Friday, July 29, 2016

The High Crusade (1994)

Directed by: Klaus Knoesel  and Holger Neuhäuser

Run time: 100 minutes

To say this movie is an adaptation of the book The High Crusade by Poul Anderson is the same as saying that the script was written by a lawyer and a seeing eye dog. In the book The High Crusade, a group of English knights are getting ready to attack the French. They are interrupted by alien expedition force who also are looking for a fight. The English knights don't really care who's ass gets kicked as long as they are doing the kicking and proceed to wipe out the aliens. With their new found ship and alien weapons the English knights encourage the captured alien pilot to take them to Jerusalem so they can free the holy lands. The alien pilot instead takes the knights to one of the alien planets. These knight came to fight, liberate, and chew gum and gum hasn't been invented yet. So the knights go on a crusade destroying the alien empire.

This movie has next to nothing to do with the plot of the book. Father Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) narrates the adventures of Sir Not Robin of Locksley and his collection of fools. The movie proper starts just before Sir Not Robin of Locksley's wedding to Lady 50's Stereotype. The two of them met at an archery contest for her hand and she agreed to the marriage if Sir Not Robin would not go to war. To make Sir Not Robin more suitable for Lady Stereotype taste in men a stereotypical Frenchmen who spends more time seducing Lady Stereotype than his job. Finally there is Sir Not Robin's friend Sir Idiot. Sir Idiot likes wenches, leading idiotic charges, and being an idiot. Now that we have meet most major characters on to what could passes for a plot.

Sir Not Robin and Lady Stereotype's wedding is interrupted by a messenger from the crusades who is being chased by three Saracens. Sir Not Robin takes out the Saracens with oversized arrow and learns from the dying messenger that some other English Lord is being overrun and needs reinforcements from some other lord that is not Sir Not Robin. Being the twit and sassenach Sir Not Robin vows to set out to the holy lands the next day to help this lord. That night the aliens arrive and start attacking Sir Not Robin's keep. Sir Not Robin and his forces fight back, destroy the expedition force, and capture the pilot. Father Sallah and two idiots are tasked with learning the alien language and everything they can about the ship.

Father Sallah learns the alien language, Sir Not Robin packs everyone from his keep into the ship, and the lot of idiots get the alien pilot to fly them to Jerusalem. The alien instead goes to his home planet. This leads to the humans and the aliens trying to out stupid each other for the rest of the film. Eventually the aliens prove to be much dumber than the humans and the best part of the movie happens. It ends.

This movie was funnier when I first watched it on cable. The aliens had subtitles when they were not speaking English unlike the DVD were they don't and some of the humour is lost because of that. Otherwise it is a dumb comedy and the kind of dumb comedy you have to be in the mood for. An example of the kind of humour this movie has is an exchange between Sir Not Robin and Sir Idiot. They are debating which is a better weapon, the alien tech or a bow and arrow. As luck would have it, a pair of rabbits appear and they conduct a test to see which weapon is better. Sir Idiot used the alien weapon and turned his rabbit into ash. Sir Not Robin used a bow and arrow and had a rabbit for diner. So clearly the bow and arrow was the better technology.

If you are looking for a stupid comedy, you are in the mood for a stupid comedy, and it shows up on cable or streaming this is the movie for you. Otherwise it is a movie that you can go your entire life not seeing and you will not miss a thing.

Make or Break: This movie tries too hard to be funny. It's like a high school production of Monty Python sketches done badly. Lots energy and cringe for very little pay off.

MVP: Jim Bean Devil's Cut and Pepsi. A little bit of bourbon makes anything watchable.

3.5 out of 10


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