Streaming Releases: Legends of Carpathians (2018) - Reviewed

Off the bat, let me warn you that Legends of Carpathians is not a film for the average Action Adventure fan, only in that it is aimed at those viewers who enjoy historical figures and autobiographical subject matter. However, this does not make it a drab and boring life story at all.

Legends of the Carpathians is the story of 18th Century true-life folk hero, Oleksa Dovbush, who opposed the greed and tyranny of local landowners and gentry of his country. He was an outlaw with excellent fighting skills and a gift of clairvoyance. Dovbush was much like the fictional Robin Hood, and revered as such. The film covers his life story in the stretch of a normal 100-minute offering and it sure feels that way when you watch the first part of the movie hasten through Dovbush’s birth and childhood. Even so, in general, the film is a slow burner with occasional fight scenes to keep us entertained while we follow the gradual procession of events that shaped the life of this Ukranian hero.

In short, the synopsis is to the point: In the Carpathian legend, Oleksa Dovbush is left an orphan after the local gentry’s foot soldiers kill his mother, father and uncle. He spends his life in exile in the mountains, training to become an exceptional fighter and leader, gathering a small army to one avenge his mother’s death. With his followers, he begins a crusade against the noblemen, but of course, he falls in love with the wrong woman.

Do you like my hat? I like my hat. 

The film is dubbed into English to accommodate those who hate reading subtitles, but I am not sure if they did anyone a favor by doing this. The voice actors are quite terrible and make you wish for subtitles instead. Although Legends of Carpathians is a technically sound film with well-choreographed fight sequences, it comes across as a stale delivery, trying to be an epic. Having said that, the film has an authentic atmosphere with a good score and decent effects, so if you do not mind sitting through the poor man’s 13th Warrior or Robin Hood’s Eastern European cousin, you might find it quite enjoyable.

Valeriy Kharchyshyn plays the lead role as Dovbush and keeps the character very low key, convincing us that this hero was just a common man that tried to overcome his personal obstacles. There is no eye candy, valiant and suave business with Dovbush, giving the role more credibility.

Unfortunately, the film lacks the graphic nature of its subject matter. Not that I encourage gratuitous gore at all, but this omission feels a bit unrealistic and spoils the general authentic air of the story. One would think that the tale of a fighter engaged in so many skirmishes would have more graphic content, but the producers clearly aimed for a wider audience in keeping things relatively tidy, gore-wise.

Over all, it is a bit of a drag with no plot surprises, even in the name of entertainment, but it is by far not the worst film you will see this year. If all else fails, Legends of Carpathians will introduce you to a relatively unknown folk figure and his historical impact on the age-old premise that one good man has the power to liberate people from oppression. 

This is now available on Amazon Prime for free if you have a membership. 

--Tasha Danzig