5 out of 10

Release Date: 30th August 2013 (DVD premiere)

Director: Farren Blackburn (Dr Who (TV) / Holby City (TV) / Doctors (TV) / Footballers’ Wives (TV))

Cast: Charlie Bewley, Elliot Cowan, Clive Standen, Michael Jibson, Theo Barklem-Biggs, Alexandra Dowling, Ivan Kaye, Guy Flanagan, Finlay Robertson with Glynis Barber and James Cosmo

Writer: Matthew Read


TV director Farren Blackburn‘s movie debut could have done with a bigger budget and a slightly sharper script. Otherwise this fair stab at a Viking version of Jospeh Conrad’s Hearts of Darkness isn’t that bad.  The plot mirrors said book slavishly eventhough it doesn’t even know it.

Fresh off the boat, Prince Steinar (CHARLIE BEWLEY – LIKE CRAZY) and his gang of marauders land in England to bring reinforcements to his father’s army.  King Bagsecg (JAMES COSMO – TRAINSPOTTING) has been mortally wounded and gives his son the choice of dying or bringing back his brother to succeed him as king. Trouble is brother Hakan (ELLIOT COWAN) has gone native and is far far behind enemy lines, where no right minded Viking would ever venture.

Special effects are in low demand in this kind of film, all the production team needed to do was raid the supplies of Toys-R-Us and go to Snowdonia.  The acting requires little effort, just the ability to yell “rarrrrghhhhh!!!” or stare off into the middle distance if you are the ‘mystic’ one. Charlie Bewley (unknown to me) was fairly good, competent at delivering his lines convincingly whilst waving a sword around. His band of less than merry Vikings are made up of regular hairy types – of which only the wonderful Michael Jibson (THE BANK JOB) was previously known to me. Jibson, for me is the soul reason for recommending this movie and for chalking up an extra couple of points. He seems to have cornered the market in playing slightly unhinged dick heads that meet satisfyingly awful ends (see Devil’s Bridge or Panic Button).  Here he gets to play a hard man too!  This guy should be getting better roles and it would seem like he’s getting some notice through bit parts in behemoths like Les Miserables.  Theo Barklem-Biggs (SILK) also delivers a good performance as Steinar’s unreadable half-brother Vali who may just be a traitor and the cause of the death that stalks them. Glynis Barber (BLAKE’S SEVEN) turns up in a demented cameo at the end – all I can say for her is that she still looks good!

Hammer Of The Gods features a lot of shouting and eye-catching fights. Sadly it’s hardly memorable. I saw it two weeks ago and I struggle to remember much plot. It is certainly on par with other starrier – larger budget movies like Centurion or The Eagle. It does a good job of smoothing the road for the oncoming onslaught of Viking TV series and films, but a bit more risk and a sense of adventure in the production department would have made this one to truly recommend. It wasn’t far off being a very good movie and because of this it makes it unforgivably average. Shame.

5 out of 10 – Standard but average action Viking flick.  OK acting, good fights, stolen plot, great scenery and so-so script get it to the middle of the road. If you’re undemanding, this might float your long boat.



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