måndag 12 oktober 2020

The Iron Mask ( The Mystery Of Dragon Seal )

Most of us are interesting in hearing about history, how each country have experienced their past and even learn about the myths of history. If we would believe in every myth that history books tell us, we would probably doubt that everything is true. Do we really believe that everything in the Greek mythology actually existed ? Do we believe that Gods in India travelled through the sky what seems to be some kind of spaceship ? But there is more realistic pieces of history that we actually know is true, such as French Musketeer D'Artagnan, who served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the guard. The three novels written by Alexander Dumas, is based on the life of D´Artagnan. You might have read about the story of The Man In The Iron Mask, the unidentified prisoner who sat in different prisons for 34 years. There have been a number of films based on the story of this unidentified prisoner, and one of the films that people have probably seen but forgotten about, is the 1998 action drama film The Man In The Iron Mask from director Randall Wallace. The positive thing about this film is the cast, since you have Leonardo Di Caprio, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne and many more. The negative about this film adaptation is that it is not a very well made film. You may have a lot of costumes in this film, but when the characters are not strong enough to carry the film forward, then it does not really matter how many good actors you have on board, unless it is done correctly. Perhaps it is possible that some of you have seen the Russian and Ukraine film known as Viy ( also known as Forbidden Kingdom in the UK ), relased in 2014. This film is a cheesy but fun film, filled with bad acting. So if you enjoy films from a historical perspective, combined with a lot of CGI effects, then Viy might be a good choice, especially if you are a fan of films in the genre of fantasy, science fiction and horror as well. After a few years a part from the film Viy, we got news that a sequel was going to be released. And this time the sequel would have some even bigger names included, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan. And i noticed that this film seems to have a connection to the classic story of The Man With The Iron Mask, but told in a different way than before. Is this a sequel that will help you get inspired for this upcoming Halloween weekend, or is this a disaster from start to finish that should be forgotten?

English cartographer Jonathan Green ( Jason Flemming ) must travel to China in search of a fabled " Dragon Seal ", that holds super powers. Jonathan is unaware that some very dangerous people are also looking for the same thing, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get their hands on the Dragon Seal.

If you enjoyed the first film of Viy, then i know you want to see this sequel. Have this sequel improved on a technical level since the first film ? Not really, i would say this film have a very mixed bag of special effects. You would think that this sequel should have been more epic made, have more stunning action scenes than the first film, but that´s one of my issues with The Iron Mask. The action scenes that could have given us some really fun moments, just feels way too easily constructed for a film like this. There is much more fighting than the first film, but that does not really help The Iron Mask. The only scenes where The Iron Mask get some kind of botox lift, is the fighting scenes where Arnorld Schwarzenegger fights prisoners, and fight against Jackie Chan as well. If only they could have had more screen time together, this film would have been more fun. The lead character from the first film is back, known as Jonathan Green, played by actor Jason Flemyng ( who played Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde in the 2003 sci fi action film The League Of Extrodinary Gentlemen, a film i actually enjoy, even if it is bad ). The character of Jonathan Green is pretty much the same as the first film, but i think he was better developed in the first film with a more solid story to tell. The charming thing about the first film is that it did not take itself too serious, but managed to be more entertaining with horror elements. This sequel tries to go in a different direction, and make it more like a Chinese martial art action film. I can´t say that the idea itself is bad, but it becomes clear that somewhere down the line they seemed to have had too many ideas, and brought them all together anyway. If they only would have focused more on making the action scenes more effective, and better CGI effects, this could have been a fun ride. As it stands now, The Iron Mask feels more like a Saturday TV movie, than a box office experience. Director Oleg Stepchenko probably had fun on set working with Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan, but you can tell that when he is supposed to deliver an entertaining action film for 2 hours, he drags it out too long. If you are a big Jackie Chan fan, you will probably enjoy his scenes as long as they last. The rest of the film is a mixed mashup of different genres, that does not really connect very well towards the end. I suggest you see the first film Viy ( Forbidden Kingdom ) instead and skip this sequel. Too bad, i was kind of hoping The Iron Mask would be more entertaning.

Rating: DD                                                                  

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