Sword of Vengeance’s preference for putting style over substance isn’t its biggest problem. Rather, its style is so unoriginal, bleak and drab that if you plan on watching this film for enjoyment, you’d be better off revisiting that Game of Thrones episode. A film that puts all its staying power on how it looks isn’t always a bad thing, especially if those visuals turn out to be the film’s strongest element. But in Sword of Vengeance, none of these elements come together in a worthwhile package, which is a shame because Sword of Vengeance has everything it needs to be a hells-bells thrills-for-all action romp.
Sword of Vengeance is a Viking action film about a mysterious outsider who, on his mission for vengeance (see what they did there?) against a ruthless Lord, becomes entangled in the affairs of a group of warriors keen on overthrowing the Lord’s corrupt and brutal kingdom in an attempt to restore order and peace to their world. Subplot? Intrigue? Three dimensions? Jog on.
There’s definitely a feeling that director Jim Weedon defiantly chose to shoot Sword of Vengeance with as much visual charge as possible, and in doing do pretty much left everything else by the sidelines. The plot is somewhat shallow, the characters clichéd and campy, and the acting is downright hammy. But the visuals? If you can get past all the throat-slitting and stomach-gutting, they’re actually arresting enough to sustain some interest.
Weedon seems to have a knack for pulling plastic emotion out of his cast; what little conviction of character the cast can exude, Weedon snatches what he can from them and rams it down your throats with as much sharpness as lead Stanley Webber’s sword. Weedon also demonstrates he’s got some capability of piecing together some hooky action sequences, but again, because of Sword of Vengeance’s lack of everything apart from bloody thrills, all those gory fight scenes must be thinking “oh crud, we’re all this movie’s got – let’s turn it up to eleven!”
But without an engaging plot or characters that have a bit of spark to them, those many, many fisticuffs moments are rather hollow. If you like your movies with nothing but action, some more action, and a little bit more action thrown in, then Sword of Vengeance is to be recommended. But with barely anything to hook the viewer in for the long run, you’d be better off dusting off that copy of Battle Los Angeles and giving that another try. All in all, Sword of Vengeance has a lot of drive, but ends up careering in all the wrong directions.
Special Features: None
INFO: SWORD OF VENGEANCE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JIM WEEDON / SCREENPLAY: JULIAN UNTHANK / STARRING: STANLEY WEBER, EDWARD AKROUT, MISA BERIC, PETER J. CHAFFEY / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 1ST