Thursday, March 5, 2015

Movie review: Dungeons & Dragons 3 The Book of Vile Darkness

Dungeons & Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness 
Starring: Anthony Howell, Dominic Mafham, Jack Derges, Eleanor Gecks, Beau Brasseaux, James Rawlings, Aaron Saxton, Austin Naulty, Hardy Gatlin, Charlotte Hunter, Tsvetan Hristov, Kaloian Vodenicharov, Barry Aird, Habib Nasib Nader, Vladimir Vladimirov, Michael Patrick Rogers, Lex Daniel, Adam Sibley, Sara Thomas Easley, Lloyd Pitts, John C. Klein, Vladimir Kolev, Velizara Stoyanova, Ryan H. Jackson, Yana Titova
Glenn Aucoin, Stephen M. Packard, David Earl Gleason
Director: Gerry Lively
Bomar OOD, Zinc Entertainment Inc, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, 2012.
Dungeons & Dragons 3: The Book of Vile Darkness title
Long ago evil wizard Nhagruul the Foul made a pact with the demons of Abyss so that his soul would live forever. In exchange his skin and bones was used to make an evil book, not Necronomicon but the Book of Vile Darkness. Everyone who read the book became mad and evil. Worshippers of Evil used the book to terrorize the land of Karkoth until Knights of the New Sun gained blessing from Pelor the God of Light and destroyed evil. The disciples of Nharguul managed to hide the book. Being proud of their achievements the Knights forgot Pelor. 

A new knight Grayson Azriel (Jack Derges) is joining brotherhood of the New Sun. He seeks blessing from Pelor, but no knight has gained it for hundreds of years. Grayson is disappointed. Evil barbarian wizards capture Graysons father (Anthony Howell) and knock Grayson unconscious. He gets some information from prostitute named Carlotta (Charlotte Hunter). Her brother was a knight also so she helps him. 
Jack Derges and Anthony Howell
Grayson with his father
Evil wizards attack
Charlotte Hunter
A trip to the weapon shop: on Grayson's shopping list are for example Bag of Holding, Night Armour (paragon class!) and Vicious blade. Mercenaries are hired in nearby inn. They work for lord Shathrax (Tsvetan Hristov) who kidnapped Grayson's father. Shatrax is trying to find the missing parts of the Book of Vile Darkness. Grayson must join the team of assassins to get to Shatrax and free his father. With them is a Shadar-Kai mage Akordia (Eleanor Gecks), vermin lord Bezz (Barry Aird) who oozes insects, barbarian warrior Vimak (Habib Nasib Nader) and assassin Seith (Lex Daniel). 
Magical weapon shop
Eleanor Gecks
Shadar-Kai mage Akordia
Barry Aird
Next thing to do is to kill a dragon and loot its lair. Finding live prisoners causes conflict of work ethics, but Grayson manages to save their lives promising the mercenaries a reward in nearby town. However by doing that he lets foxes in the henhouse. It is becoming harder and harder for him to maintain his lawful good alignment as his evil companions start to rip the town apart. 
Red dragon attacks
Habib Nasib Nader and Lex Daniel
Vimak and Seith
Eleanor Gecks
Akordia in leisure time
As Grayson's mission to get to Shatrax is not advancing, he must weed out some of his group members. Bag of holding (that can hold huge amounts of stuff) comes in handy for hiding the bodies. After fighting an undead monster Grayson gets the covers of the Book of Vile Darkness so he is finally ready to meet Shatrax. 
Unusual way to use bag of holding
Clearly the movie has grittier and darker feel than the earlier D&D films although I haven't seen D&D 2. [Update: the review of D&D 2 is here and yes, the third is the darkest] What makes the movie interesting are the unusual setting with a group of anti-heroes. Bezz is an intelligent and sarcastic sociopath, Seith is a champion of evil, Vimak is a vengeful muscle-man and Akordia is the compulsory "Bond-girl". The plot revolves around the question of how far Grayson is willing to go to save his father. There are also many nods to the games, with familiar items and spells that could be directly from D&D rule books.

The nagging comes from the fact that Shatrax the Mind Flayer is not Cthulhu-like tentacle-faced monster as in original games, but a bloke with a jewel embedded on his forehead and mouth sewn shut. The special effects are good direct-to-video level. The battles could be better, especially the end fight is very short. Still this is at least a movie that uses Dungeons & Dragons material well, and the story follows its own logic with some twists. There are even a couple of creepy monsters.
Tsvetan Hristov
Shatrax the Mind Flayer (and the mind flayer from the games)

Rating: Good (as a small budget film)

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