You’ve heard the story before, a young adventurer goes out to stop a calamity that threatens the village, or the city, or the world (most movies made nowadays), and bring about peace. This narrative structure has worked as the blueprint for some great and awful films. Now judging by the trailer you might excuse A Warrior’s Tail as run of the mill Hero’s Journey fare, something to distract the kids that sort of thing. Oh no, that doesn’t even come close to the levels of annoyance, contradictory, baffling nonsense that takes course.
Savva is a young boy who manages to evade capture by a pack of coyotes, who we later learn were sent by a faction of apes led by a three headed Momma ape (played by Whoopi Goldberg, the only noteworthy performance). But we’ll get to the apes later. The coyotes attack his village, as his mother distracts them and ends up imprisoned. From here the film starts off confidently, managing to establish some motivation for the characters, and some decent story setup. There are some early warning signs, with some flat voice delivery, and the contradictory look of the coyotes. All that said there’s enough to keep you interested and hope that this film gets better, but after the opening, the film becomes a hot mess.
Savva and Anga meet two annoying talking animals. This group gets captured, or fights some enemies, including some apes, Savva finds out he’s special for no particular reason. Anga turns out to be a “Ricky” (I have no idea how to spell it); a race of wolves who became cursed, turning them into humanoid, ring-wraith looking dudes, after attacking the humans they were meant to protect. The film then proceeds to bizarrely change its direction and tone through this path. The tipping point being after Savva is captured by the “Rickies”, then saved by Anga, after which the “Rickies” ask for help, and they agree?
Climactic, Lord of the Rings battle takes place between laughably ill-equipped apes, and fully armoured, fully armed Mordor guys. Mordor dudes also bring a dragon with them, of course they do, though it hardly seems necessary. This part also demonstrates the poor quality in animation, since nobody dies during the fight, they just played a looping fight animation where neither ape nor “Ricky” falls over, and just copy-paste it.
This display of preposterous plotting is obscene; it’s as if the filmmakers needed to tick off a checklist of all the fantasy film tropes ever conceived without any concern for an intelligible, logical plot to follow.
The film ends on a Deus Ex Machina where Savva and the rest find the magician and she cures their ailments, and the characters journey is rendered pointless. Savva just finds a mirror, because the warrior who will save his village was himself all along! Gasp! The film has no identity of its own, Savva doesn’t go through a journey, he stumbles over plot contrivance, one after another until the film decides it’s over. It’s complete gibberish.
Dir: Maksim Fadeev
Scr: Aleksandr Chistyakov, Maksim Fadeev, Gregory Poirier
Cast: Geoffrey Cantor, Will Chase, Jim Cummings, Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Harris, Orli Hersch, Milla Jovovich, Tyler Merna, Patrick Page, Joe Pesci, Daniel Singer, Sharon Stone, Madeleine Rose Yen
Prd: Samuel Aroutiounian, Fedor Bondarchuk, Aleksandr Chistyakov, Sergey Lubinetsky, Dmitriy Rudovskiy, Ryan Schinmann
Music: Maksim Fadeev
Running Time: 85 mins
A Warrior’s Tail is out in cinemas on 1st April, and on DVD and Blu-ray from 11th April