultimate sacrifice? The warriors are ready, let the final battle commence.

Now let's get one thing out the way fast... This is not a particularly good film. The acting is regrettably poor, with such a mish-mash of accents throughout characters that are supposedly from the same place. The development of the characters are rather non-existant and one of the more interesting characters, Teela (Annie Social), has unfortunately been over-sexualised when she could have been used in a more powerful way. The fight choreography is abysmal and made me laugh throughout, reminding me of play fights you see five year old children have. In fact, the fight choreography is where the bulk of the budget SHOULD have gone, as there are plenty of fight scenes.

The script is another sour point. As I said in the previous paragraph, character development is non-existant but that doesn't mean all the dialogue had to be so hammy. Was a script even written or was it completely filmed on the fly?

Now, despite the low budget nature of the movie, there were a couple of nice little surprises included that took me completely unawares. First off, is the scenery footage. Very well shot, the scenery is absolutely stunning and feels as though it has come from some sort of documentary. Secondly, the orchestral score is surprisingly good and suits the majority of the scenes very well indeed. Unfortunately, it isn't made clear who was responsible for the score and imdb doesn't throw anything up, but the composer should be happy that he is essentially the highlight of an otherwise unprofessional feeling movie.

Is it worthy watching? Not at all, but I do think there is fun to be had on a lads night in with a few beers just to laugh at how bad some elements really are. In fact, you'll probably start drunkenly recreating the fight scenes yourselves (and doing a far better job).

Video

Well, this was a surprise. Usually independent low budget features are rather poor in the video department no matter how recent they may be. Kingdom of Gladiators bucks that trend and although not good enough to use as reference material, the colours are vivid, and there was no damage I noticed. All in all, an impressive little job. The picture is presented anamorphically at 1.78:1.

Audio

Just the one option here and that is English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Seperation is unfortunately minimal and whilst a 5.1 track would have been ideal for the score and for the clash of swords, the stereo track is adequate. No subtitles have been included.

Extras

The disc starts with a trailer for Ray Winstone vehicle Tracker, which is also reviewed here at Rewind.

Other than that, the lone extra available from the 'extras' menu is a deleted scene entitled The Tavern. It's rather lengthy but adds nothing worthwhile to the plot and was rightfully cut. I would've liked to have seen an optional commentary for the scene though from the director.

As usual, a disc can be packed to the rafters but I can always think of an extra I would've liked to have seen included. In this case, an isolated score would've gone down a treat. Some online stores list a couple of featurettes as being included, but they certainly weren't on the disc I received.

Overall

The acting and fight choreography are unbelievably poor, even for a low budget movie but the score and scenery sometimes combats that at times though not enough to recommend it to anyone. Picture quality is surprisingly good and audio adequate. The lone extra is a welcome inclusion, but not of particular interest. Rent it if you have nothing better to do.

The Film: D Video: B+ Audio: C Extras: D- Overall: D+

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.