06th Jan2022

‘Dragon: The Weapon of God’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Alexander Bok, Alexis Abrams, Sean Ian, Midanah Penda, Armand Andre, Phil Smirnoff, Tim Dougherty, Anya Winchester, Brian Reilly, Aleks Alifrenko Jr., Rumman Ariff | Written and Directed by Alexander Bok

Years ago I would honestly head to the local video shop and rent movies based solely on the cover art and synopsis on the back of the box. Back then that was how a LOT of low-budget, indie films sold themselves. It also lead to the like of the video nasties era – with gaudy, blood soaked artwork raising the ire of societies moral guardians… But that’s by the by, For me renting tapes in that manner led to discoveries of films I now consider some of my all-time favourites.

And that idea of giving films a chance based on artwork and a brief synopsis still, for me, continues to this day/. Why am I telling you this? Well because that’s how I came to sit down to watch Dragon: The Weapon of God. With THAT artwork above and a synopsis that read:

A teen with superhero powers leads an underground group formed to bring down the establishment after the mayor of New York City intensifies police brutality towards blacks and calls for a citywide purge.

So we’ve got a superhero film with a politically-charged storyline that taps into very real, very relevant issues. Shame it’s all wrapped up in one of the most inept films I’ve seen in some time. I get it. Writer, director, producer and star Alexander Bok had an idea. Something he wanted to say on the current racial climate in the guise of a superhero-esque film. I applaud him for wanting to put his experience, his opinion, on the screen whilst creating a film that would appeal to a wider audience – after all everyone loves a superhero film right? Right. I also applaud him for actually making a film – something many people CANNOT do.

But sometimes, just sometimes, maybe you should get someone else involved in your film. Someone who you can run ideas past. Someone whose willing to tell you when an idea is a good one or a bad one. A soundboard. As is often the case with vanity projects like this a soundboard is REALLY needed. As a white man I have no place talking about how Bok handles the racially-charged storyline of Dragon: The Weapon of God however I can talk about the films production and as such, given free reign Alexander Bok makes numerous mistakes – no moreso than having this film run far, far, too long; with far too much of the film feeling more like padding than actual story. A low-budget superhero film does not need to run almost as long as a Marvel one!

The other major issue is the performances in the film. This is very much amateur-hour. Which detracts from the message Bok is trying to deliver. In fact it’s hard to determine whether some of the “comedy” in this film is intentional or the result of bad acting! Just for example, Sean Ian’s mayor seems to have modelled his look AND behaviour on “Oh Hi Mark” himself – Tommy Wiseau – from over-egging every line, often shouting them; to having the same LITERAL appearance – long dark hair, white shirt and dark trousers. But then that’s probably the idea – to make him look as ridiculous as possible. After all this New York mayor is a massive racist, a bigot, and every other culturally and racially insensitive word and behaviour you can think of! I get it, the character’s ideology is ridiculous (and incredibly dangerous) so why not make him look and act ridiculous too? Yet I have to wonder if taking the character to such an extreme detracts from what Bok is trying to say. Is this corrupt evil mayor TOO over-the-top?!

A racially-charged take on a street-level superhero like Iron Fist (Bok’s lead character even has a massive Iron Fist-esque dragon tattoo on his back and similar powers) Dragon: The Weapon of God has good intentions but the execution lets everything down. Killer soundtrack though!

Dragon: The Weapon of God is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime now.

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