Thursday, 4 December 2014

Berserker: Hell’s Warrior


Written & Directed by: Paul Matthews
Starring: Craig Sheffer, Kari Wuhrer, Paul Johansson & Patrick Bergin

Vikings, swords, time-hopping, vampire lady vixens, over-acting, gore and day-glo special effects: well, it must be Berserker: Hell’s Warrior. All of this and more combine for a truly unique B-movie experience that despite its madness and often incoherence is a whole lot of sword slaying fun. Boar (Johansson) is the favourite son of Thorsson (Bergin) and for a Viking is a pretty good egg. He doesn’t come across as bloodthirsty as the rest of them (though can kick ass when needed), feels for his neglected brother Boar (Sheffer) and even incurs an eternal curse in order to save his brother’s life. Said curse has him reborn lifetime after lifetime experiencing endless pain, suffering and always destined to lose his love. Said love is Brunhilda (Wuhrer), who was actually Boar’s squeeze (so I guess Barek wasn’t such a good egg after all!), now reincarnated as sexy doctor Anya who releases Barek upon modern day society from a high tech prison where Boar and his goons, complete in full Viking apparel, attempt to hunt Barek down in a very bloodthirsty (and presumably jealous!) manner.

As confusing as that write up sounds (and it may be because my memory is somewhat impaired from the viewing of the film, as it was late at night and in a whiskey haze!), Berserker: Hell’s Warrior sort of plays out like a Viking version of Highlander. We start off in olden times complete with Viking village, boats and a big battle scene and then half an hour into proceedings the action jumps ahead to modern times complete with Vikings running around axing for vengeance. However, if you can go with the slapdash approach (it feels as though a lot was perhaps left on the cutting room floor?) Berserker: Hell’s Warrior is a lot of crazy, gory, Viking fun.

The film is slickly photographed and the budget used well to create some convincing Viking costumes and an impressive Viking village. The effects may be a little dated (looking circa 1994 rather than 2004: in fact the whole thing looks like it was shot in the 90s) but they give a groovy, campy vibe to proceedings (glowing vampire chicks: awesome!) and the cast is pretty groovy too. Johansson unfortunately has the duller of the roles having to play everything straight and serious but the likes of Bergin (complete with awful fake beard!) and Sheffer make up for this with their scenery chewing greatness. In fact, Scheffer is a hoot as the deranged Boar and should have been used more. The smoking hot Wuhrer is, well, smoking hot and acts everyone off screen and director Paul Matthews (Grim, Breeders) makes sure we are never far away from the next sword slicing fight.

The fights are a little clunky but feature an impressive mount of gore and blood splattering violence as the Vikings go berserk on one another and while it may take itself a little too seriously Berserker: Hell’s Warrior is some slick B-movie fun in the Highlander mould. Plus, what’s not to like about a film featuring immortal Vikings, blood sucking Valkyries and the lovely Kari Wuhrer? 

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