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Northmen (2015)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Claudio Fah

Starring:
Tom Hopper/Asbjorn
Ryan Kwanten/Conall
James Norton/Bjorn
Charlie Murphy/Inghean
7 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
After their ship is sunk by a storm, a group of tough as axes Vikings have to travel through hostile territory to reach a safe zone. With peeved Scottish soldiers on their tail, their trek proves to be less than relaxing…
THE LOWDOWN

I love Vikings in general; the swords, the ships, the machismo, the code of honor, the brotherhood, the blood, the guts, the ale… I love all that shit. Sadly I haven’t seen many memorable Viking movies thus far (lots of low budget stinkers though). I know there’s a TV show going on at the moment that’s all the rage, but I have yet to watch it (soon though) hence thus far, I’ve loved Valhalla Rising (2009), appreciated the flawed yet visually arresting Pathfinder (2007) and I had a blast with the sci-fi meets Vikings Outlander (2008).  I know The 13Th Warrior is a favorite with my fellow film fans but no matter how many shots I give the thing, I have yet to fall in love with it. But now there’s a new contender on the block; it’s called NORTHMEN: A VIKING SAGA (WATCH IT HERE). So how did it fare? Did it give these old school badasses the respect they deserve? Stab on!

NORTHMEN had a lot going for it starting with its wow locations, which were maximized by director Claudio Fah’s (Sniper Reloaded) keen eye behind the camera. The flick also sported all kinds of groovy action scenes and it went through the “cool shit to see in a Viking action flick” checklist like nobody’s Viking bitch. A ship battling a storm (great f-ing scene)? Check! A scene in the rain? Check! An eye-popping mountain climbing scene? Check! Action get-down near a waterfall? Fuck yeah! Check! Battle on a rope bridge? Check! Traps put to good use First Blood style sequence? Damn straight! Check! It was all there for the taking and I was lapping it up fervently! At the end of the neck snap; this was a no frills Viking trapped behind enemy lines opus, a film that was driven forward by its action set pieces with a thin thread tying them all together. I know many will look at that as a flaw, with their noses up in the air, but for me I see NOTHING WRONG with a movie that just wants to give you a good time and Northmen was one of those. There were no pretences here as to the kind of shin-dig it was and I respected that! 

The cast on hand was solid too with Ryan Kwanten as a badass Christian monk and Tom Hopper as the Viking leader Asbjorn standing out the most for me. It took me half the film to recognize the former (his shaved head threw me off) and he pimped out the needed intensity and excelled in his fist-ti-cuff bits. I had never heard of the latter (he was on some Merlin show or something) but Hopper exuded charisma and presence galore. The camera loved him and I’ll keep tabs on him from now on. It should also be beheaded that Charlie Murphy’s lovely presence was appreciated in this sausage fest. The lady emanated a well-balanced mix of strength and vulnerability and yeah; she was smoking hot! Add to all that love a gripping score (by Marcus Trumpp), mostly solid production values and some arresting visuals (loved the slow motion shite and the areal shots) and you get a well-rounded Viking jamboree!

On the flip-side of the blade, the middle section of the film lagged a tad, especially when compared with the action packed first act and last act. Moreover the CGI was uneven in places and some of the sword fights were edited in a “too quick cut” fashion, taking away from the impact they should have had. And was I alone in not being crazy about the lead villain and his moustache twirling, "muaaaaaa" vibe? A bad guy with more grit and edge would have been appreciated. Finally there was a huge WTF moment here that saw this one dude die to then pop back into the game out of nowhere come the last act. I did a double take there; no f*cking way that dude could have lived! What was that all about? Did I miss something? You tell me!

All in all, although flawed and familiar to anybody that’s seen more than 10 action films; I had fun with Northmen! It provided a much needed two-hour of escapism and sometimes that’s all you need man to call it time well spent. TO VALHALLA!!!!!

GORE
We get gory slashes, stabbings, impalings and severed heads.
T & A
No poontang for these Northmen! Poor basterds...
BOTTOM LINE
Northmen was an earnest action flick that made the most of its jaw dropping locations, went balls out when it came to its action set pieces, was directed with oomph (Claudio Fah was on fire here) and sported an affable group of Viking badasses as its heroes (Tom Hopper and Ryan Kwanted owned this movie)! Yeah the middle section of the lagged a bit, the quick cut editing during some of the fights gave me headaches, the CG was sometimes off and I could have done without that dude that died and then came back for more (!?!); but on the whole I had a good time and I’d be down for a sequel! Would you?
BULL'S EYE
The film was written by Bastian Zach and Matthias Bauer.

This baby was shot in South Africa and Germany.
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