Review: VIKINGDOM (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 14 October 2013

Review: VIKINGDOM (2013)

As bland as Dominic Purcell's wooden performance, VIKINGDOM is a cheap-looking B-grade trashy epic best suited for direct-to-DVD release.

Back in 2011, Yusry Abdul Halim and his KRU Studios has tried but failed their first attempt to impress viewers with the big-budget historical epic HIKAYAT MERONG MAHAWANGSA (or known internationally as THE MALAY CHRONICLES: BLOODLINES). However, you've gotta give Yusry a credit for his never-give-up attitude. Two years later, he made his second attempt in another big-budget historical epic called VIKINGDOM, which is easily the studio's most ambitious production to date. Not only that, he is bold enough to make a Viking movie filled with international cast mostly reserved for Hollywood filmmakers. But try hard as he might, it's sad to say that VIKINGDOM is an epic failure on almost all counts. Forget about the controversy you've heard about this movie, because upon finally watching it, I don't see why it even worth the controversy at the first place. Instead, I can't help it but experiencing VIKINGDOM is like watching a so-called historical epic directed by Uwe Boll (of BLOODRAYNE trilogy and two IN THE NAME OF THE KING movies).

VIKINGDOM tells the story of Eirick (Dominic Purcell), a Viking prince who dies in a battlefield but later revived by his former lover Freya (Tegan Moss), who is a blond goddess. With Eirick being alive again, he is tasked to stop Thor (Conan Stevens) from opening the gates of Valhalla that connected between heaven, earth and hell. Eirick is told that the only thing to defeat Thor is to retrieve the horn from the Gates of Souls. And so Eirick begins his quest by assembling a small team which includes a strong right-hand man Sven (Craig Fairbrass), sexy fighter Brynna (Natassia Malthe), and Chinese martial-art fighter Yang (Jon Foo). They set sail across the ocean while fending off all kinds of danger until the inevitable showdown between Eirick and Thor during the blood eclipse.
Action scenes are fairly entertaining here, notably with Jon Foo's martial-art presence which added some Eastern influence in this otherwise all-typical Viking saga. Some of the visual themes are quite ambitious for a locally-produced movie, notably the "Gate of Souls" scene where Eirick is required to swim past the gold-painted women to retrieve the horn.

Does surviving the entire movie from almost falling asleep counts as the most memorable moment? You get the idea.

Like his ill-fated HIKAYAT MERONG MAHAWANGSA (2011), director Yusry Abdul Halim's second attempt on big-scale historical epic remains haphazard all over the place. Suffice to say, his direction is mostly pedestrian and lackluster. James Coyne's screenplay is sketchy and feels redundant where everything works like a cheap video game: walk, talk, fight and repeat. Well, you get the drill. Special effects, in the meantime, are obviously cheap-looking while some of the costume designs are laughable. Take Jesse Moss' Lord Frey character for instance. I mean, whoever thinks it's a good idea to dress him up in a bright golden-and-yellow drag, must be really joking here. Even some of the movie props are very cheesy, especially the one where Conan Stevens' Thor character carries a huge steel hammer that looks like it's bought from Toys "R" Us.

As for acting, Dominic Purcell is terribly miscast as the lead Viking hero. The biggest problem with him is his monotonous and lazy voice. Not to mention he looks as if he sleepwalks his role throughout the movie. As the villainous Thor, Conan Stevens is as wildly campy as he goes while Natassia Malthe's screen presence is forgettable where she lets her skimpy clothes do most of her acting.

Don't waste your money watching VIKINGDOM in the cinema because as a theatrical release, it's simply embarrassing. Skip this, and you hardly miss a thing.

No comments: