Crusade of Vengeance

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“Look! Beneath the cheap silliness, some decent performances lurk…”

It’s easy to dismiss this, for its low production values, sometimes laughable dialogue and wildly-implausible plot – and I could hardly argue. Yet we still enjoyed this, thanks largely to performances which sustained us through the bad matte paintings, clunky lines, and mediocre action scenes. Of course, to use a pro-wrestling term, we’re huge Rutger marks, so seeing him as evil medieval warlord Grekkor is a big plus, harking back to his work in Flesh + Blood for Paul Verhoeven. Pacula is a “crusader mom” (for want of a better word), back from the Holy Land where she vowed to go after making a deal with God to let her son survive. However, she returns just after Grekkor and his sidekick (Vosloo) have swept her boy off with them. She goes to rescue him, teaming up with three other women on the way, as she heads towards the inevitable confrontation with Grekkor.

Despite a weird Scandinavian accent that seems out of place in what’s supposed to be England (and is actually Lithuania), Pacula does well, bringing the right intensity to her ‘wronged mother’ role. Hauer is fab as we expected, while Vosloo gets to act more than in either Mummy movie, and is actually good. They help hold up a film that occasionally wobbles between uncomfortable rape scenes, silly humour and Culver’s costume, that resembles a fur coat which has gone through a shredder. Between that and her height, she looks more like the model she was, than a forest huntress, but does kick butt in an efficient manner. While the story goes almost exactly as you’d expect, this is one of those cases where you will be entertained, if you allow yourself to be. If no-one will mistake this for a classic, cut the movie some slack, and work with the film, rather than picking holes in it. Especially for those still mourning the death of Xena, the payoff will be more than adequate for a rental on a midweek night.

The film was released by MTI Home Video on January 24th. See their site for more details.
Dir: Byron W. Thompson
Star: Joanna Pacula, Arnold Vosloo, Rutger Hauer, Molly Culver
a.k.a. Warrior Angels

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