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Beowulf (1999)
Director: Graham Baker

review by Ian Shutter

A monstrous and violent thing stalks the dimly lit corridors of a besieged fortress while a vigilant army surrounding it executes anyone that tries to escape, and waits for the futuristic citadel to fall. Then, along comes Christopher Lambert in ultimate warrior guise (dressed and styled like Roy Batty from Blade Runner), just in time to save a scantily clad babe from being chopped up by the skull-faced killer. Later, Lambert's 'Beowulf' is inside the gloomy castle, offering his services to those huddling in fear of a ferocious beast (perhaps the least interesting vision of Grendel ever committed to film!) that's sending them all to hell, one at a time.
   Basically this is a Mortal Kombat meets Predator. It plays as if based on video game scenarios - with lots of plot-free action scenes, occasionally well-designed sets and lighting, but precious little else to commend it SF/fantasy fans. Lambert demonstrates none of the rough charm that elevated his typically heroic role in Highlander, nor the (I admit, only intermittent) studied intelligence of his chess playing lead in serial killer thriller, Knight Moves.
   At least the women of this neo-mythical and distinctly unsubtle adventure are easy on the eye. Layla Roberts and Rhona Mitra fill out their costumes attractively, making all the men (Lambert included, at times) dull screen hogs by comparison. If you enjoyed The 13th Warrior, this might just appeal. Otherwise, look elsewhere for your next video rental.
previously published online, VideoVista #20
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