For some masochistic reason I thought that it would be an amusing diversion to watch some Viking-themed b-movies that I found on Netflix and the Syfy Channel. I was wrong.
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Director: Christopher Ray
Starring: Richard Grieco, Patricia Velasquez, Cody Deal
Man, this movie blew.
Cody Deal plays the perpetually clueless Thor and Richard Grieco plays Loki, Thor’s much older, goth-y brother. The two gods are continuing their eternal struggle, this time duking it out near a warehouse here on Earth. Patricia Velasquez plays Jarnsaxa, a pretty unconvincing valkyrie, who, with her long black coat and semi-automatic arsenal, is more Matrix than Asgard. Thor is given a black trench coat too, which is, I suppose, better than walking around in the brown bath mat pictured on the DVD cover (which makes him look more like a low-rent Hercules than anything else).
The action consists of Thor and Jarnsaxa jogging down back alleyways and sparse forests with Loki walking after them, trying his hardest to look menacing. Try as he might though, Richard Grieco’s pouty-faced-goth-man is no Loki.
Eventually, Thor and Jarnsaxa defeat Loki and all is right with the world. Snooze …
The Bottom Line: Any relation to Norse mythology is purely coincidental (actually, it’s contrived to ride the moola coattails of Marvel Studios). Don’t bother.
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Thor: Hammer of the Gods
Director: Topov Chapkanov
Starring: Zachery Ty Bryan, Melissa Osborne, misc. other people
Blast-from-the-TV-past Zachery Ty Bryan plays a Viking named Thor–a doughy, whiny, hammer-less wimp who can’t fight. He and his Viking pals sail to an island, fight werewolves, and the movie vaguely hints that they’re supposed to be the Norse pantheon, not just mortals with the same names. Righto.
Again, another “Thor movie” that is so far removed from the mythology that it’s a shame they can’t be sued for false advertising. It would only take about a 5 second search on Wikipedia to access the info on the old Norse myths needed to write a passable story.
I could say more about this movie, but I was so bored and irritated by it that I ended up fast-forwarding through most of it, waiting to see if anything looked worth watching. Didn’t find much.
The Bottom Line: All-in, I spent about 20 minutes watching this movie …I want those minutes back.
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Hammer of the Gods
Director: Farren Blackburn
Starring: Charlie Bewley, Alexandra Dowling, James Cosmo
It’s the year 870 A.D. (or C.E. if you want to be pedantic, and occasionally I do) and the island of Britannia is in an uproar. Some Vikings are fighting a battle against some Saxons. The main character, Prince Steinar, and his merry band of foul-mouthed, morally bankrupt warriors are summoned by King Bagsecg (apparently pronounced “bag-sack”). Steinar is tasked with finding his exiled brother, even though said brother was exiled for being insane, incestuous, and ego-maniacal …but hey, the king is dying so why not?
Why thank you movie. So rarely do movies identify the characters like this for the audience…usually they don’t need too, because a script with coherent dialogue does that. But hey, if you can’t write one of those, shiny labels ought to do the trick.
The warriors wander around for awhile, killing abused women and random soldiers as they go. I think this was supposed to be a story about the prince’s personal journey from being a mere soldier to being a Viking king, but that gets lost in all the inanity.
Let me pause here for a moment, and give some advice to any aspiring actors out there:
Whether you are a famous actor or not, a good general rule is: don’t show-up the director. However, when you’re laying on your back in the mud shouting a line like, “I’m Prince Steinar, son of Bag-Sack!”, you really do need to question the script (and possibly your career).
Seriously, I imagine they’re on the set filming this scene, the actor shouts that line, and everyone bursts out laughing. Unable to keep a straight face they try to continue, but the director relents and says, “Ok, ok, let’s cut that last part, or better yet let’s change the king’s name.” I mean, how does something as unintentionally ridiculous as that make its way into the film?
But then, most of this movie’s dialogue should not have made it into the film. I’ve got a pretty high tolerance for *cringe-inducingly vulgar*, however …
Please stop talking about sodomy, genitals, and bloody murder! Just stop. We get it. You’re all horrible, disgusting, unappealing characters who we hope all die, painfully, right now, so that we can stop watching this grimy failure of a movie. Wait, that wasn’t what the screenwriter was going for?
The Bottom Line: Don’t touch, even with a 10 ft. pole. You’ll probably catch a nasty disease.
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Hmm, perhaps I’m being a bit cranky, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Oh well, I’m going to go watch the Christopher Lambert Beowulf, at least I can enjoy that kind of awful.