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'Viking Destiny'—A Review (Netflix)

I watch it so as you don't have to.

How's Terence so big?! I thought I was the star?! 

Let’s talk about the title. Viking Destiny. Viking. Destiny. Not A Viking’s Destiny or Destiny of the Viking. Viking Destiny. Is it about the destiny of the Viking people? Well, it sort of is. Let me explain, even if it does not explain, satisfactorily, the terrible title.

The Viking king, Asmund of Volsung (Andrew Whipp) leaves his pregnant wife, queen Alva (Victoria Broom) in labour because his people are in a battle for the kingdom. Though they are victorious in battle, the queen dies whilst giving birth to a baby girl.

Distraught and confused, his duplicitous brother, prince Bard (Timo Nieminen) persuades him to swap his daughter, who he says is cursed due to his absence at her birth, for his son, who is not only a male heir but will show that the king is not weak. The king agrees.

21 years later, Helle (Anna Demetriou), unknown to her, daughter of the king, is being secretly trained by Lord Soini (Will Mellor). She is a capable warrior. Elsewhere, the king watches his son’s, Hakon (Taylor Frost), feeble attempts at sword wielding. He is not a warrior.

Bard, ever egged on by the god of mischief, Loki (Murray McArthur), tells his niece, who still believe him to be her father, that to be favoured by the king, she must defeat his enemy, a mystical animal that dwells in caves. Craving his favour, Helle goes to the caves.

It is a trap and Bard sends men to kill her. Her cousin, Hakon, his true son, has gone with her in an attempt to persuade her that she was the rightful heir to the kingdom as neither knew the other was with the wrong father. 

As they fight for their lives in the caves, Asmund is awakened by a dream. He comes and saves Helle, but is immediately killed by Bard’s men.

Hakon allows Helle to escape whilst he tries to fend off Bard’s men. She escapes and runs off to the forest. Bard, now the ruler of Volsung is a tyrant. Loki still whispers in his ear and he wants the head of Helle.

I’m the star! Me!

In the smaller, better-choreographed fights—Helle training, Bard and Helle, Asmund killing Steiner (Martyn Ford)—the fights look quite good, which make the battle scenes look even worse by contrast.

The IMDB description of the film is more exciting than the actually film is. She does, indeed, flee her kingdom but only as far as the forest. That’s hardly travelling far and wide.

The acting is good, though I sure Terence Stamp only turned up for the pay cheque. Everyone commits to their part, such as it is, with Demetriou’s Helle and Nieminen’s Bard being the standouts.

Written, directed and produced by David L. G. Hughes—way too much name—it is more a case of jack-of-all-trades and master of none. The story is underwritten, the directing lax.

With a relatively okay set up and stakes high enough to drive the story, Hughes completely ignores any sort of story arc or escalation of tension, going for easy stuff, such as Bard being bad and throw away lines.

This film is only slightly saved by the commitment of the actors to the material. A weaker cast would have made this film an absolute disaster and totally unwatchable. It is still not very good and I could not truly recommend watching it unless you love everything Viking. 

Yeah baby, front and centre!

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'Viking Destiny'—A Review (Netflix)
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