Orc Wars (2013)
Having recently sat through Orcs! I decided to take a further chance and watch Orc Wars. It too is a very low budget film, although this time the finances were raised through crowdfunding. Sadly, it is not the fun, tongue in cheek, independent adventure movie the trailer and associated marketing implies. There is very little merit in this production. It's cheap, cheerful and although harmless, it clearly demonstrates that not all fan funded projects are good cinema. Some are just indulgences. The problem is in the title itself, which tries to sell an idea that the movie production is incapable of delivering. Instead of the spectacle of an army of a thousand Orcs pitted against the technological might of the US war machine, we get a few extras in ill-fitting costumes, running skirmishes against no-name actors on quad bikes and a few old Army Surplus vehicles. It's all rather lacklustre and underwhelming.
Ex-Marine John Norton (Rusty Joiner) buys a ranch in the remote American West hoping to escape from his troubled past. He subsequently encounters Elven Princess Aleya (Masiela Lusha) who has fled her home world via an interdimensional portal and is marooned on Earth. A convenient blind Native America Mystic called Whitefeather (Wesley John) informs Norton that he is the appointed guardian. He must defend the Princess from a marauding army of Orcs who wish to use her power to release their dragon god. After the simplistic narrative has been clumsily explained there then follows a series of low budget action scenes involving plastic replica guns with CGI muzzle flashes, along with some indifferently choreographed and poorly edited fight scenes.
The main saving grace of Orc Wars, is the fact that the Orcs themselves look pretty good. It’s clear that the producers spent most of the films meagre budget on the costumes and prosthetic effects. If you think that Orcs look and feel very similar to those seen in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, there's a specific reason for that. Apparently, props and costumes can be rented from Weta studios when not in use. However, the Orcs themselves cannot save this movie. The dialogue is poor as is the acting but there is a degree of convictions from the cast and director Kohl Glass. However, enthusiasm will only carry afilm so far. The cheeky homage to Zulu at the end of the movie made me spit my drink across the room. If you buy in to the notion of "it's so bad, it's good" then Orc Wars is an amusing ninety-minute diversion. Otherwise, best avoid it.