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DVD Review

DVD cover

Kingdom of Blood
Legend of the Red Eagle


Starring: Alex Amaral, Pepa Aniorte and Giselle Calderón
Revolver Entertainment
RRP: £17.99
Certificate: 15
Available 30 April 2012

Gonzalo de Montalvo, who leads a double life as both a school teacher and part time Spanish Ninja hero, becomes embroiled in a plot by the French, English, Portuguese and elements of the Catholic Church, to assassinate the king of Spain. When he is approached by a damsel in distress, requesting his help to rescue her father, Montalvo attempts to help leads to the blinding of his own son...

Kingdom of Blood: Legend of the Red Eagle (2011 - 1 hr, 58 min, 18 sec) is a feature length film which has grown out of the success of the Spanish television show, Aguila Rosa, which explains some of the initially confusing aspect of the movie. The film was directed by José Ramón Ayerra Díaz.

Based on the insanely popular and expensive Spanish show, the film was obviously made for fans. Against the backdrop of a Summit convened to sort out the differences between the King of Spain, Felipe IV (Xabier Elorriaga) and his neighbours, the Portuguese, the story opens with the Red Eagle (David Janer) rescuing Beatrice (Martina Klein) who is carrying a map to a secret castle, where her father, Lope de Villamediana (Joan Crosas), has been imprisoned.

So, we already have two plots on the go, though not the one involving Red Eagle and Cardinal Mendoza (Jose Angel Egido), which seem to crop up in reports of the film by people who patently haven’t bothered to actually watch it. This A/B structure is pretty usual for a film, however Red Eagle goes one better adding several layers of subplots, including a plot to assassinate the Red Eagle, a fake priest who gets caught up in the Summit, after a chance encounter with the pope, Nuño’s (Patrick Criado) blinding and the general invasion of 17th Century Spain.

Many of these subplots would have made a good film in their own right, especially the fake priest whose personal arc was not only the funniest, but probably one of the best things about the film. Gathered together, it makes for a confusing experience as we are introduced to each of the character with no attempt to place them in any context. Eventually, you get to grips with the characters and the film turns into a very reasonable action adventure.

It’s an enjoyable film, if not a particularly challenging one. The Red Eagle is an unlikely hero, a Ninja Spaniard, which, when you think about it, is no more absurd than a man who dresses as a bat. The secondary characters are all out of the A to Z of clichéd characters, so the damsels are beautiful, the peasants are bumbling idiots who remain charming and the bad guys are bewigged, pantomime, moustache twirlers.

Unsurprisingly, the film reminded me of Le Chevalier Tempête (1967) and various incarnations of The Three Musketeers, as both were, likewise, set in the 17th Century.

The film is presented with a very decent 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture and the option for either Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 Spanish audio tracks, with burned in English subtitles. The disc has a number of small extras on it, but in these financially difficult times its nice to see anything on the more obscure discs. There are four Making of... featurettes, which cover aspects of the film's making (10 min, 12 sec), The story (8 min, 44 sec), the production (12 min, 09 sec) and the character (9 min, 15 sec), all with contributions from the main cast and crew.

After a bumpy start, mostly because I was not aware of whom the various characters were, it settles down into a decently enjoyable period romp. The production values are such that if you didn’t know you were viewing an extension of a television show, will all of the same actors, you would presume that his was a big budget Spanish film.


Charles Packer

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