When reviewing a movie like NORTHMEN: A VIKING SAGA, one must keep in mind the intended end result behind the film. This was not made to win an Academy Award, nor was it made to awe and impress (like a Michael Bay film). The script was not written to relay an underlying message or provide any kind of symbolism. Far from it. This movie was simply made to entertain. The title alone tells what the viewer is in for, and any expectation of more is a fool’s gambit. As such, NORTHMEN: A VIKING SAGA does exactly what it was designed to do. And although it’s not perfect, it’s still a lot of fun and worth checking out.
If you are not familiar with NORTHMEN: A VIKING SAGA, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment:
In the 9th century, a group of Vikings, is approaching Britain, aiming to plunder the rich monasteries in the north of the island. But their ship gets caught in a storm and is smashed to pieces on the rocks off the coast of Scotland, the only part of Britain without any Viking settlements. When the daughter of the Scottish King by chance falls into Viking hands, they see the opportunity for demanding a large ransom. The King immediately sets his ‘wolfpack’ a group of mercenaries well known for their savagery on them. The Northmen with their hostage now have to force their way through the rough highlands, where they meet the brave and mysterious Christian monk Conall (Ryan Kwanten). Having the wolfpack close on their heels, a desperate race against time begins. A battle over life and death…
I will confess the primary draw for me here with this film is Ryan Kwanten. I love his portrayal of Jason Stackhouse in the TRUE BLOOD series, and I like his diversity as an actor. Kwanten shows a wide array of talents with this role, and it is truly a feather in his cap.
NORTHMEN: A VIKING SAGA looks pretty decent from a production standpoint, but it also doesn’t come across as a high-value motion picture. There’s not much to the sets (other than locations), and the special effects are pretty straight forward. Still, the film doesn’t need a blockbuster budget to achieve its goal.
The acting is pretty good all the way around. I mentioned Kwanten above, and he’s joined with several unique acting talents. Ed Skrein plays the menacing Hjorr, while Tom Hopper plays the stoic hero Asbjorn. Both do a great job, and I look forward to seeing more of them in the future. Likewise, the rest of the cast is enjoyable as well.
NORTHMEN: A VIKING SAGA is a lot of fun, as long as you go into it with the right mindset. It does not bring anything new to the table, but it is still entertaining to watch. As such, I recommend giving it a shot. The action is decent, and the tension is abundant. The film is available now in a variety of formats.