Age Of The Dragons Review: A Beached Whale


AotD300AGE OF THE DRAGONS (12A): On General Release Friday 4th March

Age Of The Dragons had the potential to be gloriously trashy. A reimagining of Moby Dick but with dragons instead of the titular white whale, and starring Danny Glover, this has got “Cult Classic” written all over it. Unfortunately, it’s just as bad as it sounds but not bad enough to be ironically enjoyable.

The story will be familiar to anyone that’s read or seen the source material. Whaler (or in this case Dragon Hunter) Ishmael (Corey Sevier) and his companion Queequeg (Kepa Kruse) board the ship Peaquod (this time a mobile fort on wheels) run by the enigmatic Captain Ahab (Danny Glover), a figure shrouded in legend after a white dragon killed his sister and left him disfigured.

His crew is comprised of tough guy Stubbs (Vinnie Jones), the reasonable veteran Starbuck (David Morgan) and the hot-headed and clear liability Flask (Larry Bagby). In a departure, they’re joined by Rachel (Sofia Pernas), Ahab’s hard-as-nails adopted daughter, as they set out for the desolate northern wastes to wreak Ahab’s revenge on the dragon that scarred him.

The presence of Danny Glover might be enough to tempt some people to see this – many cinemagoers will have fond memories of his action roles in Lethal Weapon or even Predator 2 but here he chews scenery as if it were gum, growling overwritten lines with more gravel than Christian Bale’s Batman, a feat which probably kept Strepsils afloat through their entire last quarter..

The largely unknown cast look like they could have stepped out of a cosmetics commercial, all sparkling white teeth and flawless complexions. Consequently, it feels either like a) a feature length episode of Xena or the even less well known Adventures Of Sinbad or b) like the cast of Beverley Hills 90210 have decided to go for an adventure weekend.

The acting is utterly appalling, lines are delivered so woodenly, it’s difficult to tell whether it’s the scenery or the characters which are speaking and it’s hard not to raise a critical eyebrow when some of the best work is done by Vinnie Jones.

There’s also a crippling lack of consistency. At one point Ishmael defends Rachel from an attack and while he’s engaged in the subsequent fight, she stands there like a pathetic ingénue despite having beaten seven kinds of snot out of a gang of muggers only half an hour previously.

For a film which promises dragons, they feature curiously little and when they do appear they resemble cast offs from ITV’s Primeval. Their appearance almost always leaves the cast transfixed: glassy stares are either actors struggling to be afraid of something that isn’t actually there or puzzlement at the fact that the dragons look more like giant bats than fire-breathing beasts of legend.

Age Of The Dragons is a limp, unimpressive sham of a movie, an embarrassment to Danny Glover’s CV and almost certain to be broadcast on schlock channel Movies 24 in the near future. Don’t call me Ishmael, we’ll call you.