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What better name is there for an actor playing Thor than Conan? For that matter, who better to produce a Vikings movie than Malaysians? These and other questions spring to mind while watching Vikingdom, the mindlessly campy sword-and-sandals epic showing up on movie screens to sate audiences too impatient to wait for the sequel to 300.
An impressively hard-bodied but hopelessly wooden Dominic Purcell plays the hero, Eirick, who leads the human forces against the god Thor (Conan Stevens). Determined to prevent Scandinavia from becoming Christian before the next “Blood Eclipse,” the hammer-wielding deity, sporting red hair that makes him resemble Howdy Doody, seeks to procure various relics, including Mary Magdalene’s necklace, which will enable him to open the gates of Valhalla.
Or something like that, since plot details come fast and furious in the convoluted proceedings while viewers are waiting for the next battle sequence to commence. Fortunately, they don’t have to wait long, as director Yusry Abd Halim provides CGI-enhanced one after another, many featuring the sort of slow-motion carnage that has become de rigueur for these sorts of films.
The fight sequences are staged with admirable proficiency despite the often cheesy special effects, and the chiseled bodies on display–including that of one of Eirick’s fellow combatants, Brynna (Natassia Malthe), who wears a sports bra even in the most frigid conditions—will no doubt inspire viewers to head immediately for the gym.
The filmmaker also manages to come up with some impressive visual set-pieces, including one in which Eirick is forced to wade into a huge array of gold-painted women as he attempts to retrieve the Horn of Helheim, the only thing that can stop Thor.
Or something like that, since, as previously mentioned, the film virtually requires Cliff’s notes to decipher its plethora of mystical mumbo-jumbo. Since it’s likely to be seen much more widely on DVD and VOD than in its limited theatrical release, the remote control’s fast-forward button should easily take care of that.
Opens Oct. 4 (Epic Pictures Releasing)
Production: KRU Studios
Cast: Dominic Purcell, Natassia Malthe, Craig Fairbrass, Jon Foo, Conan Stevens
Director: Yusry Abd Halim
Screenwriter: James Coyne
Producer: Shireen M. Hashim
Executive producers: Patrick Ewald, Norman A. Halim
Director of photography: Eric Oh
Editor: Ezarisyirwan Basri
Production designers: Yusry Abd Halim, Tommy Mansur
Costume designer: Rosada A. Hamid
Composer: Edry A. Halim
Not rated, 114 min.
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