So it was the other evening that the family found ourselves seated to watch a DVD. This is not in itself unusual. I quite often purchse a DVD at the Supermarket for perusal on a Saturday night. Over the last year we've watched some great films... "Observe and Report" for instance, which we watched again a couple of days ago. A really well scripted and slightly quirky comedy. On this occasion though the aforementioned DVD purchase was a film called "Barabrossa: Siege Lord". Now, I'm a bit of a history buff myself and the cover (not the above image) showed a scene of epic battle chaos. So I thought to myself, "This could be a quite brutal depiction of actual historic events!" I then purchased said DVD for a price that it would later become clear was somewhat greater than the visual return value.
Almost straight from the off it was clearly low budget, but besides that the script and acting were inordinately bad. The scenes depicting Barbarossa's vast army never really got out of the tens of figures as far as I could see. The film was Italian made and as the Milanese rebelled against their tyrannical ruler, I'm afraid to say that they came across as arrogant and obnoxious not to mention quick-tempered. I hoped that Barbarossa would crush them mercilessly thereafter. In fact, unlike "Spartacus" or "Braveheart", where the rebellions were justifiable, the Milanese seem to have been well-treated by Barbarossa and seem largely autonomous when they first appear. Unfortunately, the grandiose climax where the two opposing forces meet was laughable, with cut-scenes of battle and a charging Barbarossa being played sometimes three or four times. The same clips!!!
Best of all, despite stealing elements from Gladiator, the end battle was in fact a complete rip-off of Braveheart. The heroic speech before-hand was almost identical... "freedom, blah, blah, blah....". When Barbarossa's army were advancing, the same "Wait for it" line was used and even the same idea of faking retreat to reveal "Schilltroms" (armed squares of spearmen) appeared. Something which was in fact unique to the Scots! Disappointingly, the Milanese were victorious!
Now as bad as this film was, it wasn't the worst I've ever seen. That honour goes to a film called "Mummy 2". When "The Mummy Returns" was released on DVD, my wife (much to our ridicule) purchased the aforesaid title thinking it was the latter. The Mummy involved in chasing after and presumably killing some American teenagers, was a bandage -wrapped creature not unlike that you would have perhaps seen in a 1920's silent movie. It moved at the speed of a snail while a cowering teenager screamed helplessly for sometimes several minutes as it advanced like a deranged geriatric, never for a moment considering fleeing from it's pathetic advance. Now that is a film you should watch. It has it's own novelty value, quite comic really, in terms of just how awful it is.