Dark Relic Reviews
Why is it that I expect SyFy Channel Original Movies to be good? Decent, even? By now I have seen so many examples of crappy Sci-Fi (now SyFy for some idiotic reason) Channel Original Movies that you'd think I'd know better. And yet I keep watching them. Case in point: Dark Relic, a period piece from first-time director Lorenzo Sena and written by SyFy veteran Andy Briggs (Rise of the Gargoyles).
The basic idea: a bunch of Templars find a piece of the One True Cross and head back to Rome with it, picking up a few stragglers along the way. Some of those stragglers are Arabs, which leads to a good deal of infighting, tension, and prejudice from the locals. This in addition to various supernatural evil beasts trying to kill them because they possess a piece of the One True Cross and took it out of Jerusalem.
It's actually not an awful concept, but the execution is pure SyFy. Throw in a couple of attractive folks (Clemency Burton-Hill is the female lead, and is classically cute, playing against True Blood's ruggedly handsome James Frain) and some low-budget special effects and you have a movie, right? Well, kind of, if you want to overlook such niceties as script, costume design (you've never heard me rag on costume design before, it's true, but cloth painted to look like chain mail? Oh, come on now), plot, etc. These actors, who are actually not half bad, do the best they can with what they're given. But that isn't much at all. * 1/2
Such mindless repetition of dangerous racial and religious stereotyping dangerously maleducates the people who vote in today's news-addicted, processed and preconditioned world.
Dark Relic is a movie that has average acting, average directing, and an above average script.
James Frain is quite good in the lead role. He plays the veteran crusader, who has retired, and is questioning his faith on the way back home, having survived the violence. His character isn't that original, but like I said, he's average.
Frain and his veteran crusader team, along with a devout priest, recover a "Dark Relic", the nature of which I won't reveal, because anyone reading this review is probably going to watch the movie, so no major spoilers. The relic is cursed, and hardships and evil follows it.
Clemency Burton-Hill also does an adequate job. She plays the scorned peasant, enslaved to the rich nobles. She has become an atheist because she believes that if there were a god, she would not be living in a horrible world like the one she's in.
Frain and his crew meet up with a nobleman, along with Clemency. The new group meets up with some Muslim travelers, who ally themselves with Frain.
This leads to the strongest point of the movie. It's a surprisingly deep and insightful exploration of Muslim/Christian relations. In fact, the movie is very informative about that relation, and I learned quite a few things (which upon research, proved to be true) from this fantasy SyFy movie.
Dark Relic is a film that is better than quite a few recent theatrical films of 2010 (Legion and Skyline, to name a few), and its quite good.
in fact, the recently released film "Season of the Witch" which, in fact, is basically the same thing as Dark Relic, except worse.
I enjoyed Dark Relic, and I've seen it multiple times, and I recommend it as a good movie.