Now that we got the serious movie out of the way, it’s time to get back to some more Asylum movies. Now I will be completely honest, I did not intentionally go out and buy this movie. This movie just happened to be one movie in a 4 movie collection that I bought solely because it had The Beastmaster in it and I wanted to own that movie. Since the DVD was just $5, I figured that was a good deal and all the other movies were just a bonus. So let’s go ahead and get right into one of those bonus movies, Merlin And The War Of The Dragons.
The plot: In 420 A.D., the Roman Empire has pulled out of Britain and the country has entered into the dark ages. During this time, one of the local king’s daughters is giving birth to a child while elsewhere in the castle, Torm, a seer, is reading some bones and tells King Vortigern that the child should be destroyed. Torm’s teacher, known as The Mage, says the child should be spared and after quickly subduing his former pupil, petitions Vortigern to let him have the child, as he has counselled the king and his forefathers for years. Vortigern agrees and The Mage rides off with the child towards a druid temple. 20 years later, The Mage has been teaching magic to Merlin and another young man, Vendiger. While watching The Mage as he reads his book of spells, Vendiger convinces Merlin to help him get the book as he says it can help Merlin learn who his father is. When The Mage is asleep, Merlin uses a levitating spell to grab the book and he and Vendiger sneak off to read it. Finding the book to be enchanted, Vendiger manages to activate it and asks the book to show Merlin who his father is and Merlin is overcome with images of a dark, horned figure on horseback. Suddenly, the figure gestures towards Merlin and flames burst from the book and engulf Merlin’s hand, causing him to cry out and fall to the ground. The Mage is roused by Merlin’s cry and goes to find him, closing the book and releasing the vision’s hold on Merlin. The Mage then goes after Vendiger, who had run off with the book, and grabs the book and tries to convince Vendiger to return with him but Vendiger, feeling jealous of The Mage’s concern for Merlin and impatient to learn more powerful magic, chooses not to return. The Mage takes Merlin to a nearby lake, where he asks the aid of Lady Nimue to help treat Merlin. Merlin comes to in the secret lair of The Mage and The Mage admits that Merlin is the son of a dark god but says that who Merlin is is not decided by who their parent’s are, but rather what they choose to do with their lives. Back at the lake, Merlin watches Lady Nimue vanish back in the lake and asks who she is and The Mage tells him that there are all manner of gods, who can either be powerful allies or dangerous enemies. Meanwhile, Vendiger has taken shelter from a storm in a large cave and discovers a dragon egg inside. Some time later, Vendiger comes across a group of people that are being attacked by a dragon and he seemingly kills the beast. Later, he celebrates with the survivors and has them drink the dragon’s blood but as the people begin to choke and collapse to the ground, a little girl that refused to drink goes over to the dragon’s body and sees that it is still alive as Vendiger approaches and forces her to drink. Later, Vendiger approaches an army that is attacking King Vortigern and asks to join them, showing that he has several dragons under his control to use as weapons. Meanwhile, Torm is reading the bones and tells Vortigern that evil is coming in the form of a boy who is now a man, and believes it to be Merlin so Vortigern sends Uther and Ambrosis to The Mage’s temple to bring Merlin back. Along the way, they are attacked by a group of picts but Merlin helps his escorts chase them off. Arriving at Vortigern’s camp, Torm tells Vortigern that they should kill Merlin immediately in order to appease the gods but the Mage appears and says that they would be killing their only hope of defeating the oncoming evil. Suddenly, Merlin falls to his knees, overcome with a vision of a white Dragon attacking the camp. A white dragon is spotted in the distance and after it circles the camp, it begins attacking, killing some of the soldiers and seemingly killing the Mage as well. When more dragons appear, Merlin calls forth a blinding light to scare off the creatures, allowing Vortigern and his soldiers to take cover in the woods. In the woods, the Mage appears and says that they have to work together but Vortigern chooses not to heed his advise. The Mage tells Merlin that he is going to track the dragons to their master and wants Merlin to go retrieve Excalibur from Lady Vivianne, Lady Nimue’s sister, but they are unaware that Torm is listening to them. As the Mage is leaving he offers advise to Vortigern, who scoffs at it, then he quietly asks Uther if Vortigern knows who he really is and when Uther says no, the Mage says he should keep it that way. Merlin heads out to a nearby lake and calls out to Vivianne, who offers to give him Excalibur in exchange for what lies within his head. Merlin asks what interest could a god possibly have in what he knows and Vivianne says that he doesn’t give himself enough credit. Vivianne retrieves Excalibur and hands it to Merlin but warns that only the worthy can draw Excalibur as the unworthy will be destroyed and says that he must return Excalibur to her when he is done. Torm witnesses all this and when Merlin leaves, he takes Excalibur from him, planning on using it to kill Merlin like he always wanted but when he draws the sword, he sees an image of his death in the blade and he is suddenly disintegrated. As Merlin sheaths the sword, he sees a vision of Uther and some soldiers being attacked by dragons as well as the Mage being attacked in his home and Merlin quickly heads off. At his home, the Mage is surprised to find Merlin standing among the ransacked place and when Merlin asks what happened, the MAge replies that Vendiger had been looking for the Mage’s book of secrets. Merlin suddenly shoots the Mage with a crossbow and after revealing himself to be Vendiger, asks where the Mage has hidden the book. The Mage manages to get away and is picked up by the real Merlin on horseback. Merlin takes the Mage into the woods, and the Mage tells him that he can’t be saved. He says that there is a way to slay dragons but Merlin must take the Mage’s body to Vivianne as it is the only way she will tell him. Meanwhile, Vortigern is grabbed by a dragon and taken to the camp of Hengist, his former general who is leading the army against Vortigern. Hengist gives Vortigern his terms for surrender and the next morning, Vortigern has his troops assemble out in the open and lay down their arms if they wish to be spared. Uther rallies the soldiers to stand and fight and when Vortigern says Uther shall be executed for treason, Uther says Vortigern will be executed for killing his father and exiling himself and Ambrosis when they were children, as he is the son of the former king. Vortigern attacks Uther but Uther dodges the attack and kills Vortigern, then leads the Britain soldiers against Hengist’s army. When Hengist’s berserkers fail to halt the army, he tells Vendiger to send out his dragons. Seeing the dragons approaching, Uther orders his men to fall back into the forest. Meanwhile, Merlin takes the Mage’s body back to the lake, where Nimue and Vivianne say that the Mage’s body will be taken to Avalon. Merlin asks them about the book of secrets and Vivianne takes him to the Mage’s hidden room, where the book of secrets is kept but tells Merlin that it cannot leave the chamber so Merlin must find his answers there. Back on the battlefield, Uther’s army is beginning to lose hope but Uther says that there is always hope and believes that Merlin will return and help them. Back in the chamber, Nimue warns Merlin that he must leave, as Vivianne intends to keep him prisoner there. When Nimue says the same thing the Mage said about the difference between gods and men, he realizes how to access the book. Merlin learns the secret of defeating dragons when Vivianne approaches and asks him to show her how to access the book. Merlin refuses, saying he has to go back to the battle and help his people but when Vivianne says that Merlin is one of them, he replies that he is only half a god. He goes to leave but finds his way blocked by Nimue, who says he will never leave unless he shows her how to access the book. Vivianne banishes Nimue and takes Merlin back to the surface and hands him Excalibur. Merlin apologizes for not trusting her and promises to return Excalibur, then rides off and meets with Uther and Ambrosis. Coming up with a plan, Merlin has Ambrosis ride out and attract a dragon, then when it gets close, he leaps onto it’s back. As other dragons approach, he stabs the dragon he is riding and kills it, surviving the fall due to the scabbard’s magic. Using the dragon’s blood, Merlin is able to change some of Uther’s men into dragons in order to combat Vendiger’s dragons and Uther is able to lead an attack on Hengist. As the soldiers are fighting, Merlin faces off against Vendiger and Vendiger reveals that his father was also the dark god and overpowers Merlin. As Merlin tries to fight back and summon Excalibur to him, Vendiger grabs the sword before Merlin can. However, the sword finds Vendiger unworthy and he is destroyed. As Uther kills Hengist, he yells out and watches as the dragon’s fall and transform back to human. Merlin approaches Uther and announces him as the new king, and the people yell out their approval. Later, Merlin returns Excalibur to Vivianne and agrees to stay with her for a few days. Meanwhile, Nimue is shown to have saved Vendiger, who is still alive and smiles at Nimue.
This was actually a pretty decent dragon movie. The acting was decent, but I felt that Joseph Stacey (Vendiger) did a better job with his character than a lot of the other actors. The story was interesting, especially for anyone that is a fan of the Arthur legends, because most movies don’t focus on Merlin before he is associated with King Arthur. The dragons looked pretty good but some of the special effects regarding the magic spells were a little weak. Some of the battle sequence looked a little weak as well but I simply chalked that up to being the typical B-movie funding. All in all, there are better dragon movies out there, but there are also a lot worst movies than this one so if you want a bit of mindless entertainment, this isn’t necessarily a bad choice.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5