• Hammer Of The Gods

    Released By:
    Magnolia Home Entertainment
    Released On: September 10, 2013
    Director: Farren Blackburn
    Cast: Charlie Bewley, Clive Standen, James Cosmo
    Year: 2013
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    The Film:

    I'll be the first to admit it, if a movie's got suits or armour, swords, medieval things and large battles in gloomy countrysides, I'm probably not going to be interested in it. Once in awhile something comes along that catches me off guard, has an interesting plot detail or a standout performance, and I'm into it; but for the most part I find these flicks are just big dudes with long hair screaming for vengeance as they charge blindly into a big dumb melee. And I've got to say, the new film Hammer of the Gods by newish film Director Farren Blackburn didn't disappoint.

    Taking place roughly around 800 AD...depending on whether or not your believe the back of the case or the trailer...Hammer of the Gods starts off with a group of viking soldiers being summoned back to the camp to receive word from the King. Once they arrive, the King's son, Steinar (Charlie Bewley) is told by his soon-to-be-dead father that he must travel the countryside to retrieve his long-lost brother Hakan, so that he may return to take his place on the throne. Fortunately, he gets to bring along his viking buddies, including the ruggedly dreamy Hagen and the foul-mouthed and aptly named Grim, who use their awesome battle skills to fight off the enemy Saxons. They don't have to wait too long for action, as they soon have the opportunity to rescue a woman from being stoned to death, but then have to kill her anyway.

    After trudging through the countryside some more, they have the good fortune of encountering a man who can tell them where Hakan is, but first Steinar has to beat him in a series of arm-wrestling matches, which will result in him getting viciously sodomized, mountain-man style if he loses. Fortunately for Steinar, he comes out on top, and they continue on their journey, taking the mountain man's female slave Agnes with them, but making sure to leave behind the young boy slave so that the mountain man doesn't get left with nobody to rape. More battles ensue, and more yelling takes place as Steinar and his crew keep trudging through the countryside, hoping that the mountain man gave them reliable information, but if you're watching the film for anything other than sword fights by this point, you're probably already reaching for the Stop button.

    In real life, Hammer of the Gods probably isn't quite as dumb as it sounds above, but it's certainly not going to shock anyone with anything they weren't expecting. Matthew Read's script is about as by-the-numbers as it gets, and gets tired fairly quickly. Blackburn's direction and the choreography of the fight scenes is, however, decently executed, and if you want blood, you've got it; as limbs, teeth, bodily fluids and profanity gets hurled about left and right. All things considered, the performances are solid, the picture flows well enough, and we can be thankful that they've kept the film at a respectable running time so that it doesn't get too dragged out or boring, but the end of the film, ESPECIALLY the end of the film, will probably leave you wondering: "Why did I bother?" Still for a no-brain timekiller, you could do worse.


    One positive thing I can say about Magnolia's Hammer Of The Gods blu-ray is that it looks and sounds fantastic. Framed at 2.40:1, the picture is sharp and clear throughout, with solid blacks and no issues as far as picture goes. The drab Wales countryside doesn't give you a lot to look at during the film, but what detail it has is crystal-clear, and the darker night scenes are well-balanced and don't suffer from any visibility issues. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is appropriate for the film also, capturing the sounds of earlier-mentioned limbs, teeth, bodily fluids and profanity as they fly across the soundscape through the surrounds, and the subwoofer gets a good workout as well.

    There are also some extras found on the disc; first up is the Making of Hammer of the Gods, which runs almost 22 minutes. Director Farren Blackburn talks about getting the movie made and the rigours of shooting a film on a low budget, and comments on how everyone pitches in to get things done, and a number of the actors discuss their characters amidst on-set footage.

    Behind the Visual Effects runs just over 6 minutes and consists of Blackburn and Visual FX Supervisor Seb Barker talking about how they used CGI to augment the picture rather than rely on it heavily.

    There are also almost 40 minutes of interviews, with Charlie Bewley, Clive Standen, Guy Flanagan, and Michael Jibson discussing their experiences making the film and working with other actors, with each actor receiving approximately 10 minutes apiece.

    AXS TV: A Look at Hammer of the Gods is a 3-minute promo piece, while the Trailers option has both green and red-band trailers for the film. A trailer reel for Magnolia Pictures is also included.

    The Final Word:

    Hammer of the Gods is probably going to appeal to viewers who want blood and carnage on screen, and it doesn't fail in this area. If you're looking for anything else...better luck elsewhere.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!