Thursday, January 16, 2014

Vikingdom (DVD Review) - Epic Pictures

Directed By: Yusry Kru
Written By: James Coyne
Starring: Dominic Purcell, Natassia Malthe, Craig Fairbrass
Color/112 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1

The Film
Thor is on a warpath to collect three ancient relics, the Horn from Helheim, Mary Magdalene’s necklace from Midgard in addition to his own hammer. Obtaining the other two relics would give him control over all three kingdoms if he is able to use each during the Blood Eclipse to take complete control over mankind. The only man that can stop him is Eirick The Bloodletter, and undead man who was blessed with life by the goddess Freya due to her love for him. Eirick recruit’s a squad of several other Vikings of varying abilities and skills for his quest, including a wizard, a small man who fights like a Valkyrie, brute warriors and archers. Their journey takes them across snow covered lands, into the mouth of Hell itself and deep into the dangerous seas. There is no shortage of bloodshed and violence before Eirick’s final showdown with the God of Thunder himself.

VIKINGDOM is a highly stylized adventure flick from director Yusry Kru. I liken this movie to be a mix of 300 and The Matrix but set in a world of Norse mythology. Many of the fight scenes have frantic, high speed editing, and slow motion is used quite a bit. I’d prefer a more straight forward fight scene but I’ve seen these techniques used in far more annoying ways in similarly toned films. The acting is so-so from the cast, including lead Dominic Purcell. Much of the cast is a bit wooden in their delivery but these aren’t complex characters and no performance is ever bad enough to take you out of the film. Thor’s appearance was a bit jarring at first, becoming very used to the Marvel Comics depiction of the God as a blonde haired, more youthful son of Odin, the slightly older, fiery red headed Thor of VIKINGDOM took a bit to get used to but it is very fierce and strong look for the villain.

Far from great, and certainly not a piece of art, VIKINGDOM did proide me with almost two hours of popcorn entertainment when all I wanted to do was turn of my brain it helped me do that. It isn’t amazing but if you like action/adventure flicks and Vikings you can do worse.

The Audio & Video
Epic Pictures gives a nice 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer to VIKINGDOM on DVD. The digital photography looks nice, but there are several moments where the sets are obviously sets or the CGI looks weak. That is something a film such as this has to deal with when it doesn’t have a mega Hollywood budget. The crispness and the clarity of the DVD are almost a detriment to the film for that reason. The audio track is rather good, with a 5.1 surround track handling the sound duties. There are plenty of sound effects of swords clashing and tearing through flesh, and there isn’t really much downside to the track.

It is interesting to note that VIKINGDOM was obviously shot in 3D but this release has no option for 3D.

The Extras
-25 Minute “Making Of” featurette
-Music video by MOJO for the song “Dark Clouds” from the OST
-TV spot

The Bottom Line
If you’re a fan of Matrix style action or fantasy adventure films such as 300 you’d probably enjoy VIKINGDOM and I’d suggest it enough to give it a rental if you fall under that blanket.

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