13 December 2016 | detflygandespaghettimons
Poor fantasy movie staring Sable from WWE
Eastern Europe became quite the spawning-ground for American B-films following the fall of the Soviet Union. Plenty of directors flew over there to shoot their pictures on the cheap, taking advantage of the local talent and scenery. Ariana's Quest is a prime example in this tradition. It's sort of a star-vehicle for Rena Mero (wrestling under the name Sable in the WWE), an attempt to convert her wrestling-fame into video-fame. Sadly, the end product leaves a lot to be desires in terms of quality and entertainment.
The titular Ariana (Rena Maro) is a princess of the mold that prefers swords and fencing over balls and courtship. Her father lies at his deathbed, and her lands at the brink of invasion. The cruel Warlord Xantos (Predrag Bjelac) covets both her charms and domains, and he is backed by his sorceress-sister Zuraya (Katerina Brozová), a villain even more evil-minded than he.
Ariana's Quest is plagued by many of the hallmarks of B-level pictures. The cinematography is shoddy, the acting less-than- stellar, the filmmaking odd, but to my thinking the films underlying flaw is mainly the tone they decided to set. The storytelling is very serious. It's a very straight-faced yarn. And the production is just not up-to-task to deliver on that sort of narrative. It is really jarring to see Sable (not the best thespian) talk with dead- tone seriousness about the slave-like responsibilities of being a princess. Or use the word "cold-steel" with a straight-face. Basically, it feels like one of those B-movies that would be really entertaining if someone like Cirio H. Santiago or Jim Wynorski had been sitting in the directors-chair, but Lloyd A. Simandl never nails the fun factor. The Czech locale does offer some relatively well-heeled costuming and locations (they appear to have shot in an actual castle of some sort), but the cinematography doesn't really take advantage of that.
Reportedly, Ariana's Quest was filmed as a pilot of an intended TV- series. That shows, in that the film doesn't really feature a proper ending. But there are several other odd filmmaking ticks that cannot be explained away by that fact. For example, Daniela Krhutova plays the assassin Tai Shan (whom alluringly enough is dressed head-to-toe in all-black leather armour), a relatively minor character. But when she dies, we're treated to this loving montage of her character, showing several pieces of footage of her that wasn't even in the film! It's truly bizarre!
I've probably sounded overly negative in this review. Fans of B- movies will probably find some enjoyment in a would-be epic like this one. There is just something inherently charming in productions like these that makes you want to watch them, despite their flaws. That said, I cannot give Ariana's Quest a higher score than 4/10