The Stronghold (2017)

First and foremost, this movie is from the Ukraine and isn’t in English. The folklore would be mostly unknown to anyone not from that part of the world. I wanted to get this out of the way because I had to look up pieces of the film to try and put together all the unexplained parts, which unfortunately for me, was most of them. I picked this movie because it looked dark (the hook), sounded mysterious (line), and had a cool advertising image (the sinker). The movie was anything but dark and mysterious, literally had too much sun shining. Could have done with some much-needed lighting adjustments.

The only thing explained is the main character’s fear of heights. That’s pretty much it and we as the viewer get it right in the beginning. May need to use some deductive reasoning but it’s clear as invisible glass.

The rest of the movie advances quickly with the occasional slow spot which can be expected. The main character learns how to fight quickly, a lot quicker than anyone could really learn to fight and be skilled at it. He is no master, but it helps him overcome his fear, especially since he begins to develop a relationship with one of the young girls who I think is supposed to be a similar age to our hero, his name is Viktor I believe, yeah let’s go with that.

Viktor is a teenager with some confidence issues who gets thrown back in time 1000 years to what at first reminded me of Vikings fighting some Mongols. I guess all ancient people looked like Vikings… but these were Russian Vikings! Can’t beat that!

Before I get carried away I do have to say the movie had a lot of holes in it. The plot jumped around too much and skipped forward as well leaving a lot of things like character development out. The only character to even really develop in the movie was Viktor, the others just stayed stagnant through the entire thing. Viktor grows from a scared middle school kid to someone the entire village trusts in what appears to be a matter of days and ends up helping to defeat a Mongol warlord and his crazy rock golem; which he helped spawn after getting captured while trying to free his little crush. They get some assistance and escape with the help of the Mongol leader’s somewhat simple-minded brother who Viktor is kind to earlier in the film. I did some research and his name is the same as some monster in Russian folklore who has no compassion.

I am just going to end with, this movie, like this review is all over the place and worth only two stars. I do understand what they tried to do but I just don’t want to review it anymore. You really need to understand Russian/Ukrainian folklore before watching this because they leave so much out. Don’t take my word for it though. If you want a movie to watch with some decent actions scenes, then sit back and grab a beer… or some mead and relax. Might even grow a beard while watching.

I don’t regret watching the film, but I do regret (partially) trying to review it and failing to deliver on that promise. Sorry, hopefully my next one will be better and much longer. Hope you like to read.

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