Monday, March 22
The Viking Sagas review
The Viking Sagas is a movie about, well - vikings. The lead character, Kjartan, is played by a little known actor named Ralf Moeller. His biggest role yet was the really big gladiator in the movie "Gladiator". Apart from that, well, he's been in movies like Batman and Robin, The Scorpion King, and at least four Uwe Bowl movies. For those of you who don't know who Uwe Bowl is, I plan on reviewing one of his movies at some point. Anyway, Ralf Moeller is basically your poor man's Jean Claud Van Damme, who in turn is the poor man's Arnold Schwarzenegger. A friend of mine recommended this movie to me due to it's badness, and holy crap is it bad.
The Viking Sagas starts off with some old guy telling a story to a bunch of kids in a cave. He talks about how some evil guy has taken over all but one region or something, and the unnamed chieftain there has some "Ghost sword" required to rule the region. Nothing really makes sense as he rushes through whatever he's trying to say. Anyway, his group are soon found by the, um, bad guys lead by Ketil, and a battle of silliness occurs. Seriously, every kill is either someone being tapped by a sword or a closeup of a sword stabbing what is obviously a costume held up by posts with blood packs inside. Also, we see the shot of the stabbed costume over and over again - I'm pretty sure it's just that one shot throughout the entire movie. Ketil challenges Kjartan to a duel, where our hero embarrasses himself royally. The fight looks ridiculous, and you'd think the son of a chieftain would recieve some kind of fight training in the Viking age. Oh yeah, this battle has a total of about 20 people in it, epic isn't it.
The chieftain and his son are captured - everyone else in their group has been killed. The chieftain offers to take "the walk" as a diversion to help Kjartan escape. Apparently the walk includes cutting open your stomach and walking around a pole, wrapping your intestines around it. His intestines look like sausages covered in ketchup, no joke. He tells his son to be a warrior, and apparently that's all he needs to become one? This movie makes no sense at all. Kjartan pulls the rope in half (don't care how strong you are, it's physically impossible for a human to snap a thick rope like that in half.) He grabs the ghost sword, jumps over a rock, and somehow disappears. As the chieftain stumbles to his death, he says "Ketil, I have won." This is honestly the laziest script I've ever seen in my life.
So a bunch of dudes find Kjartan on a beach and recognize the ghost sword. How did he get to the beach? no friggin idea. The narrator tells us this means he was destined to save the village or something. Yeah, this movie mentions this prophecy several times without telling us what it actually is. Also, because this movie makes no mention of spirituality or Viking mythology, the existence of this prophecy makes absolutely no sense. Anyway, they take Kjartan to their village and have a short conversation that reveals absolutely nothing. He later wakes up to some girl named Gudrun telling him to be quiet 'cause Ketil's men are looking for him. The very next shot shows Kjartan walking out of the tent, and there's no sign of Ketil's men. What, did they just magically disappear? No, apparently the bad guys left the village between these two shots without any kind of indication. Where is the suspense? Where is the tension? Why even have this warning scene if we never even see Ketil's men? For that matter, what kind of editing is this? I've never seen such lazy film-making in my life.
Moving along, Kjartan starts walking away from the village when a teenager runs after him. He asks Kjartan for some fighting lessons. Great, take fighting lessons from the man who humiliated himself against Ketil, that's a good idea. Gudrun shows up again and tells Kjartan to stay away from her brother. She's worried that her brother will get himself killed. Foreshadowing? Well, if he does get himself killed, they've already given away any possible surprise - now we're just waiting for him to be killed. Great job movie!
In the next scene, we learn that Gudrun is a servant for some jerk named Sighvat, and has to marry him. In the next scene, she tells us the EXACT SAME THING to a friend of hers. What kind of idiots to the filmmakers take their audience for? We then see a completely pointless scene of Kjartan and Gudrun's brother drinking a keg together before the brother runs off. OK, I'm 17 minutes in, and nothing really makes sense so far. Also, I have yet to see one scene last more than 30 seconds, excluding Kjartan's escape scene. After another completely pointless scene, Kjartan catches up with the brother, who talks about killing Sighvat before his sister marries him. Kjartan knocks the brother out and challenges Sighvat himself. We get a patheticly slow fight. Out of no where, some middle aged warrior shows up and shoots several people with arrows. Also, Sighvat gets his leg cut off, and says he's thirsty as he falls to his death. His leg's also twitching on the ground, which is biologically impossible. Why would someone say they're thirsty before they die?
Gudrun shows up in Kjartan's tent to thank him with sex. Wow, what a whore. She bangs the man who killed her intended husband, and has sex with someone simply because they rescued you. Ok, I'm sure the filmmakers are intending for them to fall in love, but all they've ever talked about before was "Stay away from my brother" and being forced to marry Sighvat, I'm not buying it. This love scene also has the first music of the entire movie, I'm not kidding. It's a lame viking-ish instrumental that lasts all of 10 seconds. The love scene is also intercut with the warrior talking to Gudrun's father...I think. So apparently one guy escaped from the wedding attack earlier (we didn't see him escape during the wedding, but whatever) and he runs home to tell Sighvat's family. Why did they let him escape in the first place? Sighvat's family want revenge, as his mother constantly reminds us, and head out toward Gudrun's village. The warrior, named Gunnar, agrees to teach Kjartan how to be a warrior. Oh, and apparently he's in love with Gudrun now, even though their first pleasant meeting was thank you sex. Holy crap this movie makes no sense.
