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|Originaltitel:||Northmen – A Viking Saga|
|Laufzeit:||Approx. 97 min.|
|FSK:||From 16 years|
Banished from their own king, a group of fearless Vikings around Asbjörn (Tom Hopper) have only one way to return home: they have to go to Britain to plunder the gold treasures of Lindisfarne Monastery. But a violent storm prevents the men from reaching their destination. They strand off the Scottish coast and quickly see themselves surrounded by enemy warriors. Now they must succeed in saving themselves in a distant Viking settlement. On their way through the Scottish Highlands, the Vikings meet Lady Inghean (Charlie Murphy), the daughter of King Dunchaid (Danny Keogh). Hoping for a handsome ransom, they take the woman into their hands, unaware of the trouble they are getting into with it. For the notorious "wolf pack" of the king, led by brutal Hjorr (Ed Skrein), from now on sticks to their heels. A bloody hunt begins in which the Vikings receive unexpected help from the mysterious monk Conall (Ryan Kwanten). But to defeat Hjorr and his henchmen, it takes more than a battle-tested monk and a handful of courageous Vikings…
With "Northmen - A Viking Saga" the Swiss Claudio Fäh ("Hollow Man II", "Coronado") has tried his hand at a great adventure film, which in itself can be described as successful. The fact that the film was shot not in Scotland but in South Africa for financial reasons is hardly noticeable in the wonderful landscape shots. Also, the effects as well as the fighting sequences are well done and the actors beat their way convincingly through the story despite the rather weak script. What the film really has to fight against is the competition, which is no longer only to be found in the cinema, but increasingly on television as well.
series like "Vikings" or of course "Game of Thrones" have impressively proven what such material can do. It's no longer enough for men grunting wildly to fight their way through elaborately staged battles in an atmospheric landscape. But unfortunately "Northmen - A Viking Saga" doesn't have much more to offer. The fight sequences are much less relentless than in comparable TV productions. Thus, interested viewers actually lack any incentive to pay money for something they can see on television better, more elaborately and also more brutally. Only the prospect of getting the effective images on the big screen might not be enough.
Fäh has failed to give his film that special something that sets his work apart from similar productions. As successful as many aspects of his staging are, the final product is all too conventional and interchangeable to be able to arouse real enthusiasm in the viewer. For those who simply expect solid Viking entertainment, don't value real surprises and can be satisfied with comparatively tame fights, this is really good entertainment. But if you expect a movie to have something special to offer in comparison to TV series and home cinema premieres in terms of show values or even the story, you certainly won't be able to make friends with this all-too-conventional work. And that's why there's only one: Worth seeing with restrictions!
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