Orc Wars (2013)

John Norton is an ex-US Army soldier who is dealing with post-traumatic stress. To find some inner peace, he buys a small house in a rural area. What he does not know is that the house belonged to the Sentinel, the guardian of an ancient portal that connects two worlds. On the other side of the portal, the Elven princess Aleya flees into our world from an evil witch and the horde of orcs under her command. When she runs into John, they join forces against the orc menace. Equipped with an arsenal of weapons they take up the fight against the waves of enemies that are sent through the portal every other day, until they must face the dragon in the final battle between the forces of Good and Evil.

Orc Wars, which is also known under the title Dragonfyre, was one of the earlier movies produced by Arrowstorm Entertainment, a company that specializes in the production of cost-effective epic fantasy and Sci-Fi movies. Last year they stepped up their game with production of their first TV series “The Outpost”, which is worth checking out if you’re a fan of classic fantasy series like Hercules or Xena. But now back to Orc Wars.

Orc Wars is the first movie I have seen that shows the clash between orc hordes and humans equipped with contemporary weaponry, so it gets the credit for that. This is about all the originality the movie has to offer, though, as at it’s core it’s a fairly standard low-budget fantasy movie. And as in every B-tier fantasy movie of the last decade, there has to be a dragon in it, of course, because that always scores extra points with the audience. I have no idea why, but it works, also with me. But overall there is still enough going on in the movie to make it a fairly decent piece of entertainment.

First of all, it’s properly directed. The sets are put in scene well, and the action sequences have a good flow. The orc make-up and costumes look convincing, and even the CGI dragon could have been a lot worse, so no complaints on these points either. There is even a well done reference to slasher movies, when a group of rednecks camping at night in the forst is ambushed and massacred by the orc squad.

There’s not much of a plot developing throughout the movie. Orc squad after orc squad is sent through the portal every 10 minutes or so, which our heroes have to fight in ever more creative ways, until eventually the dragon shows up for the final battle. Fortunately there’s just sufficient variation between the skirmishes to keep viewer’s attention, at least it worked for me.

The movie takes itself not too seriously, which is good, as a movie of this caliber can rapidly lose its appeal when everyone keeps a straight face all the time. The slightly wooden acting and some seriously cheesy dialogues add to the naive charm of the whole happening.

Orc Wars has a mildly original premise that is embedded into an otherwise fairly conventional fantasy/action movie hydrid. I still found in entertaining enough to justify investing 90 minutes of my life in it, and people who have watched all the SyFy channel dragon movies are actually treated with a noticeable uptick in quality.