Sighvat's family shows up to the village, only to find that the two "warriors" aren't there. We hear the mother cry "I want revenge" again, and then we cut to Kjartan and Gunnar at a hidden cave. My guess is that they've traveled here so they can train in private, but nobody ever tells us this. We get about a minute of...nothing, and then the training starts.
To start the training, Gunnar says "Try to kill me." Kjartan throws a spear at the warrior, but it only travels about 10 feet. Seriously, this guy wants to be a warrior? He's the worst fighter I've ever seen in a movie. The only potential he's shown so far was that he killed Sighvat in one of the most unconvincing fights I've ever seen. We now get a Rocky-ish training montage that looks more like child's play. Shortly after, Sighvat's family arrives. What follows is Kjartan killing one bad guy, and Gunnar taking out everyone else. After that, another child's play training montage. Don't think I've ever seen two training montages within one movie before. Usually the trainee slowly gets better during the montage, but here we have two - one with Kjartan sucking, and the other with him rocking. We then see Gunnar walking by a waterfall, and he sees Ketil and his servants walking by. Nothing comes of this, making this one of the many completely pointless scenes.
A woman whose running to the girl's village falls down. The narrator tells us that she can no longer run, and yet after a very short conversation with Gudrun, she stands back up and continues walking. Hello? Editor? Script writer? Did anyone behind this movie even notice this? Do these filmmakers even care about the movie they're making?
Gudrun shows up where Kjartan is, and they have sex again. Huh, this isn't really much of a hiding spot when everyone can find it. One of Ketil's scouts shows up too, and sees them making out in a hotspring. The scout shoots Kjartan with an arrow and walks up to them. He stands and grins at Gudrun. She picks up an axe and slices it right into the scout's forehead. The girl takes Kjartan back to her village, where everyone helps him recover. In another filler scene, the narrator tells us that Gunnar wanted the girl, but now knows he can't have her. This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, so what was the point? Anyway, one of the villagers sees Kjartan's arrow scar, and suddenly knows he was destined to save the village. What? Didn't we establish this earlier? When did they mention that a scar was a part of the prophecy? Know what, I don't care, moving along.
It's now night at the village, and Ketil's shows up. They want the king's son, and offer to spare all the women and children in the village if they give him up. One of Ketil's men climbs onto the roof of a hut, only to receive a sword in the gut even though he's TOO HIGH ON THE ROOF to get stabbed. The mysterious warrior shows up in a mask and manages to kill another bad guy before being pushed into a hut. Gudrun's father also shoots several bad guys with arrows before they burn the buildings down. Ketil walks into the burning hut and kills the mysterious warrior to take the ghost sword (why not just let the burn to death in the hut and collect the sword after?) He pulls off the helmet to reveal that it's Gudrun's brother. He shouts, but I have no idea what kind of emotion he's trying to convey because of how atrocious his acting is. And why did Gudrun's brother have the ghost sword in the first place?
Cut back to Gudrun and the Kjartan, where his wound is magically healed by a fire? Don't ask, I have no idea either. Also, how did the bad guys miss them? If they were attacking the village, wouldn't they check every hut and tent? Anyway, they hear that people are being murdered in a village. It turns out that Gunnar is fighting random schmucks as some woman cries in the middle of no-where. Kjartan tells Gunnar to stop, and he does. Gunnar even recruits the two schmucks. What? Why would you ever work for someone who tried to kill you minutes ago? Why would you trust him when he said he no longer has honor? This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and later on we learn that this scene is once again, COMPLETELY POINTLESS. We then get a bunch of nonsense scenes that rapidly switch between day and night that seem to have no purpose whatsoever.
We then learn that Kjartan has to wait to try to rally a bunch of people to team up against Ketil. We also learn that Gudrun is the last of a lawgiver bloodline. What? Where did this come from? What are they talking about? Anyway, the good guys show up at another village. So Gunnar and Kjartan let Ketil capture Gudrun for their plan or something, and kill two of the bad guys. A third bad guy shoots two arrows at them, hitting the exact same spot on the door beside them. Why is he your archer when he always shoots too far to the left, why? This movie's even more of a jumbled mess than "The Room" is. Anyway, we arrive at some "Council of Chieftains" thing, where there's supposed to be some sort of big decision. We get several minutes of absolutely nothing except for Gudrun and two random dudes riding on horses.
After a really stupid meeting, Kjartan shows up. He shoots one of the bad guys, starts charging forward, and the meeting degenerates into a climatic battle. Kjartan and Ketil duel as Gunnar takes out a bunch of dudes before getting killed himself by several arrows. This climatic battle is a terrible mess of a scene with some of the most unconvincing deaths of the entire movie, and that's saying a lot. People die by getting touched by swords, people obviously break their falls, and when the main bad guy is decapitated, he talks after rolling on the ground despite the total lack of lungs. Kjartan shouts "Father, you are avenged!" and suddenly the fight ends too.
We then learn that Gudrun is pregnant with Kjartan's baby boy. Wait...she's not even showing yet and they already know it's a boy. How would they know it's a boy when electricity hasn't even been discovered yet? Anyway, The narrator reveals that he's their son in the lamest narrative conclusion ever, and then the credits roll.
This may not be the worst movie I've ever seen, but it's certainly the most confusing. This movie is a jumbled mess of 30 second scenes, many of which are completely pointless. The acting is terrible, the fighting is terribly unconvincing, and the plot makes absolutely no sense because nothing is explained. Is it entertainingly bad? Somewhat, but throughout most of the movie I was trying to make sense of it rather than simply watching it. With that, here's my two word review.
Two word review - Irredeemable Mess