Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Valhalla Rising begins without introduction or fanfare at a warrior's fight ring in what I think is Scotland. A one-eyed competitor is uncaged and defeats his opponents with unrivaled brutality. He is kept leashed to a pole in the ring because no one can stop him, otherwise. He fights two men, a ditchy enterprise in reality, but it plays out for real. One-Eye bites a chunk of one man's neck out, spits it at the other, and then strangles him with his own lead rope. Later he bashes someone's skull open, brains aplenty. Disembowels another. But instead of being a portent of the brutal reality of combats to come, the story fires its bloody wad in the first reel, and never recaptures the energy it released.
Severed Ways. I watched an actor shit on camera and wipe his ass with leaves in that one. This was a lot better, but that is faint praise.
The Viking Rankings, so far:
The 13th Warrior (Antonio Banderas as an Arab, veers from the book's undead, but great fun)
The Vikings (A ridiculous Hollywood sword epic but loads of fun)
How to Train Your Dragon (much better than you'd give it credit for)
Outlander (Vikings vs. Predator... great dumb fun!)
Beowulf & Grendel (an overlooked "what really happened" tale, quite enjoyable)
Erik the Viking (Terry Jones of Monty Python, with predictable absurdity)
Beowulf (the Zemeckis 3D-animated one; pretty but boring)
Pathfinder (A great premise stupidly ruined. Vikings don't know ice breaks?)
Severed Ways (must be seen to be believed)
Yet to see:
When the Raven Flies
The Long Ships
The Viking Sagas
The Last of the Vikings
Embla: The White Viking
© 2011 Thomas Pluck
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