In the netherscape of Sword and Sorcery Land, a lad takes his training and his lessons from his father.
“You must draw from your surroundings,” the would-be warrior’s dad (Adam Gregory) counsels, dropping the tweenage kid again. Find strength on the ground you fight upon, in other words.
And so the boy knocks down his dad and grows up to wear the furs, leather and the facepaint, to wield a samurai sword and all manner of machete and battleaxe, to vanquish his enemies and spill blood.
He will save the princess and protect “The Veil.”
Well, first he slaps a princess (Alexandra Harris). The Warrior (William Levy) has his motives. And he has her dad’s “sacred” sword because he killed the old man rather than let him “save” his daughter from capture (by stabbing her to death).
“The Veil” is a mud and blood quest fantasy of the “Conan” school, and calling it a B-movie insults a rich tradition of cheap but entertaining Bs.
Left for dead by an opportunistic comrade (Nick E. Tarabay), The Warrior must survive his wounds, recover his health, recover the Desert Princess and have his revenge. On somebody. The Emperor, maybe? That’s how these things usually go.
I know. I’ve watched them all. Something about that pre-history “never history” of Conan the Barbarian and his ilk, tales set in a Dark Age of steel and sinew, lures me in. European or Chinese, Japanese or Indian, I dive into the leather, the big-haired maidens and witches, the stentorian comic book trash talk and prophesy.
“The world of war has given birth to a great warrior. His enemies shall fall by a sword not of man.”
Hallucinations, magic herbs and a second princess — “Zera didn’t mean to harm you. She only wants to know your soul.” — in a peaceful, “we do not kill here” land. Except “You are not welcome here.” Well, was his capture by Zera (Serinda Swan, straight out of the “Steel Magnolias” hair salon) foretold, or not?
A hero needs a sidekick, and Aysel (William Moseley) fills that bill. He’s a bit of a hippy with a “Teach me how to FIGHT them” Jones. Aysel has bigger-than-sidekick ambitions.
“Now KILL me” is his first lesson. “Or I will kill YOU.”
Yes, it’s an insanely silly, dippy installment in a generally dippy genre. Lots of romantic pauses by scenic streams and remote lakes. And this.
“All you’ve ever known is war. One self pitting against the self of another. It is the world of man. And to you, it’s real.”
That Zera could talk the stubble right off a dark-eyed warrior, I tell you what.
Love the gauntlets — sharp elbows for stabbing — love the tents, clever to include a herd of buffalo (filmed in strikingly barbaric Oklahoma), like the costumes, underwhelmed by the swords.
The Cuban Levy has that Christopher Lambert “Highlander” accent requisite to many a sword and sorcery C-movie. Of course, it’s not the accent, it’s the shirtless chest it murmurs out of that counts.
The acting in general isn’t anything to pack onto an audition reel.
They didn’t have a lot of money to make this thing, but the production values are solid, not quite up to the Dark Ages Vikings vs. Brits series, “The Last Kingdom,” but aside from the anachronistic haircuts and middling hardware, not bad.
But the script is a mish-mash of tedious prophetic nonsense, the fights humdrum and the scenes between the fights are unalloyed, uninterrupted tedium.
Where’s the villain? Tardy, or just AWOL? AWOL it is. For most of the movie.
And about this titular “Veil.” It’s a hallucinogenic mask that hides reality from the wearer, blinds him or her and incites visions of prophesies. Nobody calls it a “Veil.” Not that I heard.
MPAA Rating: unrated, violence
Cast: William Levy, William Moseley, Serinda Swan, Nadia Comaneci, Adam Gregory
Credits:Directed by Brent Ryan Green, script by Jeff Goldberg. A Toy Gun release.
Running time: 1:25