Beowulf 1999 Movie Scene Christopher Lambert as Beowulf holding double crossbows and looking for Grendel, the beast

Beowulf [1999]

Some time ago, I jokingly said that I’m eventually going to recommend every Christopher Lambert movie. Well, I guess I wasn’t joking after all. What can I do when the man made some really cool movies? Although you can consider most, if not all of them, guilty pleasures. And the same goes for the movie we’re going to be talking about today. It’s the year of our lord Cthulhu 1999 and the whole world is excited about not just the new century but also the new millennium. Out with the old and in with the new! It’s time for a fresh take on the age-old myth that just happens to look not too pricey. All we need now is a good lead, a cheap location, and a hip new electronic soundtrack.

Beowulf 1999 is a charming and undoubtedly cheesy fantasy B movie offering lots of action and a whole lot of fun. It’s about Beowulf, a lonely beast slayer who was called to a distant castle. A castle where a strange creature has been killing people for months now. After breaking through the blockade he meets the castle lord Hrothgar, his hot daughter Kyra, and the rest of the crew. All he has to do now is slay the beast and find out where it comes from. Super easy, barely an inconvenience as Pitch Meeting would say. So, to sum things up, Beowulf is basically an enjoyable but flawed creature feature set in a dark castle with a lot of redeeming qualities.

We’ll start with the story that might sound a bit familiar to all of you gamers out there. It goes without saying that the movie is inspired by the old English epic poem which saw numerous adaptations. However, the movie Beowulf 1999 does have a lot in common with The Witcher video game franchise. A franchise that’s based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s novel first published in 1994. Beowulf and The Witcher both have gray hair, magical abilities, and the same profession. So, I’m wondering if is there a something here. Especially when you consider the fact that the movie was shot in Eastern Europe, Romania, to be more precise. There’s also a 2001 Polish movie (Sapkowski is from Poland) The Hexer that stays truthful to the novel.

Moving on, Beowulf features surprisingly good and above everything else, cool weapons. We’ll have the opportunity to see some big-ass swords, crossbows, knives, and all kinds of other deadly contraptions. I remember when I first watched this movie in the early 2000s, the huge serrated sword Hrothgar was wielding left the biggest impression on me. This also brings me to the steampunk element of this movie. Yes, Beowulf 1999 is also a steampunk movie with the steam engines powering the entire castle. There are people in some strange suits holding flamethrowers and apparently gas installation in the castle as well.

What could be an appropriate soundtrack for our new fantasy post-apocalyptic almost science fiction movie? I think that industrial, techno, and generally electronic music fits the bill best my lord. And that’s how we ended up with a highly energetic soundtrack featuring bands like Fear Factory, Junkie XL, Juno Reactor, KMFDM and others. It goes without saying that music like this adds an additional layer of confusion and entertainment to this already confusing and entertaining movie. Well, I say confusing but I really don’t mean that as both the script and the main story are as straightforward as they come. The script is hilariously and predictably heavy-handed. So, get ready for some stereotypical dialogue.

At least it’s delivered by a charismatic cast that did the best they could with the material. Ethereal Christopher Lambert is the main attraction, a man whose flawless performance alone makes this movie worth watching. He actually declined to return as Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to play Beowulf in this movie. A movie he’s been told would have a budget of hefty $25 million. Well, according to Lambert, the real budget was more in the range of $3-5 million. Although according to the Wiki page, the official budget was $20 million, something I highly doubt. We also have Rhona Mitra (Doomsday) who will be walking around in revealing outfits and Götz Otto (Iron Sky).

And if you’re wondering if that’s stunningly beautiful Anck Su Namun from The Mummy, yes, yes it is. Patricia Velasquez gave another short but very memorable performance here. Everything had to be short and memorable to keep up with the breakneck pace of this movie. And yet, when you look at the events, hardly anything happens. We fight the beast, drink, eat, and talk, and then fight the beast some more until the beast is no more. And the fights are fucking awesome! And I mean that in the best possible way. Here’s a fun drinking game: every time Lambert does a flip, you take a sip. I say you take a sip because he will be doing a lot of flips here. Even if he needs to run from the creature, he will do so by flipping numerous times.

And the frequency of these flips increases as time goes on. So, by the time we’ve reached the finale, he will be almost exclusively jumping around. The CGI wasn’t too bad as they used some sort of masking to hide its true quality quite effectively. And during that said finale we’ll be able to see a quite impressive creature in its full glory. Although it will move quite awkwardly. Beowulf is truly a bizarre B movie, a veritable guilty pleasure for all the fans of the genre. If you’re looking for movies like this, I suggest you check out The 13th Warrior. Or better yet The Glorious Insanity That is Highlander II: The Quickening.

Director: Graham Baker

Writers: Mark Leahy, David Chappe

Cast: Christopher Lambert, Rhona Mitra, Oliver Cotton, Götz Otto, Charles Robinson, Patricia Velasquez

Fun Facts: Rhona Mitra didn’t like the shoot nor the country where the movie was shot, Romania describing it as a “hell-hole”.


IMDb Link:

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