Vikings! In Wales! Er, what? Don’t worry, director Farren Blackburn hasn’t taken his Who experience from The Rings of Akhaten and rewritten history, it’s a filming location, but don’t go in expecting historical accuracy anyway!
Hammer of the Gods is set in 9th century Britain, where the Viking invaders are making inroads. Wounded in a battle against the Saxons, King Bagsecg (James Cosmo) sends son Steinar (Charlie Bewley) and a team of warriors to find his estranged elder brother Hakan (Elliot Cowan) and bring him back into the fold. Of course, things are never quite as simple as that….
If it doesn’t sound a particularly new story, it isn’t really, and the change in direction in the latter third just makes it reminiscent of different films than it did earlier. None of the characters are particularly likeable, and it all feels a little bit hollow.
Yet that also feels like a shame, which is unusual. It’s certainly not all bad – it looks great, with the Snowdonia-shot backdrops being suitably imposing, is decently paced and the action is suitably brutal and bloody.
Hammer of the Gods isn’t a horrible film, but I came away with more of a sense of disappointment, as though the look and style of the film deserved more. There is some entertainment value in a popcorn sense, and it’s probably the only time you’ll ever see Cockney-sounding Vikings joking about STIs! **1/2