Actors: Ed Skrein, Karel Roden, Stanley Weber, Dave Legeno
Director: Jim Weedon
Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Well Go USA
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Run Time: 87 minutes
The director has changed, but it is still very clear that Sword of Vengeance was made by the same people who created Hammer of the Gods (2013), though this is not necessarily a good thing. The films share producers and writer Matthew Read, but more important, both have an emphasis on visual style over character or plot. Sword of Vengeance has plot and character beyond Hammer of the Gods, but in order to get to these sequences it forces the audience to endure endless over-stylized cinematography (from metal music video cinematographer, August Jakobsson), and senseless slow motion shots that drag out insignificant moments even longer. I can understand fight scenes being slow motion, however derivative of 300 that now seems, but what need is there to drag out a shot of a character riding a horse from one end of the frame to the other?
At the center of Sword of Vengeance is a revenge tale, as the title suggests, though the details of this need for vengeance are kept a mystery for much of the film. Perhaps this was another attempt to stretch out the material, because it doesn’t work that well as a mystery. The revelation that the vengeance seeking stranger referred to as Shadow Walker (Stanley Weber) is actually a Norman prince who has escaped slavery to seek out the man who killed his father comes as little surprise, perhaps because of the numerous times we are forced to endure the flashback sequence of the events.
finds his father’s
murderer, Earl Durant (Karel Roden), a man who also happens to be his uncle,
but needs the help of a group of farmers who have been exiled by the same
oppressive man. This could be accomplished with our hero establishing
relationships with the farmers, and he does get quite close physically to one
the members of the revolution (played by Annabelle Wallis), but he simply
exploits them for his desire for revenge. His approach may lack finesse, but
the outcome is exactly as you would expect from this over-used plot. The point
is not the story however. The point of the film appears to be making each of
the shots look as bad-ass as possible. It feels like watching an 87 minute
director’s reel of someone obsessed with Zack Snyder. Walker
The Blu-ray features all of this unnecessary and surprisingly unsatisfying visual excess in high definition and DTS-HD Master audio. The special features include interviews with director Jim Weedon and the film’s producers, Rupert Preston and Huberta Von Liel. There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette and the film’s trailer.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 3/10