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Barbarossa: Seige Lord (6.5/10)

posted May 2, 2011, 3:44 AM by Gordon Doherty   [ updated Jan 27, 2015, 3:42 AM ]
This movie slipped under the radar for me, but I caught it last night on cable: Barbarossa: Seige Lord
It was a must watch for me as I am intrigued by this period of history: where the ghost of imperial Rome still echoes in Italy and the old Western Empire. Here's my thoughts on the movie...
The soundtrack from the start is 'Gladiator' in style as the flick starts with Holy Roman Emperor Barbarossa being saved from being gored by a boar. His saviour, a young Milanese, will cross paths with the Emperor in later life, when Barbarossa moves south with his armies to assert his authority on the lands of Northern Italy. What follows is an epic-scale series of seige warfare, withe Trebuchet's pummelling the fortified city of Milan, while the city's inhabitants and meagre garrison must decide whether to surrender or fight.
The cinematography is impressive in places (scenes with the seige engines bombarding Milan), yet low budget in others (don't look too closely at the backdrops!).
The film was originally in Italian (I think) and is dubbed over in English in the version I watched. This always lends a bit of unintended comedy to the proceedings, what with the usual selection of all-American voice actors they chose for this, but it doesn't detract from the film unless you let it.
I think you've got to sit down to watch this and want to enjoy it for it to be a pleasurable couple of hours. And if you're a history fan, and like me, you feel that time period is still shrouded, then this film will hit the spot for you.