Viking Siege, 2017.
Directed by Jack Burton.
Starring Michelle McTernan, Rosanna Hoult, Samantha Schnitzler, Sarah Driver, James Groom, Steve Meo, Angela Peters, Craig Russell, and Owain Rhys Davies.
Corrupt monks, human trafficking and medieval marauders make up the hack and slash fantasy romp which is ‘Viking Siege’. Ruggedly unruly coastlines, feasting halls perched atop craggy mountain inlets and featuring massacres by the moat load. This tale of Amazonians out for revenge features nonsensical Vikings, crudely deformed demons and off world entities clashing over mead, mandolin music and more monk carcasses than money can buy.
This low rent Guy Ritchie rip off is held together by three solid performances that prop up the Blue Peter production polish. Surprisingly written by two people this mead fuelled meditation on human trafficking amongst randy monks, improves after thirty minutes once it finds purpose. Before that director Jack Burton employs minimal dialogue, mood lighting and smouldering looks between our undercover Amazonians while people destroy bad dialogue.
However after a ropey half hour and against all odds some good performances begin to emerge. Both Adam McNab and Jaime O’Hara billed as translator and thief respectively do something miraculous. Amongst this rabble of confused characterisation, extra ham hold the mayo acting and RSC by way of ‘Hi-de-Hi’ holiday camp theatrics, comes pathos and tangible emotion. There are only snatches of this amongst the ‘Onedin Line’ set dressing, monastic thrift sale emoting and litres of claret but it’s evident. Around the fifty minute mark moments of threat engage, acting becoming enthralling and Viking Siege is forgiven some misdemeanours.
That other secret weapon present on the credits but missing from IMDB is Sarah Driver. She maybe a model turned actress but manages to bring in a performance which belies her monocle. Playing one of the infiltrating Amazonians Driver not only holds the screen due to striking beauty, but manages to make her dialogue and character work. Seemingly oblivious to the four lane pile up of a film around her she commits, managing to hold Viking Siege together amid the carnage. Attired in warrior robes which are a little too sword and sorcery Driver, McNab and O’Hara steal the film out from under their colleagues.
Trading on melodrama and surprisingly good FX work Viking Siege suffers from limited means, poorly defined structure and underdeveloped roles across the board. Those who come out best from this medieval endeavour possess an innate screen presence, enabling them to rise above these shortcomings and redefine the film through their efforts. At its best this Jack Burton film shows moments of genuine drama from a handful of standouts, perpetually let down by more self-conscious actors unwilling or unable to provide a similar standard.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★