The sea rages like a wild beast, snow and rain and giant waves batter the longship. “On a shield the Viking sleeps” recites the voice of Thorald (Ken Duken) from the off, while we see the men all but drown. Vikings endure. They survive, they fight like Tyr, their God of War, because when a Viking dies in battle, like Valli (Johan Hegg), Walhalla awaits him. Oh, they do die in NORTHMEN – A VIKING SAGA, Vikings and their foes alike. They get hurt, they get dirty, they even start to question their Gods, and they learn that a Christian monk (Ryan Kwanten) might be just as rebellious as proud Northman Asbjörn (Tom Hopper), the young leader of the renegades. The only woman in the film, Princess Inghean (Charlie Murphy) is one of the strongest figures in the Saga. She’s in touch with nature, she sees things, before they happen – and she finally follows Asbjörn, not as a prisoner, but of her own free will.
There are so many strong and beautiful moments in this movie, that the few predictable “action movie” goofs don’t count: Oh, a flimsy bridge on ropes … somebody must break through, but he must not die. Shot with an arrow? Knived in the leg? Flesh wound. Boo! The dead rise again, but just for a moment. … Well, as the Vikings did, do endure, and you’ll experience a piece of truly great cinema. NORTHMEN – A VIKING SAGA is a hell of a ride for all of the characters and for us in the audience. May Tyr protect us! WALHALLAAAAAA!!!! (cue Amon Amarth over end credits)