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I Cavalieri che Fecero l'Impresa

The Knights of the Quest

Italy/France 2001
directed by Pupi Avati
starring Edward Furlong, Raoul Bova, Marco Leonardi, Stanislas Merhar, Thomas Kretschmann, F.Murray Abraham, Carlo Delle Piane, Edmund Purdom, Yorgo Voyagis, Romano Malaspina
music by Riz Ortolani

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Medieval France, time of the cruzades: Young knights Simon (Edward Furlong) & Jean (Stanislas Merhar) are sent on a quest to find the single holiest relic, the shroud of Christ which will give its owner unlimited power, by the priest Giovanni da Cantalupo (Carlo Delle Piane). But unfortunately, another less noble group - knights Ranieri (Marco Leonardi) & Vanni (Thomas Kretschmann) & Vanni's squire Giacomo (Raoul Bova), who has sold his soul to the devil fo make a never-yielding sword, which Vanni holds, do get wind of Jean's & Simon's mission & thus try to find the relic on their own.

It is only when they realize this might be a larger bite than they can chew on & they & Simon & Jean have common enemies, that the 5 of them decide to team up. Soon, they do actually find a trace to the relic, which leads to Greece & to decadent & evil count Amaury de la Roche (Romano Malaspina), who uses the relic for devil-worship & other sinister purposes.

But when they finally find the seafaring priest Delfinello (F.Murray Abraham), who agrees to take them to Greece by ship, they are prevented from getting there as if by a higher power, & they do realize they have to exorcise Giacomo, which Delfinallo takes upon him. Soon they in deed succeed in getting to Greece, but are captured immediately upon arrival - all but Giacomo, who now pays them back the exorcism in breaking them free. Out of gratitude, Giacomo now too is knighted, & our five knights soon find de la Roche's hideout & manage to retrieve the relic.

But taking the relic is one thing, handing it to the right person, once in France something completely different, as de la Roche seems to have his spies everywhere, & even manages to have the five knights killed once they handed over the shroud ...

Fortunately though, he has forgotten priest Giovanni da Cantalupo, who is free to spill the beans about de la Roche's devil-worshipping to the king ...

 

Lavish production values, graphic gore effects & many supernatural elements cannot hide the fact that the story of this film is incredibly feeble, especially considering that the running time of it is about 2 ¼ hours. So, the supernatural elements are totally wasted on the movie (the never-yielding sword is introduced at the beginning to have no effect whatsoever on the story, that Giacomo is possessed by the devil is only shown by the fact he is seen cowering in corners a lot [not particularly impressive], de la Roche's devilworshipping starts & ends with the fact that he has hung up the shroud upside down, ...), all its convoluted subplots of warring groups are reduced to mere good versus evil-dichotomy in the long run, & character development here is almost non-existent: Vanni, Ranireri & Giacomo, presented as baddies in the beginning, decide to fight side by side with Jean & Simon merely on a whim.

The main problem of the movie though (as if those mentioned above weren't enough) are Jean & Simon themselves, the characters as well as their actors (Stanislas Merhar & Edward Furlong resepctively), which are shown as young, inexperienced lads who son't know shit about the world, hardly the guys to cross a street safely, let alone find a holy relic. In accordance with their roles, the actors show little charisma whatsoever, failing to leave even the vaguest impression on the audience - which is a bad thing, since they are supposed to carry the movie, but the movie would have been just as well (most probably better) without them. A disappointment.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD