Teen Knight (1999)
AKA Medieval Park
Starring Kris Lemche, Caterina Scorsone, Benjamin Plener, Paul Soles, Kimberly Pullis, Marc Robinson, Claudiu Trandafir, Dan Fintescu, Eugen Cristea, Sandu Mihai Gruia, Mihai Verbintschi
Directed by Phil Comeau
Expectations: Moderately high.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
Are you looking for lackluster, boring sword fighting? How about a story mash-up of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Jurassic Park? Wizards throwing hadoukens? Ah ha! I knew that’d get your attention. Just don’t expect many hadoukens, because if I get you all fired up for a fantasy-based Street Fighter I’ll never hear the end of the disappointment I’ve brought into the world as thousands storm their local Redboxs in search of a nonexistent hadouken-filled film. But a few hadoukens is better than no hadoukens, right?
The film opens in the year 1383, as the evil Lord Raykin is rakin’ his yard. OK, he’s not rakin’ anything (other than Lord Raykin :)), but he is being thrown into a horse-drawn prison cart along with his evil wizard buddy. As you might expect an evil lord to do, he asks his wizard to get them out of yet another fine mess that he’s gotten them into. The wizard laments that their captors have stripped him of his amulets, he’s powerless, yadda yadda yadda. But then he whips out a magical jewel says a few words and shoots green lasers out of his eyes! So I guess he just needed to vent his frustration before showing the evil lord that he still had the juice. For reasons of world domination or general conquest or whatever, Lord Raykin desires the castle of Prince William. Now here’s where it gets really crazy. The evil wizard casts a spell to change the castle’s crest to Raykin’s, thus allowing them to call the castle back in time whenever he wants so that he can make one more attempt at becoming the king of the castle. Someone get this Raykin guy a medieval Lego set and call it a day.
From here we meet our hero, a teenage dude named Peter who is watching TV and dreaming of winning a soda company’s “under the cap” sweepstakes. The prize is a trip to Medieval Mansion, a theme park where you can roleplay the medieval days inside an actual castle! Because this is a movie, Peter quickly gets a winning cap and we’re off to the same castle that’s been in more Moonbeam and Full Moon movies than you could count on every one of your phalanges. And hey, guess what? This is the same castle that happens to be under the spell of Lord Raykin’s wizard! Gulp.
I was OK with this moderately entertaining intro, and the following scenes that mirror a lot of Jurassic Park‘s “Welcome to Jurassic Park” section are also fairly entertaining. When the kids wake up and no one else is around, they seek out the generator (in the dark, scary dungeon) and eventually they see Raykin feeding the castle’s resident dragon with a dead pig (like the T. Rex’s goat meal in JP). There’s even a sudden, mysterious storm that knocks out the power! But everything after this section, when all the film’s cards are on the table and it should be hitting its action, fantasy stride, it just sputters and farts.
The rest of the film is so boring that I lost track of what the characters were trying to do, I lost track of what happened to one of the kids and I honestly don’t remember if they even resolved that sub-plot. They introduce a character late in the film that is played by the same actor as Peter’s neighbor in the first act, but they don’t reference this at all, so I guess it’s just supposed to be one of those Wizard of Oz moments (i.e. “And you were there, and you were there…”). Or maybe they did make a note of this and I just completely spaced out on it; my mind definitely wandered quite a bit as the last third of the movie played out.
This is the deceptive thing about Teen Knight, because during this boring period is when they unleash the wizard hadoukens and a whole flurry of absolutely atrocious, hilarious sword fighting. So be warned and be aware! Don’t get caught off-guard and miss the wizard hadoukens! They are, after all, the whole reason to watch this movie! Teen Knight is definitely not one of the better Moonbeam films I’ve seen, but it does have a few fleeting moments of quality B-movie laughs and wizard hadoukens. It is available now at your local Redbox under the title Medieval Park.
Next time on Full Moon Tuesday, I’ll be checking out a film called Seedpeople! See ya then!