Vikingdom (NR)

Action/Adventure 114 October 4, 2013
By Alan Scherstuhl
Say it out loud, and the title Vikingdom, that slapdash portmanteau, reveals its hidden promise: Viking Dumb. That’s a fair summation of the glory and ridiculousness of what director Yusry Abd Halim has pulled off. He only could have improved on its accuracy if he’d just called it what it is: The First and Best-Ever Malaysian Viking Flick. Imagine an old Hollywood mead-and-beard epic like The Long Ships (based on Frans G. Bengtsson’s thrilling, hilarious novel) directed by an acolyte of young Peter Jackson—rococo violence! that restless camera! cheap-o monsters!—who is determined, budget be damned, to stuff the movie with the pomp and grandeur of mid-career Jackson—besieged castles! a portentous prologue! And imagine that, every 10 minutes or so, town-destroying fights break out, all sharply choreographed, full of brawling stuntwork, medieval weaponry, and a refreshing mixture of battle styles—you’ve got your pug-ugly WWE-looking lugs hacking away, plus lithe wire-fu ringers. Can I call it “axe-socky”? Finally, imagine it all somehow works. Vikingdom trembles with joy even before we meet the dog-dragon that looks like a set of windup chattering teeth combined with a homecoming float. Not long after that, in a truly eerie sequence set in Viking Hell, the hero Eirick (Dominic Purcell) has to climb into a mountain of golden women. The ladies moan and writhe, a grand vision of paint and flesh that might wow ’em at the opera. It’s dazzling, but it’s also something of a wake-up call: Hollywood’s lock on adventure spectacle is long gone. Oh, the plot is about killing the god Thor at Stonehenge during a “blood eclipse.”
Yusry Abd Halim Dominic Purcell, Craig Fairbrass, Conan Stevens, Natassia Malthe, Jesse Moss, Jon Foo, Byron Gibson, Tegan Moss, Trevor Coppola, Damian Mavis James Coyne Shireen M. Hashim Epic Pictures Releasing

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