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Hammer of the Gods (2013)

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A young man transforms into a brutal warrior as he travels the unforgiving landscape in search of his long lost brother, Hakan the Ferrocious, whose people are relying on him to restore order to their kingdom.

Director:

Farren Blackburn

Writer:

Matthew Read
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Charlie Bewley ... Steinar
Clive Standen ... Hagen
James Cosmo ... King Bagsecg
Elliot Cowan ... Hakan
Glynis Barber ... Astrid
Ivan Kaye ... Ivar
Michael Jibson ... Grim
Guy Flanagan Guy Flanagan ... Jokul
Theo Barklem-Biggs ... Vali
Alexandra Dowling ... Agnes
Finlay Robertson ... Harald
Michael Lindall ... Saxon Leader
Francis Magee ... Ulric the Chronicler
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anna Alfieri ... Viking Cave Dweller
Marko Bennachimo Marko Bennachimo ... Saxon Thug
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Storyline

A high energy, high concept, stylish action epic set in the Norse world sees a passionate young man transform into a brutal warrior as he travels the unforgiving British landscape in search of his long lost brother Hakan The Ferrocious who his people are relying on to restore order to their kingdom following the bloody death of their king. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for bloody violence, language including sexual references, and some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 May 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ciocanul zeilor See more »

Filming Locations:

Beacon national park, Wales

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$164, 7 July 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$438, 14 July 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Vertigo Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ivan Kaye who plays Ivar the Boneless in this movie also stars in the TV show "Vikings" of History Channel as King Aelle who is said to have been killed by vikings led, inter alia, by Ivar the Boneless. See more »

Quotes

Steinar: You go to such lengths to build these churches, making sure they strike terror into the hearts of all who come near. It's just a room with a door... no different to a prison.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Half in the Bag: Shut in and Arrival (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Utterly Misguided Mess
3 July 2013 | by Simon_Says_MoviesSee all my reviews

It's no secret that originality is dead in film, in fact across all creative mediums the very nature of innovation is an illusion – how our minds are shaped is a reflection of everyone we've known and everything to which we've been exposed over our life. Every book, song, television show, conversation and meditation congeals in our mind and sometimes an idea springs forth. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison said that there are no original ideas only original people and that rings very true. Everything has been done before but it's how we approach these things – these visions – and how we each adhere to a unique doctrine that can result in something wonderful.

Then there are unoriginal people, individuals who seem to revel in familiarity and cliché or are either completely, blissfully oblivious to all that has come before. If the former is the case then Hammer of the Gods a rip-off orgy and the filmmakers' seed is splattered all across the screen and if it's the latter instance then writer Mathew Read should lock himself in a padded room because he is one of the unluckiest people of all time.

In all fairness, Hammer of the Gods isn't entirely inept; it's simply useless at being distinctive in any way. The British Highlands look as intimidating and coldly beautiful as ever and there are shots set up that relieve director Farren Blackburn of some of the blame. Likewise lead Charlie Bewley as a young Norse prince does the very best he can with the material, bringing a primal physicality to the role and line delivery heads above nearly everyone else. But that's approximately where the compliments dead end and where we must delve into how insultingly pilfering this gritty actionier really is.

The year is 871 AD and the Viking hold on Britain is beginning to waver as the Saxon counter offensive is starting to take its toll. Landing on foreign shores (with the eventual task of finding his long lost brother) is the young prince Steinar and his companions Hagen (Clive Standen), Grim (Michael Jibson) and Jokul (Guy Flanagan) who encounter a band of native defenders (after each being given a shiny, block-letter title card accompanied by a loud chord) and which they promptly slaughter. Aside from Steinar, each of these characters is straight out of King Arthur, right down to the specialty weapon they each carry. Hagan is Lancelot, the best friend of the hero who at times questions his motives and decisions and Grim is Ray Winstone's Bors, the brash, loud mouthed brute. Then there is the spiritualist Jokul, who is the brother to the hawk carrying Tristan (played in King Arthur by Mads Mikkelsen). Oh and don't forget the slave-turned-warrior princess Astrid (cough, Keira Knightly's Guinevere) who they meet up with along the way.

Even the aesthetics mimic that 2004 blockbuster, as does Hammer of the Gods copy The Eagle, Centurion and every other film set in the period. As nice as it sometimes looks, there is nothing to distinguish it from all that has come before. Then we even have some elite Saxon forces that somehow managed to nab the garb from 300's Persian Immortals. Furthermore (but to save me smashing my keyboard out of frustration) I won't even delve into the similarities between this effort and History's strong period series Vikings.

But wait you ask, what if you're normally easily to forgive thievery, cliché and well treaded territory? Well, I'm sorry to say I've just re- dampened my blanket. Amidst all the familiar clutter there is the inherent issue with having Vikings as a film's protagonist, let alone warriors portrayed as they are in Hammer of the Gods. It is very difficult in my mind to stand behind a pillaging, raping, invading force who gleefully slaughters farmers who simply want to protect their land. Even the aforementioned Vikings suffers to an extent from this conundrum but it has by far come the closest to striking the correct balance.

If being the villains in the eyes of a country isn't difficult enough to overcome thematically, they make a number of this small pack utterly detestable. Grim makes gay slurs, disobeys orders and at one instance (which is also the film's most completely useless sequence – one which embodies the write off Hammer of the Gods truly is) beats and then murders a captive woman who was originally targeted to be saved from some abusive individuals. Then there is another character they meet in their travels by the name of Ivar (Ivan Kaye) who is perplexed as to why he was exiled for raping young boys and then expects us to laugh along as he and the other crack jokes about it.

But as if to think mimickery was behind us as the climax rolls along, Hammer of the Gods goes full out Valhalla Rising, resulting in one of the most bizarre, stylistically awkward and dramatically inert endings I can recall. As a final slap in the face, after this trek across Britain to fulfill his father's order, Steinar has been transformed into a brutal warrior, stripped of any and all empathy. And here I was thinking the more complex, morally torn soldier was more compelling – what was I thinking. Evolving from grunt to general or inexperienced to battle hardened is one thing but to go from conflicted prince to blood thirsty king is just as misguided as everything else this film offers.

Bad films can be forgiven from time to time, especially those which have a reach that exceed its grasp but those which cannot be overlooked are those that insult the audience. With a multitude of stolen ideas, only two well choreographed fight scenes and one developed character, Hammer of the Gods falls on its sword from the opening scene.


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