Kingdom of Gladiators
In a kingdom far away, in a non-specific period in history, a legendary something something has awoken in blankety blank. Now, a group of arbitrarily assembled people must FIGHT to PROTECT the place where they live, and possibly for survival also. LOVE. HONOUR. BREASTS. CHAINMAIL.
My hopes were never high for Kingdom of Gladiators. At best, I was expecting a low-budget romp, somewhere vaguely between Mortal Kombat and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. I was quite willing to sit back and enjoy Kingdom of Gladiators for what it was, perfectly happy to encounter cheesy yet enthusiastic fight scenes, a quasi-believable love story and some sort of nebulous message pertaining to hope and honour toward the end. I was determined not to be a snob about it. I failed. But not as much as Kingdom of Gladiators did at being an actual film.
The film opens on King Wolfkahn (Murphy), striding across what we must assume is an abandoned battlefield. We’re not really sure though. There’s some swords sticking out of the ground, and I think that’s supposed to lead us to the assumption that something bad has happened. Something in a cape shows up, and makes a pact with him. It’s hard to discern what this pact is, or the plot that immediately follows it. Words like “honour” and “bravery” and “legend” are thrown around a lot. Anyway, this demon threatens to steal the King’s children. The King, of course, believes the whole encounter is a dream. Some time later, he has a daughter (Lorraine) who is then stolen. Twenty years later, she returns on the same day as the annual gladiator tournament. The widowed King is overjoyed. She might be evil, or a demon, or just very aroused. We’re not sure. They watch the gladiator contest with the help of ten extras, who apparently represent the entire kingdom. Two of the gladiators are in love, but we don’t know why, or when, or for how long. We actually don’t know anything about them at all, other then they enjoy doing the horizontal Charleston together. This, as you can imagine, is documented in great detail.
The rest of the plot carries on in an equally bizarre way. Things happen, and the film quickly reaches ‘hilariously bad’ territory. However, it’s difficult to enjoy even this, considering how slowly the plot moves. King Wolfkahn has obviously taken a tip from the Adam West school of acting, and says everything in a slow meditative and methodic manner, guaranteeing extra camera time. It’s almost like he knows how slim his chances are of ever working again.
It’s difficult to know where to start with criticising Kingdom of Gladiators, considering the well-rounded awfulness of the entire production. The script, direction and cinematography were all of impressively equal and parallel shitness. The actors (predominantly played by pro-wrestlers) seemingly have very little idea what they’re doing, or how they got there. You’re not even sure how you got here, or why you’re watching it. Or why you’re drunk, and openly weeping. Watch this movie if you want to be reminded how much you hate movies.