Main cast: Michelle McTernan (Aetheled), Sarah Driver (Daisy), James Groom (Lord Osmund), Adam McNab (Translator), Jamie O’Hara (Thief), Michael Geary (Bjargsmar), Alan Booty (Brother Silas), Phil Deguara (Brother Thaddeus), Rosanna Hoult (Seren), Richard Sandling (Jarndyr), Craig Russell (Davin), and Owain Rhys Davies (Captain Howe)
Director: Jack Burton
Okay, let me see if I get the plot of Viking Siege right. Aetheled leads a group of women to infiltrate a monastery to kill its corrupt residents, as the monks inside are responsible for selling their families to the Vikings. The son of the local ruler, Lord Osmund, crashes the party just in time for the violent uprising. However, before these people can catch their breath, a group of Vikings approach them to purchase a boat… and then they are all attacked by “cursed men” – violent men who look more like plants than anything else – because these Vikings have in their possession two stone things that these cursed men would like to get their hands on.
That’s basically it for the plot. To sum everything up: everyone is trying to kill everyone else. Not that there is anything wrong with such a premise, of course, as I’m always down for a plot-light, violence-driven flick. Unfortunately, this one suffers from an unusual problem rarely seen in low-budget flicks: the special effects and make-up are actually decent, and the acting is actually pretty good – the problem is the script.
This movie is set in a single location, fair enough, as the increasingly fewer cast stand off against the siege of the cursed men. However, as things drag on, the main characters begin to repeat themselves in both action and speech. They argue about the same things over and over, often over matters that should be trivial compared to what they are facing. Daisy ends up being the only sane character of the bunch – she is the only one who realizes that they need to work together and put aside their distrust of one another – and hence she is the only likable one of the lot. Okay, James Groom is pretty fun to watch as well as the devilish, mean, but charming Lord Osmund, but he and Daisy are actually underutilized here. The bulk of the screen time goes to Aetheled and a few others whose names I can never catch, and they just keep going on and on about the same things. The middle third of movie drags as a result.
Tonally, the movie is all over the place. It starts out a pretty serious and sober movie, then morphs into some kind of dark comedy, and then it becomes a siege movie with horror elements when the cursed men show up. Viking Siege is like parts of several different movies clumsily glued together, and don’t get me started about the unfortunate inclusion of a kung-fu monk that adds nothing, not even humor, to the whole thing.
In the end, there’s a potentially interesting story in here, but the execution is off in many places. I would be interested to watch a more high-budget, better-scripted reboot of this story, but in its current form, this one is too uneven and inconsistent for me to recommend it.