I’ve seen this nice little Russian flick (released in 2006) some years ago, but when on holidays in my native Slovakia, I couldn’t resist to pick it up in a cheap Czech edition and because my other half hasn’t seen it yet, the nice warm Saturday night viewing had been decided quite quickly.
Well, I am not one for a long and detailed movie descriptions (well, isn’t the point of reviews to compel the reader to go and actually see movie?), so it suffice to say that Wolfhound is your nice and straightforward Russian folktale, although with a modern coating which heavily borrows from first Conan movie and also from Lord of the Rings.
OK, but what does that mean? Good question. I like a classic fantasy, I like dark fantasy, I like twists in the stories, therefore I have no problem with the story – the good ones are good ones, the villains are villains, you know pretty well who the traitor is and of course, how the movie will end. It’s not predictable, it’s the classic fairytale set up. Nothing wrong with that.
And the story itself is simple. Wolfhound (Aleksandr Bukharov) is the only survivor of the village massacre (that’s where we witness our Conan ripoff moment) by the main baddie Zhadoba and his captain Lyudoyed (which in Russian means Man-eater) and the little boy is taken to the diamond mines. Arnold sends his best regards.
We see him next as a grown man with a pet bat and only later in the movie we’ll find out how he escaped from those mines and went on the quest to find those responsible for the massacre of his tribe, almost in the Man with No Name fashion, speaking very little and only when necesary.
Along the way he makes some friends, saving lives, defeating enemies…and in the heavy CGI finale (which also borrows from Lord of the Rings theatrics) destroying the evil goddes Morena-Death. And getting the hand of the countess Elen. Not bad a deal. And as usual in the fairytales, Deus Ex Machina moment’s are quite a few. Need to fight of the spirits? Old gods help. Wolfhound needs a really really life saving help…why, there is a trick about it too!
It’s a poor man’s Conan, for sure, but for the landscapes, atmosphere and overall guilty pleasure of watching this nice little movie outweights all the deficiencies one can find in it. And the pet bat is sooo cute!