From the blazing redundancy in its title to sundry jokes about bestiality, "Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire" clearly needn't worry about sailing over anyone's head. Rather, most of this medieval spoof hits below the belt, and when the narrator speaks, there's no doubt somebody will quizzically ask about the source of that unseen voice. Still, it's a relatively handsome production for Comedy Central (billed as its first "fantasy-comedy") that -- given the slimness of its ambitions -- will probably play better as a weekly half-hour than in this double-sized premiere.
Introduced as the son of "a blacksmith and a stay-at-home mom," the heroic Krod (Sean Maguire of "Meet the Spartans," back in another adventure parody) is leading a ragtag band of rebels against the evil ruler of an ancient kingdom, Chancellor Dongalor ("Little Britain's" Matt Lucas). Yes, that's right, Dongalor.
In this quest to fulfill his destiny -- which includes a sword that inexplicably bursts into flame -- Krod is joined by an inept wizard (Kevin Hart); a pagan warrior (India de Beaufort), who's as apt to seduce her foes as slay them; a porcine servant (Steve Speirs) armed with a crossbow but bad aim; and Bruce (Marques Ray), whose name, in these lowbrow environs, says it all.
For the most part, think "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," with the one real breakthrough here being de Beaufort as Krod's unfaithful girlfriend. Although sex is said to be her character's "secret weapon," de Beaufort is so alluring -- and amply displayed, by the way, thanks to a gratuitous ritual that amounts to a pagan pole dance -- she may actually be the show's most overt asset in its goal to bludgeon a young-male audience into submission.
Shot in Hungary, the series has the sword-and-sorcery look and trappings down, as well as a feel for the stilted dialogue and conventions associated with the genre. It's all so broadly played, though -- and, as underscored by Maguire's feature resume, has been done so many times before -- that even a less jaded audience is less likely to laugh lustily than simply nod along in recognition.
That said, give Comedy Central credit for stepping slightly outside its customary mold by gambling on this international co-venture, a partnership that made the "fantasy" part of the equation possible and -- thanks to the British appetite for silliness -- probably helps explain the naughty tone. It's only too bad "Krod's" comedy isn't a bit more adventurous.