To start off with, I am unashamed to admit that I do not hate Christopher Lambert’s acting. He is a one-trick pony for sure, but I always liked him in the otherwise abysmal Mortal Kombat and Highlander movies. He is usually just the right amount of hammy for a B-movie, and can overact with the best of them. So, I was actually really disappointed to see him in this “historical” drama snooze-fest. It just doesn’t suit him, and he doesn’t suit this movie.
Druids / The Gaul is an attempt to adapt bits of Julius Caesar’s tale of his campaign in Gaul, focusing specifically on his relationship and rivalry with the Gaul leader Vercingétorix (played by Lambert). For those unaware, Vercingetorix is a legendary figure in history for uniting the tribes of Gaul to fight against Julius Caesar. There are a number of statues in his image around France today, so it isn’t so far fetched for someone to take a stab at making a movie based on his exploits.
Unfortunately, the people who chose to make this movie did not have the money or skill to fulfill their vision for an epic based on the great Gaul. The entire movie feels like it is aspiring to the successes of movies like Gladiator, but falls far short of the mark. It is clear during the few battle scenes that the film-makers are trying their best to make a “realistic” battle on a budget. There is very little in the way of compelling injuries or fighting, and a lot of clearly improvised spears to the gut. Some reviewers have been particularly harsh towards the costuming in the movie, but that is something I would forgive if they could manufacture a compelling battle. I don’t think I can be so merciful about Lambert’s hair though.
Despite Lambert’s uninspired performance and the budgetary issues, this movie still might have been decent if there had been an impressive script beneath it all. Unfortunately, it is at best mediocre. The dialogue isn’t horrible, but it certainly isn’t good enough to impress or make up for the other issues in the movie. Worst of all, the pacing of the film is very slow. I’m not sure who to blame that on exactly, but I am tempted to say that in this case it was a cacophonous concert between the directing, writing, and editing. I assume that they all wanted and expected a long-ish run time, because this was supposed to be an epic tale on screen. Unfortunately, it just comes off as boring instead of grand, because there isn’t much sense of motion or driving force in the film.
Overall, this is just sort of a boring, under-performing film. There are nuggets of a potentially good movie here, but no aspect of the movie is done well enough for it to get there. Everything is just shy of average, from the acting to the directing. It is certainly more watchable that a lot of Bottom 100 fare, but it is a long-shot from a good movie. It also isn’t bad enough for there to be unintentional entertainment value, so there really isn’t much of a reason for anyone to watch this movie. In general, I would recommend that people skip this one and watch something else, either something better or something worse.