Special BBC Edition DVD – 5 Episodes on 1 Widescreen Disc (2010)
“Krod Mandoon” and the Flaming Sword of Fire” is a co-production of Comedy Central, Media Rights Capital and BBC Television. The series was created by Peter A. Knight, directed by Alex Hardcastle, and written and produced by Knight and Brad Johnson. You might recognize the voice of Albus Dumbledore as Michael Gambon is the narrator. Krod Mandoon and his band of warriors is the only hope against the wicked Chancellor Dongalor in this comedic fantasy series. They must overcome evil obstacles like insults, assassins, their own BS and a bisexual Cyclops.
The tone of the series feels very much like a modern Monty Python mixed with a fantasy series like a recent series I acquired but am still working my way through “Legend of the Seeker.” If you’ve seen a “Hercules” or “Xena: Warrior Princess” series and also like British Monty Python absurdest humor with lots of sexual comedy, you’d probably enjoy this mash-up. There were really only a few moments out of the five episodes that really made me laugh out loud a bit, the other moments mostly just got a smile out of me. If you enjoy the series, it would have considerable re-watch value and I think the jokes would get funnier over time. The tone feels inconsistent and some characters are more annoying than others, but overall it has a lot of humor.
Sean Maguire heads up the cast as Krod Mandoon, a freedom fighter with a lack of confidence and destiny involving the aptly named flaming sword. Maguire played Leonidas in the comic spoof “Meet the Spartans” and his handsome face and charisma do well to lead this group. It is odd to have such a doubtful leader and a lot of times it really is like he is the adult trying to manage a bunch of snickering children in his band of warriors laughing at fart jokes.
Matt Lucas is a very funny villain as Chancellor Dongalor that looks like Dr. Evil in medieval garb but sounds like every Monty Python villain you ever saw with his range of going up and down with his voice for the jokes. You might remember seeing him recently as Tweedledee and Tweedledum in “Alice in Wonderland” or in the series “Little Britain” where most of his work is. His facial expressions and line delivery are the funniest of the whole crew and his childish ways really sell the immaturity of the character. His opening scene he begins by judging a singer much in the style of Simon Cowell and then riding through the narrow hallways of his castle hallways on a horse.
Aneka is played by India de Beaufort who is beautiful and a fabulous dancer with a pretty attractive English accent. Somehow she also is the most emotional character in spite of being very free of her sexuality as a pagan maiden and using it as a weapon (or just whenever she feels like it). The comedy works much better when she is snickering with the others in the band of freedom fighters.
Zezelryck is a warlock who is better at making up excuses and spells than actual wizardry played by Kevin Hart. It reminds me of Dave Chappelle back in “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (whose jokes hit or miss depending on the situation in that movie). Krod’s half human/half swine, Loquasto is played by Steve Speirs and is just big slow sidekick to round out the group that feels a little annoying and unessential. Lastly, the fierce and flamboyant, Bruce joins the group within the first episode to lay out the excuse for all sorts of gay jokes and reactions.
Thank goodness for the cameo of John Rhys-Davies as Grimshank, another Warlock-type for Zezelryck to get jealous of. His booming voice giving exposition for the plot to actual move along really helps a story develop instead of just a running commentary on the character types. His inclusion really gave legitimacy to this series as did Michael Gambon’s voice. When you strip away those two and Matt Lucas, it is mostly a bunch of sexuality jokes with a thin plot.
On the second viewing, a lot more jokes worked, especially from Matt Lucas. This is worth picking up if you like anything about this genre plus really silly British comedy.
There is a sequence called “Behind the Scenes with Kevin Hart” where he basically jumps around everywhere and talks about the movie and tries to get funny candid moments out of the cast. The “Cast Interviews” sequence was very helpful in getting some background on the origins of how the story came about and the tone as well as the cast giving feedback on their characters. The “Outtakes” sequence is full of bloopers which are silly.
The “Deleted & Extended Scenes” starts with an alternate opening sequence features more narration and less fancy fire and graphics. It focuses mostly on horse riding and the correct spelling of Krod’s name. I actually enjoyed their getting lost sequence more than the original opening with them just arriving at a tavern since it introduces all the characters a bit more thoroughly before they get into the story. The deleted scenes are mostly extra bits for Matt Lucas’ character to establish more of his mood swings. The extended scenes mostly remark more on the free sexuality of Aneka to further ram the point home so to speak.
This TV on DVD special was released in stores March 23, 2010.