DVD Review: BARBARIAN – RISE OF THE WARRIOR Hides Behind The Veil Of Sword And Sorcery

4 out of 5 stars

Delve into a world of sword and sorcery with this intriguing fantasy. Many will watch Barbarian – Rise of The Warrior (aka The Veil) and come away thinking that it’s inspired by the success of Game of Thrones, but in reality this gritty flick owes a great debt to the sword and sorcery adventure films that dominated the early 1980s following the success of Conan The Barbarian. That’s not to say that fans of the George R. R. Martin show won’t find anything to enjoy – in fact Game Of Thrones fans need to see this to have a different understanding on the world of fantasy films. This might not be high octane or bloody, but it does draw you in and deliver something refreshing by the time the end credits roll.

Brent Ryan Green’s film is set in a distant land where Warrior (that’s the only name we know him by) is betrayed and left for dead by his tribe. He’s brought back to life by a mysterious princess before seeking revenge (Serinda Swan) on those who wronged him. We delve into a world of gritty brutality where our hero attempts to teach a passive tribe how to protect themselves from dark and evil forces as our hero readies himself for a final battle to the death.

After a slow start, Barbarian – Rise Of The Warrior really kicks into hear in the film’s second act (the last half hour is particularly impressive). It features some strong world building and it doesn’t let its limited budget hinder its story telling. I haven’t seen a film like Barbarian in a long time – this is the type of film that lined shelves in video shops (remember those?) throughout the ‘80s and it should remind older viewers of cult favourites like The Beastmaster and Krull. However, this quirky curio also has hints of Nicolas Winding Refn’s over-looked 2009 effort, Valhalla Rising along with the afore mentioned Song of Ice and Fire adaptation.

There’s plenty of hand-to-hand action in Green’s film and he also manages to incorporate some strong visuals and impressive scenery to give his film added production value. This might be a low-fi film, but there is subtle characterisation and intriguing world building at play here. Barbarian – Rise Of The Warrior is a cult film waiting to happen, a refreshing fantasy film that eschews digital effects for real vistas. Worth seeking out.