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DVD Review

DVD cover

Dragon Dynasty


Starring: Federico Castelluccio, Aaron Hendry and Dion Basco
Koch Media
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 14 May 2012

When Marco Polo travels to China to conclude a trading treaty with the Emperor, his court magi is less than convinced that this is a good idea. Taking a dragon stone, he releases two dragons which attack the Imperial court. After they are overpowered and returned to the stone, the relic is given to Marco Polo to return with him to Italy. Following their capture, by a local group of barbarians, the court magi turns up and releases the dragons again. The perilous trip back to Italy has now become potentially lethal...

Dragon Dynasty (2006 - 1hr, 24 min, 35 sec) is an average television fantasy movie, directed by Matt Codd from a script by Berkeley Anderson.

The SyFy channel churns out a number of original television movies each year of variable quality, with many generic elements common to most of them. Dragon Dynasty is pretty much a ‘paint by numbers’ production, even the costuming and production looked like they were cobbled together from other projects, although the overall effect isn’t displeasing, making the film look like it cost more than its one million USD.

It’s difficult to comment on the actors performances as they are continually asked to deliver a dull and uninspiring script. Historical inaccuracy abounds, but then if you’re willing to accept Marco Polo and a couple of dragons in the same place you can pretty much accept anything.

Federico Castelluccio plays Marco, he's a reasonable leading man, bringing what gravitas he can to the role. You will recognise James Hong, paying off another mortgage instalment. He’s a stalwart actor, who has hundreds of film and television appearances on his C.V. Here, he plays the fictitious Emperor; the film never explains what happened to Kublai Khan.

The arch villain, Shang Sel (Peter Kwong), follows Marco, continually trying to destroy the party before they reach Italy. Marco, however, is not without his own allies, chief amongst which are Gao Ling (Dion Basco), who brings with him the secret of gunpowder, which becomes vital for the film's ending, Giovanni (Aaron Hendry), Marco’s brother and Ava (Stana Katic) who plays the film's love interest.

The disc supplied was a check disc, so I have no idea what the final product will look like, or if there will be any extras. The disc supplied had a reasonable 16:9 aspect ratio picture with a stereo audio track.

Ultimately, the film is a confusing experience. All the elements are there to make a reasonable, low budget, made for television, fantasy film, but the real experience is somewhat akin to watching paint dry.


Charles Packer

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