Magus


Dir: John Lechago
Star: Ron Fitzgerald, Bill Steele, Lizzy Strain, Eva Derrek

For something obviously made on a low-budget, this is quite ambitious, with a good number of digital effects during the battles between the various wizards. These are fairly impressive, but get more than a bit repetitive, especially in the grand finale - if the protagonists had done more than lob CGI fireballs at each other, it would have been an improvement, as in truth, this gets a bit tedious. Overall, though, not too bad: Fitzgerald is an evil magician, intent on domination, who has to take out the others who can interfere with his power-grab. The last of these is Felix (Steele): because he's now retired, he has to come back to full strength, assisted by his niece, Claudia, who is - what are the odds? - about to get her martial-arts black-belt. Cue the training montage!

Elements of this are quite admirable. Steele is not at all your typical hero, being in his fifties and resembling your odd relation that no-one in your family wants to talk about, far more than a grand wizard. Derrek as evil henchwoman Sen, is impressive in action, in a number of ways [if you know what I mean, and I think you do], and the fight sequences are nicely-staged, though the teased battle between Claudia and Sen never amounts to much. There's also an entirely-redundant supporting character, apparently a love interest for Claudia, yet it's botched by bad writing and acting. Still, we get Julie Strain as a fortune-teller, though I never realised rolling around on a table in a see-through blouse was part of the job description. If all about as silly as it sounds, this largely managed to keep us lightly amused, at least until the final battle. That proves anti-climactic, despite another impressive effect (specifically, a good bit of face-melting), and the film likely deserved something better.

[The film was released in the US on April 8th by MTI Home Video, and includes biographies and production notes. For more information, see the MTI website.]

C+
[April 2008]


Mad Magus
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