Sunday, August 10, 2014

Film Review: Hammer of the Gods (2013)

Hammer of the Gods (Review)
United Kingdom/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"A few decent scenes ... can't redeem an otherwise boring and poorly written film."

A dying Viking king sends his son, Steinar (Charlie Bewley), to find his vanished older brother, Hakan.

Hammer of the Gods follows Steinar as he, along with a few others, track Hakan into dark territory. Hakan being the last hope for the Viking clan as an army Saxons approaches. Anyway, that's practically all that happens. A battle here, a game there, another battle and so on. Hammer of the Gods doesn't hook or engage the audience throughout its generic and boring story. It does become more interesting and engaging towards the end, but it feels too little, too late. The ending itself is decent, but also cheesy.

Unfortunately, Hammer of the Gods doesn't fare any better when it comes to action, either. There aren't many hammers, but quite a few sword fights. The fight choreography looks and feels very amateurish -- some swinging and some blocking, but it never feels like an actual battle. It usually leads to a bloody execution, but the fight itself is generally boring. The final fight sequence towards the end is really the only decent action scene in the entire film. With a dud story and mediocre action, Hammer of the Gods doesn't offer much to anyone -- fans of the genre or otherwise.

The acting is occasionally good, but mostly mediocre. Charlie Bewley is a promising leading man. However, the writing is very bad. The dialogue feels out of place and lacks the natural flow of, well, a natural conversation. If that's not enough, the film also uses terribly out of place music; dubstep and rock music... Really? With its poor dialogue and music, it's like the filmmakers wanted to be as anti-immersive as possible. The landscapes look great, though. Director Farren Blackburn lacks a strong and consistent vision; aside from the half-baked story and bad writing, the action choreography also suffers.

Overall, Hammer of the Gods is a bad film. I can forgive a generic story, but a boring story is unacceptable. Unfortunately, this is both. A few decent scenes, like the drinking game and the last 20 minutes or so, can't redeem an otherwise boring and poorly written film.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence, some gore, and some nudity.

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