This interesting story set in medieval Europe follows the German Emperor Barbarossa, played by Rutger Hauer, as he tries to follow in the footsteps of predecessor Charlemagne, by conquering northern Italy and ruling the Holy Roman empire. In his way stands Milan, which is very naughty and refuses to be rolled over. This was of course long before its occupants became more interested in fashion than doing battle. Filmed in much favoured Romania, where production costs compare with a good pair of Milanese socks, it manages to look visually spectacular at times, combined with liberal use of CGI. There are a couple of quite tasty battle scenes, and the costumes used are excellent. Sadly some good production values are let down with far too much silliness.
It is hard to judge if the acting was good or bad simply because it was so appallingly dubbed, although taking a wild guess I would say it was bad. Looking at the credits I am guessing it was filmed in Italian. If there was a special award for one of the worst dubbed films of all time, then this one would be a strong contender. Also for a siege lord, ole Barbarossa doesn't do a great deal of siegeing to be honest. There is one good scene involving some impressive looking siege weapons bunging a few fiery balls into Milan, and that is about it. There was also quite a bit of slow motion gore, that had the effect of making me laugh on one occasion when some bloke got hit on his conk with a spiky club. All I will say is, it wasn't very convincing! The story line somehow manages to get lost along the way, amongst all the gore and procrastinating. Rutger Hauer simply provides a monolithic like presence as Barbarossa, whilst Raz wotsisname is just plain annoying as the Milanese hero Alberto something or other with the very weird girlfriend. Quite how a decent actor like F Murray Abraham got mixed up in it all is a mystery. Money may be a possible reason! If you want to see a decent siege film, then I suggest you watch Charlton Heston in "The War Lord"(65), which is infinitely better. I watched a nice clear blu-ray version of "Barbarossa".