When you consider the number of fantasy novels (of the swords and sorcery variety) published every year compared with the number of movies of the same genre produced over the same period the numbers are pretty thin. However, if you bear in mind that most publishers won't even accept or look at fantasy novels, and probably justifiably so, it's no surprise that so few fantasy films are greenlit.

On the pages of a book the vast settings and flights of imagination are nothing more than words, but for a film these have to realised both physically and digitally, and that don't come cheap. For every LORD OF THE RINGS success there are countless failures, usually involving dragons. When a swords and sorcery movie does come along there is always anticipation amongst the legions of fans, and often the invariable disappointment.

A couple of years back, the Russian film industry was on a bit of a high with newfound and their rekindled love affair with capitalism. Russians have always had a taste for big stories, not to mention a fascination with the supernatural, and this lead to international successes such as NIGHT WATCH.

While Timur Bekmambetov was filming creatures of the Netherworld in modern Moscow, Nikolai Lebedev was out in the fields and mountains of Slovakia recreating a mediaeval world for his fantasy epic WOLFHOUND (Volkodav iz roda Serykh Psov), based on a best-selling novel.

Taken into slavery as a young boy when his clan, the Grey Dogs, was wiped out by the evil Cannibal, a sort of mediaeval Darth Vader. Escaping slavery he sets out to get his revenge. After entering the enemies mountaintop castle, Wolfhound, as he calls himself, single-handedly defeats everybody and incinerates the castle, with just enough time to rescue a blind old magician and a fair (and nubile) maiden with a ever-developed capacity for screaming.

The trio end up in the cursed town of Galirad where Wolfhound becomes the bodyguard of the (also fair and nubile) princess. He is tasked with accompanying the princess to meet her betrothed but there are other devious plans afoot as Wolfhound is led to fulfil his destiny and exact revenge.

All in all it is a fairly stock-standard genre quest tale but visually it has the scope to match Lord of the Rings, but with a darker Slavic undertone. There is plenty of bloody swordplay, mystery and romance in its two hour running time to satisfy fans of the genre. The film had its UK premiere at SCI-FI-LONDON 7, and is out now on DVD. The DVD offers both original Russian language with subtitles, or an English dub.

Personally, I recommend the original language version, because not only does it give it authenticity, but also the dub isn't very good. Countries such as Italy have mastered the art of dubbing, often improving on the original, especially in these types of film, but it is something the UK and US have yet to do well. There are no extra features on the DVD.

Wolfhound is out now on DVD from Momentum and is available from Play and all good retailers.

We have five copies of the DVD to give away, courtesy of Momentum. Click on the link below to enter competition, which closes on March 15, 2010.

This competiton has ended

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