Great for What It Is - A real life version of a video game cut-scene
Okay, first off, I'd like to say that all the negative reviews that think they're being funny by tearing into a low budget sci-fi horror movie are like the bullies who pick on the fat retarded kid. Sure, we all snicker a little bit, but nobody's impressed with your rapier wit dissecting the flaws of someone less fortunate than you.
That said, they do serve a purpose...they let you know what kind of film this is. By having a few amateur Ebert's out there talking about how this is the worst movie, ever, you know you're not looking for a truly serious movie. Otherwise, even if it was bad, they would not have bothered to show up and try to be internet wise-guys.
I really enjoy this movie and will stop and watch it whenever it is playing on TV. It's a cheap, funny, wildly inaccurate movie about a video game company that accidentally makes a monster when a lightning strike causes a motion capture suit become imbued with the AI of what would surely be a controversial game lambasted by the media for it's violence and gore.
The characters are overblown, but they were written (rather well) to be so. The actors do a good job of portraying those characters in an exaggerated fashion. Tyler Mane (Hardcore - Sabertooth/Xmen, Ajax/Troy) is the muscular metal head, Karim Prince (Sol) is the cocky, geek-suave black guy, and Jason Marsden (Bug) is the geeky white guy. All fit some type of stereotype and play a 3 way foil to each other. Clea DuVall (Laura)is always welcome in this kind of role, the quiet, cute for a geek girl. Her abusive boyfriend is even played by Danny Masterson (Hyde, That 70's Show)They worked together before in The Faculty, where the size of their respective parts was about the same, I'm curious what the connection is.
Anyway. Like the title says, this movie is basically a film version of a video game cut-scene. The plot's not airtight, the characters aren't deep or dynamic, and the production value's not high. But we suspend disbelief because it makes the experience enjoyable. Many people have commented on the inaccuracy of 3 guys making a triple A title in a week or so, but that was not the case, they were modifying an existing engine, and in the beginning of computer game development, the biggest games were still made by small teams in short time-spans.
I don't know why I'm even trying to mend plot holes, because that's NOT the point. The point is, if you like old video games, cheap horror/sci fi movies, or better yet both, you will love this movie as much as I do. It reminds me all over of games like DOOM, Quake, Heretic, Hexen, basically the progenitors of games like Halo and Call of Duty (which have made video games more profitable than the movie and music industries) If you're too immature to appreciate the simplistic technology that made those games (and thus all games) possible, you probably won't enjoy this movie, either. So sit back, dig in, watch it while you download an emulator that will let you play all your favorite games from Middle and High school.
This movie blows. Hard. And that's unfortunate. I'm a big fan of the sword/sandal/sorcery genre, and vikings have a particular place in my heart. Sadly, this movie sodomizes and decapitates the redeeming qualities other fantasy action movies have.
First, the casting. Zachery Ty Bryan of Home Improvement fame just looks and sounds like a man-child, and Daz Crawford is really too swarthy to play a fair-skinned Northman, looking more Egyptian or Moorish. Squinty-eyed motherf*cker Mac Brandt was, to me, the most believable as Baldur, and the only character whose flowery way of speaking matched his thoughtful nature. That brings me to the second big F-up, the dialogue.
Every viking speaks like a retarded Shakespeare tried to make them sound dramatic. They over-explain everything that they do and that happens to them, using either Tarzan like speech or bad metaphor to make them sound historical. And even though they all keep swearing oaths about killing enemies or risking their lives, most the time they just stand around, or worse, run away. Which reminds me of the third F-up.
I admit, I'm only 1/5 or 1/4 of the way through the movie, but I have yet to seen any actual swordplay. Yes, a severed head did get thrown at a remaining sentry, and in another scene several men stand within a foot of some were-creatures, but all you see them do is shout, which they do as if they want to convey the idea of action without actually moving. Not showing the first confrontation that occurs can build suspense, but after a while you need to have some combat.
The movie is not without some good points. "Vikings" is basically point #1. All the characters are named after Viking gods, and seemed to follow the basic personality corresponding to mythology, without being a literal allegory. Point #2: The weapons and armor are some of the most realistic I've seen in a viking flick, but as I mentioned above it seems they rarely get used. It's too bad the accurate weapons and gritty scenery are mixed with some terrible CGI. "Dream" sequences courtesy of ZTB's Thor are horribly done, even with their so-dark-you-can-barely-see-it tint, everything in the sequence seems fake and cartoony. Luckily, from what I can tell the monsters are guys in suits rather than bad animations, but the camera shows them for fractions of seconds before blurrily panning away.
All in all, this is a movie that I really want to be decent, but which has failed to be anything more than terrible. Although unburdened by the cheese of such Hollyword fare as Pathfinder, which had higher production values but little substance, it lacks any of it's own integrity. I thoroughly enjoyed the 13th Warrior, but Hammer of the Gods cannot be compared in any way. While Keith Urban and Antonio Banderas are not the best actors, they played much better main characters than any in this movie. And none of the actors in HotG could compare to Vladimir Kulich as Buliwyf from the 13th in looks, voice, or presence.
Okay, so the film isn't great, but who cares? I honestly prefer this to something like star wars, which has the same lack of content except that your expected to take it seriously. In fact, I like this film quite a bit
The sex scenes go a little overboard, but I appreciate it more for the fact that it reminds me of going to high school as an adolescent, from the perspective of Neil...sometimes you're the super-cool guy going to parties, drinking, sleeping with girls, other times you're heartbroken by the person you care most about, and sometimes you're the mutant freak
that and any movie with a soundtrack including the misfits is good by me