Medieval (2022)

Medieval (2022)

Movie Details

Movie: Medieval(2022)
Director: Petr Jákl
Cast: Ben Foster, Sophie Lowe, and Michael Caine
Movie Type: Action/War
Release date: 8 September 2022
IMDB Rating: 5.9/10
Languages: English and Czech.
Duration: 2h 5m


Medieval (2022)


In the last few weeks, it was impossible to escape from Jan Žižka. Petr Jákl promoted him almost everywhere he could. And I thought I’d try to be an optimist. A budget of twenty-three million dollars, a couple of interesting acting faces and some experience from Hollywood gave at least a little hope that it could all be transformed into a film that could go out into the world with a proud head. I wished it to Jákl and his work. And after the screening, I was perhaps more peacemaking than I should have been. But two days have already passed since the screening and the initial effort to be nice to Jan Žižka somehow disappeared.

If you’ve already scrolled your eyes down to the rating, you probably won’t be surprised that I’m going to save the praise in the end. And to get it over with quickly, we won’t delay the praise. Roland Møller has carved out another wonderfully charismatic villain and can be convincing even in action scenes, and Sophie Lowe is also quite interesting as an actress. Oh, and the opening battle doesn’t look bad, and it’s likably naturalistic. Well, that’s the end of the praise and we’re going to dig into the mire of average and below average. And sometimes maybe even a little deeper.

Talk about the fact that Medieval was worth plus or minus half a billion crowns was hard to miss. And even if under other circumstances it would probably not be fair to discuss how much the picture cost and whether it is really visible on it, here it will not work any other way. The budget has become a marketing lure and many people go to the cinema to see “that big Czech film that looks like it’s from Hollywood”. But he doesn’t look like that. Twenty-three million dollars is a lot of money, unfortunately not enough for Žižka to keep up with, let’s say, Gladiator, Troy or the oft-mentioned Braveheart. But no one in the right wants that from him. On the other hand, pieces like Ironclad, Black Death or Centurion are already in a similar league on paper. But even when compared to them, Jan Žižka loses across the board. It’s simply not a very pretty or narrative film.

Tuning into a kind of gray is not very visually attractive, but the bigger problem is in unimaginative work with locations, costumes, or crowd scenes. Czech filmmakers should already be banned from filming in the Velká Amerika quarry and the broken mill, which you walk past a few times, you probably also know from fairy tales, which is shown on ČT2 on weekends after noon. And a few castles do not have grandeur. Medieval realistically offers about three slightly larger battle scenes (by which I mean plus or minus about fifty people) and a few walks through medieval towns, which, unlike the battles, look quite convincing. But overall, in terms of magnificence, this half-a-billion-dollar production is much closer to An Angel of the Lord 2 or Little Knights’ Tale. Although I’m not entirely sure about the latter, as Jan Zizka, the family medieval spectacle felt more epic at least in the finale.

Then we have the fight scenes. Czech stuntmen are among the elite, supposedly we also have great swordsmen and ideal conditions for filming the event. We know that from a lot of foreign films. But good stunts aren’t enough, and when the camera is constantly moving during the battles, the heroes are so exposed that you won’t know who’s hitting whom on the head with a mace, and during the scene in the cave you can’t see anything at all, so it’s completely useless. Action scenes are mostly a confusing mess. And the one and only one, when the wagon wall is built, is as if stolen from the turn strategy (and the Braveheart). Player A sends archers into action, and Player B responds with wooden boards. Player A experiences a shock and sends a ride into action. Player B adjusts the shields and pierces the ride from his safe position. Player A experiences shock again and sends infantry into action. Player B again pierces the infantry and then runs away in confusion. The viewer stares and doesn’t believe that the fight scene can be seen as boring and boring chess or Heroes of Might and Magic. .

So, so far we’ve said it’s pretty ugly and cheap-looking and doesn’t have a very good action. And that, unfortunately, is not much better than the rest. And here we are dealing with things that cannot be excused by a lack of money or something similar. The biggest problem with medieval movies lies in the fact that it is not well told. The potential advantage of the story taking place in a time that historians don’t know much about has not been turned into anything interesting. With the characters, no one bothers to deal with what is going on in their heads and what could theoretically motivate them to do what they do. The main character is a mercenary, then he is a good mercenary, and then he is ready to be a warlord. Why and how these changes occur is solved either by editing and “viewer, don’t think too much about it”, or by a hard-to-believable love story or by betting that the Czech audience knows that he will become a warlord, so he will be a warlord. I can’t imagine how the foreign audience will react to it. The last hour looks more or less like a few people chasing each other through the woods, exchanging prisoners, and at the end, one dying character is teleported here and Žižka becomes a hero without the viewer and Ben Foster having any idea how it happened. As the footage progresses, it becomes more and more painful to watch the creators’ futility and narrative helplessness and to accept the fact that the Czechs will not be able to spread Hollywood on their bread this time either.

Medieval is not a great movie. As much as I kept my fingers crossed for him, the sobering up and the collision with reality came unexpectedly quickly. Two days after the press screening, I can’t remember practically anything from it to send you to the cinema. Perhaps you can enjoy Jan Žižka at least a little if you approach it as a medieval B-movie thresher with average action and a little blood, which has no greater ambitions than to show a few severed heads and stabbed villains. And even in this direction, it’s average at best. In the end, I’ll give the fourth star because people will figure it out anyway and maybe cinematographers will survive this winter thanks to Žižka

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