We sent one of our fabulous film critics Andrew Jones (@ethanrunt) off to check out Nick Love’s brand new film offering Hammer of the Gods. With all this blood, gore and action we thought it was a perfect “boys film” and here’s what he thought of it…
Historical settings are back in a big way thanks to TV’s Spartacus and Game Of Thrones, and with new Brit actioner Hammer Of The Gods we get to see a lot more of it on the big screen. A group of vikings in 800’s AD Britain venture forth through a dangerous land to find the king’s long-lost son, the future leader of the invading forces, and on the journey the viking lads do their fair bit of slicing and dicing through the British.
As Hammer Of The Gods opens, we see leader of the pack Steiner scream charging towards a group of aggressive farmers like the leader of a firm on the terraces. In no small manner, the film is happy to be The Football Factory meets Game Of Thrones and 300, gloriously violent and laddish without weighing itself down in too much plot or dialogue between the big action scenes. Steiner’s father, the rightful king, is dying, and he has to lead the charge in finding the next king, lest his rat younger brother take the crown and destroy the vikings for Saxon gold. On the journey to find his long-lost brother, Steiner and his crew face up to a large boy-loving monster, a religious group using fear as a weapon and a cult around a supposedly immortal god. Steiner and his viking friends knock down everyone, reminding all they oppose that true power comes from the swords and hammers they possess. And if these people don’t believe that, they learn the hard way.
Hammer Of The Gods isn’t exactly historically accurate, noticeably in one action sequence the score becomes very dubstep, which I’m ninety-five percent certain wasn’t a genre back then, and the language is both foul and modern. The film is much more interested in entertaining the audience than being accurate or real in any way, and for that it works wonders. Blissfully short and simple, every dialogue scene finds its way to an important action beat, and all the action is exciting and violent, it’s just what you want from a viking film. Bloody, brutal, silly fun.
That’s not to say the film’s perfect, it does threaten to become a very odd arthouse film in the final act, as a lot of characters disappear and the long-lost brother arc becomes something out of a Twin Peaks nightmare, but even that finds its way to nasty bloody violence, so it’s not all bad. Perhaps the film has a bit too much of a Lord Of The Rings fetish because there are about two or three walking/riding sequences that feel like they’d rather show off the British country rather than continue the plot, and whilst it’s a good advert for VisitBritain.com, it’s not as exciting as seeing a man smash another man’s head in with a hammer.
Hammer Of The Gods is executive produced by Nick Love of The Firm and The Sweeney fame, and you can feel his filmmaking style all over here, a Gladiator for Nuts readers, but it’s undemanding stuff and good fun whilst you’re watching it, even if you don’t recall half of it once the lights come up at the end. Fun fluff with a brutal edge, Hammer Of The Gods is recommended for those needing a bit of blood of an evening, or if you want to watch a film with the lads that’s a little different than usual.
Hammer of the Gods is coming to cinemas in August after a debut at Film4 FrightFest.