Sword of War is a historical drama based of German Emperor Barbarossa (Rutger Hauer) and an uprising against him, Milan’s Army of Death. The movie sounds like it should be epic: Germans, an “Army of Death”, uprising, a terrible sort of love story; in a few ways it is, but mostly not.
The majority of Sword of War is filmed in Italian, and then dubbed over in English. It gives the dialogue delivery an almost surreal feel – think The Black Lodge in Twin Peaks. Voice actors somewhat fit their given roles, while others feel stilted and emotionally forced. Much like other Italian-to-English-dubbed movies (I’m generalising, I know) the plot becomes muddled at points because of the awkward flow. This can also be attributed to the cinematography. At times the camera-work seems amateurish and the actors a little unsure of what needs to be done, but other moments feel epic enough for a war-themed movie.
It’s overall plot is scattered and you’re not always completely sure of what is going on. Included is a clichéd love story, but you never quite get the jist of what exactly is happening.
It’s refreshing to see medieval movie not resorting to special effects. All of the battle scenes are set against real locations, use constructed sets and ample amounts of human actors. This gives the required scenes a more natural feel, but the cinematography can often ruin it.
For some decent fight scenes watch Sword of War, but for the story read a history book.