If you enjoy historical fiction like I do, then you’ll definitely want to give HAMMER OF THE GODS a look. Granted, you will have to suspend a bit of realism to enjoy the film (for example, the Vikings have slightly British accents and drop F-bombs like the word actually existed back then), but if you can do so then you’re in for a treat. This film is visually striking and wonderfully brutal in its content, not to mention immensely entertaining.
If you are not familiar with HAMMER OF THE GODS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Magnet Releasing press release:
Britain, 871 AD – A young Viking warrior, Steinar (Charlie Bewley), is sent by his father the king on a quest to find his estranged brother, who was banished from the kingdom many years before. Steinar’s epic journey across terrifyingly hostile territory gradually sees him emerge as the man his father wants him to be – the ruthless and unforgiving successor to his throne.
I don’t mind suspending reality to enjoy a film if I know what to expect going into it. Thankfully, a friend had seen this first and mentioned the use of nonexistent profanity for the time-period, so I was already expecting it. After a bit of conversation, we decided to just accept the usage as a ‘loose’ translation of a vulgarity they would have used back then. We probably spent too much energy on this topic, but nobody has ever called us brilliant.
HAMMER OF THE GODS is shot well and looks great from a visual perspective. The locations are both beautiful and grim, much like I would expect them to have looked back then. The fight scenes are well choreographed and there’s plenty of carnage to go around. Overall, the production value looks high and the film simply looks great onscreen.
The acting is also top notch. I particularly enjoyed the performance given by Charlie Bewley as Steinar. There’s just something about him that screams ‘primal’, as if he’s a caged animal ready to spring. In addition, I enjoyed Elliot Cowan as well; he portrays Steinar’s psychotic brother, Hakan, and does a masterful job with the role.
If I had to voice a complaint about HAMMER OF THE GODS, it would have to be the length of the film. It clocks in at 99 minutes, but this one should have easily been over two hours. There is plenty of subject material, and some of the scenes and interactions could have been fleshed out more. This is strictly personal opinion, however, and should not dissuade you from checking out the film as it is.
HAMMER OF THE GODS is a definite win for me and I recommend giving it a shot. Just make sure you can overlook the casting of Brits as Vikings and you should enjoy yourself. The film is available now in a variety of formats, but give the Blu-ray a look for the superior HD picture quality and sound; you won’t be disappointed.