Are you a fan of The Lord of the Rings, westerns, military flashback dramas and… rednecks?
Are you a fan of The Lord of the Rings, westerns, military flashback dramas and… rednecks? Well, to each their own. But if you do happen to fall into this niche group, Dragonfyre (aka Orc Wars) was meant for you (still not convinced you exist, though). Writer/director Kohl Glass’ major motivation in creating this low budget movie appears to be access to Lord of the Rings orcs and props. But just because you shoot your film in Utah doesn’t mean you have to incorporate the Old West. Glass’ real fault here – and it’s evident from the very beginning – is a lack of coherence in the story (by producers Jason Faller and Kynan Griffin). From wait, what? moments to you’ve gotta be kidding me, Dragonfyre is an absolute mess – and not even a very entertaining one at that.
The movie opens with a band of orcs tracking an elven princess, Aleya (Masiela Lusha). Poorly. So poorly that a mysterious robed spirit à la Galadriel appears to urge them on (sporting an actual replica of the sword Sting from the Lord of the Rings series), simultaneously giving Aleya more time to get away. But she doesn’t put much effort into running, possibly because some random old cowboy-looking guy is going to save the day and confuse us all with his presence. His sudden death is meant to be dramatic, but the suspense doesn’t really hold. When the movie switches over to army veteran and new homeowner John Norton (Rusty Joiner), it gets even worse.
Evidently, a portal opened near Norton’s remote farmhouse and that’s why Weta Workshop’s orcs are wandering the canyons. But the ridiculous combination of characters is bewildering above all else. Norton is just a good ole boy, although less redneck than minor characters Leeroy (Jake Van Wagoner) and Scooter (Maclain Nelson). The humans – essentially Norton and his real estate agent, Katie (Clare Niederpruem) – are understandably confused by these orcs but, in Norton’s case, unbelievably receptive when this whole magic portal plot is laid out for him and eager to join in the fighting. With an arsenal of guns (and tanks?!), Norton becomes a replacement for the former “Sentinel” and guardian of the portal – yes, that’s what the cowboy was. On top of that, there’s also a blind Indian mystic named Whitefeather (Wesley John). He’s also a samurai. Sure, why not.
The bulk of Dragonfyre is pretty fake looking gunfire and massive CGI explosions. For a fantasy film, it’s heavy on the out-and-out military combat setups, and that becomes repetitive very quickly. Glass works off of the assumption that darkening the frames will infuse scenes with added tension and foreboding. The most entertaining part of this movie is spotting Lord of the Rings props, unless you’re more annoyed by them than amused that they are so flagrantly used in this B-movie. Story-wise, Glass predicates his script on such a mish-mash of characters and genres that viewers will likely give up on understanding what’s happening before any attempt at exposition is even made. The finale half leaves things open for a sequel, but that would be ill-advised, to say the least.