LEGENDARY

3 out of 10

UK / China co-production

Release Date: 18th May 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Eric Styles (Miss Conception / Relative Values / Dreaming of Joseph Lees)

Cast: Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren, Lydia Leonard, Yi Huang, Nathan Lee, Le Geng and James Lance

Writer: Andy Briggs

Trailer: LEGENDARY

7581The makers of this action-sci-fi-horror-thriller oddly choose to match the tone of Xena-Warrior Princess or Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The vibe is colourful, ‘fun’ and bouncy not scary, dark or threatening. This is odd because its about a man-eating dragon creature that’s munching engineers at a dam in China. Dealy game-hunter Dolph Lundgren (THE EXPENDABLES) faces off against a bunch of eco-warriors led by Scott Adkins (UNDISPUTED 2). Let the battle commence.

Well, those waiting for a chop-socky showdown between the two well-known leads will be disappointed. I think Adkins slaps Lundgren’s face and that’s it.  Dolph Lundgren has always been one of my favourite actors that tend to splash around at the dumb end of the filmmaking swimming pool. He’s a confident performer with an admittedly narrow range but he always delivers a competent performance which puts him ahead of the likes of his peers like Jean-Claude Van-Damme, Steven Seagal or even Jason Statham.  Here he’s his usual jovial face and he must have been chuffed to find a film where he didn’t even have to fight or run. He just points a rifle at things and shoots them. He travels across some water in a boat at one point too. As for Scott Adkins, he’s been known to take some non-action roles in big films like Zero Dark Thirty and Holby City, and he can be caught being good on occasion. Sadly, Dolph’s given him all the crap lines as the boring good guy with a a giant goofy grin. He’s backed up a gang of dorks straight from one of said American early evening TV serials. They are made up of corny scientist (LYDIA LEONARD – ARCHIPELAGO), posh British dork (JAMES LANCE – NORTHERN SOUL) and cool Chinese dude (NATHAN LEE).  The detection methods these guys use to try and outwit Dolph’s team of goons are embarrassing and sloppy. The plot races from one duff scenario to the next in the spirit of a sheltered ‘boys-own’ adventure. The monster isn’t even scary and the passable special effects cancel out any thrills owed. The end showdown with the beast is above average for a quickie like this – but there are weak attempts to telegraph a potential sequel which will make everybody’s toes curl. This has to be the cheesiest film Britpic has seen to date, yet it’s still not the worst by a long chalk.

3 out of 10 – An action film for naive teenagers and Dolph Lundgren completists only (they exist)!

Second review below

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Scott Adkins: Doctor Strange, Hard Target 2, Undisputed 4, Criminal (2016), Eliminators, Jarhead 3, Zero Tolerance, The Brothers Grimsby,  Re-Kill, Ninja 2, The Legend of Hercules, Green Street 3, Universal Soldier 4, Zero Dark Thirty, The Expendables 2, Assassination Games, Undisputed 3, The Tournament, X Men: Wolverine, Undisputed 2, The Bourne Ultimatum, Eastenders (TV)
  • Dolph Lundgren: Kindergarten Cop 2, War Pigs, Hail Caesar, The Expendables 3, Universal Soldier 4, The Expendables 2, One In The Chamber, Stash House, Small Apartments, In The Name of The King 2, The Expendables, Universal Soldier 3, Command Performance, Direct Contact, Diamond Dogs, Fat Slags, Johnny Mnemonic, Universal Soldier, Big Showdown In Little Tokyo, Dark Angel, Red Scorpion, The Punisher (1989), Masters of the Universe, Rocky IV, James Bond – A View To a Kill
  • Lydia Leonard: Born of War, Archipelago
  • James Lance: The Devil Went Down To Islington, Northern Soul, The Look of LoveBel Ami, City Rats, Bronson, Marie Antoinette, Late Night Shopping
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One thought on “LEGENDARY

  1. LEGENDARY – revew by Joe Pesci II aka Matt Usher

    Obviously international co-operation is vital, despite what UKIP says. Surely it’s better to celebrate what binds us together than to bicker over what divides us. And, bizarrely, it appears that one thing which binds China and Britain together is a shared love of cheap anodyne monster movies starring Dolph Lundgren.

