When the first trailer arrived for The Iron Mask, UK movie fans were swiftly discombobulated. The comments pointed out two startling oddities. Firstly, why does it look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan are in one movie set in the Tower of London, while Jason Flemyng is on an epic journey to China in another?
And secondly, how can a movie look both incredibly expensive and very low budget at the same time?
Well The Iron Mask has somehow managed to be the most bizarre film to release in recent years.
The joint Russia-Chinese adventure epic is actually a sequel to a 2014 film called Viy and was released in China last year as Viy 2: Journey to China.
Now Western audiences are being invited to endure the surreal fantasy On Demand and the results are far from exceptional.
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Speaking of which, it’s clear The Iron Mask has drawn a lot of its swashbuckling adventuring from Johnny Depp’s Disney franchise.
While also being somewhat reminiscent of the light-hearted period-based action comedies of the noughties like Brendan Fraser’s Mummy trilogy.
Or perhaps even Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson’s Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights.
To be fair, The Iron Mask isn’t entirely awful, since it’s managed to avoid a one-star. There’s a perfectly fine movie in here somewhere, but it never managed to come together.