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Royal Deceit [Blu-ray]
(Christian Bale, Kate Beckinsale, Helen Mirren, Gabriel Byrne, Brian Cox, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1994) 2021 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A young prince (Bale), after discovering that his father has been murdered, vows to avenge the death and regain the crown.

Plotting his revenge, he cleverly bides his time waiting and watching – and hoping – for the precise moment to execute the deadly plan!

Get ready for edge-of-your-seat action and suspense.

Blu-ray Verdict: Personally, this movie was made for all of us who suffered through compulsory Shakespeare in school. The needless suffering of intentionally disastrous endings marked Shakespeare’s tragedies.

Those stories were so horribly sad on every level that they reduced life and all its ambitions to an expectation of sorrowful failure. Like, everyone dies for little or no reason! (I totally hated that crap!)

This is, apparently, a story related to Hamlet. I never knew it existed. I noticed the similarities straight away and kept anticipating needless tragedy. Needless tragedy never came.

I honestly do not know if I would have liked it if not for my knowledge of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and my general contempt for needless tragedy, if all truth be told.

The story followed an almost fable-like formula. It was production on the fly with a great economy of scale. That is to say the scenes had just enough to carry the story and no more.

The fight scenes and swordplay are very different from todays carefully choreographed, terribly graphic violence. During one of the fight scenes, I wondered if this scrappy, badly improvised fighting was actually more realistic than what we normally get from big productions.

All the real fights I have seen looked nothing like a movie fight due to the considerable clumsiness of the fighters, but as this movie also had witty and clever moments, I thought they fit well within the main context of a revenge plot overall.

Of course, they could have spent more money and had a larger production, but why bother? I think it would be cool if Royal Deceit could run this summer in place of Shakespeare in the Parks Hamlet!

It could make people happy for a change and, oh yeah, it features a very young and waif-like Kate Beckinsale, so it also has that going for it!

The film also reminded me of some delightful Viking tales I discovered decades ago. Tales of individual heroism, conquest, love and so on. Fables are fun and so is Royal Deceit, as it is finally something not completely nihilistic from IFC. What a relief that was!

In closing, Royal Deceit is recommended if: You think Christian Bale is hot (100% satisfaction), or you have to watch Brian Cox’s filmography (78% satisfaction), or you want to see Helen Mirren’s golden globes (50% satisfaction), or if you are a Hamlet completist (60% satisfaction), or finally, if you are planning a trip to Denmark (31% satisfaction). This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition (1080p) presentation of the main feature in 1.78:1 aspect ratio
Optional English Subtitles
Audio: LPCM 2.0 Stereo
Original Theatrical Trailer