    We dive straight into the action, meeting cryptozoologist (I’m sure that’s a real job) Scott Adkins as he and his team seek out a giant bear. Cryptozoologists have it easy – they’re seeking animals which don’t really exist and so make their careers by exhibiting blurred photographs and pictures of where the beast was a second ago before it moved. But Adkins is great at his job, because, lo and behold, less than three minutes in, there’s a giant bear! But then Dolph Lundgren pops up and ruins everything, the bear scarpers and the character who I thought would die first died first (albeit twenty minutes before I thought likely).

    Our hero is morose about this and hides from the world, a recluse who cannot be found, even though he seems to be in his office in the centre of London. The brief shot of Big Ben reminds us that there’s British money in this somewhere. As does the arrival of James Lance as a lawyer for a mysterious client. Lance knows he’s in homogenised pan-continental monster-movie dross and acts accordingly. But he brings exciting news from China! A giant lizard-thing is rampaging about, unseen by everyone except a bloke who managed to make a really good film of it. Adkins lights up (I suppose – his acting doesn’t do ‘lights up’ but he has a beaming banana smile so I guess that’s the same thing), gets the gang together and heads to China. With the lawyer in tow for some reason.

    The China bits are great. The big lizard-beast has been spotted near a project to build massive pipeline. There’s a beautiful line, delivered by Lance as if he didn’t believe a word of it but had a gun to his head (though that describes his performance throughout), which I guess was added at the request of co-producers the China Film Group: ‘Its route was meticulously planned to minimise any disturbance to local wildlife’.

    The team expands: alongside the grinning Adkins and embarrassing Lance, we also get Lydia Leonard (the practical one), Nathan Lee (cool quirky technical one), Geng Li (the teacher who filmed the beastie just after it ate his brother, who flits in and out of the film, even sometimes flitting in and out of individual scenes) (there’s a bit where they’re all trapped in a sort of giant hamster wheel cage thing but he’s not always in the cage – but hasn’t escaped), and there’s the morally conflicted scientist (Yi Huang) who works for the other side (and who falls for Adkins’ beaming smile). You see, the Chinese have also hired Dolph Lundgren to hunt down the lizosaur! Yes, Lundgren lurks! Whereas Adkins is a good cryptozoologist intent on protecting and imprisoning the creatures he uncovers, Lundgren is like a cowardly lion-murdering dentist, happy to use Adkins’ resources against him so he can find the reptile-thing, but, being evil, kill it.

    The film blunders from one minor scrape to another, the monster rarely appearing. The actors enjoy their holiday; and at least Lance and Leonard manage to construct a romantic subplot with no dialogue. Unless all the dialogue was cut. There seems to be much that was cut from the film. Like anything remotely interesting or exciting. Though I liked the bit at the end where it looked like the cast might have to escape by running hamster-like round that wheel-cage thing.

    You may suspect this is a film where characters become lizard food at frequent intervals. Wrong. This is a happy clappy family-friendly sort of film, devoid of confrontation, upset, controversy, and death (almost). Which would be fine if it made up for those absences with some sort of excitement, intelligence, innovation or beauty. But the film can’t even find any decent locations (actually that’s unfair, but the film fails to make any use of its scenery, concentrating on drab boats and the extremely efficient and well regulated building site that the Chinese government has scrupulously set up). And then there’s the big finale in the cave of the lizard-beasts, which is actually quite good (given all that’s gone before). The film ends on an upbeat, the heroes CGId into an improbably small hut and being grateful (again) for China’s splendidly progressive environmental policies.

    What fun is to be had? Some will like Lundgren’s snarling villain, others will be drawn to the charming niceness of Adkins. The supporting players are reassuringly bland. If they had been picked off at regular intervals I doubt if I’d have noticed. Oh. Maybe they were? The lizard-thing is pretty acceptable without being remotely scary (even for children). Which leads us to the big question: who is this for? Apart from being made in the interests of fostering world peace, LEGENDARY serves no purpose. Neither lead has much to do, and it’s too talky for children (and there’s one gruesome bit –a semi-comic post-mortem – which precludes it from the children’s menu). So it must be for adults. Adults who haven’t seen JURASSIC PARK. Adults for whom THE JUNGLE BOOK is too edgy. So, it’s a tremendously duff, bland, unadventurous film which would look substandard even on Syfy channel. But, in the end, if films like this can prevent World War Three then it’s worth it. Just about. On balance. Isn’t it?

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