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Good fun that could've been great
on April 18, 2012
For me, the best part of the film is when Jesus drops the "F-bomb" about five minutes in. It was so shocking to hear the devinely devout Jim Caviezel spit it in such a completely convincing way that I actually laughed out loud.
I'm a huge fan of this genre and also a great fan of Caviezel, so when I saw this pop up I was curious enough to make an instant buy. I'm not sorry I did - very entertaining and an interesting premise. Cowboys v. Aliens only a bit further back in the timeline and with less technology.
There was a lot of silliness, some confusion and tons of cliches. Fortunately, the acting was actually very good, despite a level of predictability that should have been avoided and - with an obviously large budget - could have been. Unlike some reviewers, I think Caviezel's somewhat dry acting style of restraint and a steady confidence lends itself very well to being an action hero. I don't like my tough guys running around losing contol of themselves and overacting all over the place. Tall, cool ones always play it best. Jack Houston makes for a pretty and likeable right-hand man and Perlman and Hurt are seasoned pros who pull away from the pack in any scene they're involved with. A number of talented support cast add flavor and a dash of humor when they get the chance - which sadly isn't often enough.
The worst thing about this movie is the missed opportunity. I like a bit more Sci with my Fi, if you will. To take an alien being with highly advanced technology and introduce him to the primitive Vikings should have provided a wealth of interesting situations, humor, wonder and ultimately a fantastic showdown. But it didn't. Instead, the alien/hero just becomes a regular old Viking, no cool stuff is introduced beyond the first ten minutes or so (besides the monster and that's a given) and the whole thing kind of flatlines. There just isn't any growth to the story - it peaks early and then levels off. That's too bad and does a disservice to all of the hard work and money that was obviously put into this film.
Still, I watched it all and I liked it o.k. It was a decent movie - far better than quite a bit of the nonsense and garbage that gets dumped into the theaters these days. It was full of beautiful scenery, some pretty great fight scenes and some very talented actors. It's just a shame that there was such a lack of vision for the project as a whole, which plays itself out in the end when the production company pulled out with little or no promotion whatsoever. Missed opportunity, indeed.