Hammer of the Gods
Maybe producing a Viking adventure that wholesale pillages its material from other, far superior movies is some kind of meta-joke? Then again, maybe not. The profane dialogue of Game of Thrones, the body count of 300 and the entire last act of Apocalypse Now are cobbled together to form a rather dull montage of hill walking and torso stabbing.
Hammer of the Gods centres on the character of Steinar, played by the permanently shirtless and immaculately manicured Charlie Bewley. The son of Viking King Bagsecg, Steinar is sent forth by his ailing father to traipse across ancient Britain in search of his estranged older brother Hakan, the one man who can restore stability to the throne.
Along the way he’s joined by token love interest Agnes (Alexandra Dowling) and the fearsome, heavily-bearded warrior Ivar (Ivan Kaye), whose awesome power the film introduces by way of an arm wrestling contest. In a pointless aside, we also learn that Ivar has a penchant for young boys, keeping one as a sex slave chained to a post. Why on earth this detail is included is anyone’s guess. It summons a bad taste that has no place in a movie obviously geared towards teenaged boys.
Their quest leads them from one fight with a group of faceless Saxons to the next, their foes dispensed with ease in the most pedestrian hack and slash seen since 2004’s King Arthur. The audience is asked to root for Steiner not only because he is able with a blade, but because he’s a veritable renaissance man who centuries before The Enlightenment dismisses the Nordic gods of his fellow Vikings and the Christ of the Saxons as dangerous superstitions. He believes in “science” and “reason”, yet in the next second loses himself to a seemingly unquenchable, animalistic bloodlust as he slaughters one enemy after another.
Not mature enough to pass as a Game of Thrones tribute and nowhere near fun enough to pass as a mindless romp, leaden dialogue and predictable plotting drag Farren Blackburn’s directorial debut down into “straight to DVD” territory.
Hammer of the Gods is released nationwide on 30th August 2013.
Watch the trailer for Hammer of the Gods here: