31st May2015

‘Sword of Vengeance’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Stanley Weber, Annabelle Wallis, Edward Akrout, Ed Skrein, Karel Roden, Dave Legeno, Gianni Giardinelli, Peter J. Chaffey, Milica Jevtic | Written by Matthew Read, Julian Unthank | Directed by Jim Weedon


I really wanted to like Sword of Vengeance, I really did. Billed as “an almighty clash between Hammer of the Gods and Game of Thrones”, the film comes from the same people that worked on Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Valhalla Rising – to be fair that should have thrown up a warning or two given how much I hated that film – and tells the story of the Shadow Walker (Weber) who, cast out by the ruthless king, is searching for a new place to call home but clashes with many of the kingdom’s inhabitants along his journey. His story crosses paths with that of warrior Anna (Wallis) who, after the death of her husband, is called upon to lead her fellow Saxons into battle.

Sword of Vengeance, at least according to IMDb, is based on an original story by Matthew Read, who did some “additional writing” work on Valhalla Rising and wrote the script for Hammer of the Gods… and its the former with which this film shares the most similarities. Gone is the exciting pulse-pounding, action-packed film and in comes a slower, some might say introspective, story which is proliferated with bursts of gory action but in reality lacks any sense of excitement or momentum.

The debut feature from Jim Weedon, who cut his teeth editing music videos and directing ads (his advert for video game Metro: Last Light won numerous industry awards), Sword of Vengeance is the very definition of style over substance. And whilst placing the emphasis on the visuals and the soundtrack may have worked for Hammer of the Gods, here it just feels like a pastiche of the genre. Maybe it’s because there’s TOO much importance placed on the stylistics of the film – especially the over-use of slow-mo – or maybe it’s the lack of excitement and character motivation, whatever the reason and despite the obvious similarties to other films in the genre, this film is definitley lacking… something.

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud Weedon for trying to bring something new to the table, visually, with Sword of Vengeance and his use of chiaroscuro is an inspired choice. It’s just a shame he didn’t have a better script on which to hang his fantastic visuals.

 Sword of Vengeance is in cinemas and available to download now, the film comes to DVD on 1st June.


Comments are closed.