A rollicking slice of comic book history in which the Viking invaders of 1006 look more like the sweaty motorcycle gang from Every Which Way But Loose.
Lee Majors, Cornel Wilde and Christopher Connelly give it all they’ve got while Mel Ferrer hides behind a silky beard, and Jack Elam does the same under a wizard’s cowl.
Viking warrior Thorvald (a horribly miscast Majors with a 1970-style porn star moustache and a Lone Ranger mask) takes a motley crew of Norsemen (“lusty hordes of blonde giants”) on a perilous quest across the Atlantic Ocean to “what is now called America” (the Norsemen call it “Vineland”) to search for his father, King Eurich (Ferrer), who was abducted by a (very Caucasian-looking) Indian tribe on a previous visit.
Cue “Viking vs. Indians” in a series of ineptly staged battles – mostly filmed in slow motion.
Sonny Bono’s post-Cher girlfriend, Susie Coelho, appears as Winetta, a young Iroquois beauty who sympathises with the Norsemen and betrays her tribe.
Deacon Jones costars as a black Viking (wait . . . what?).
The film is full of such inaccuracies and anachronisms: the Vikings have crossbows and cast-metal pulleys on their longboat. One of the Norsemen is even wearing a wristwatch, and at one point, an oil tanker is visible in the background.
The accents are terrible, as is the acting – especially from “Bionic Beowolf” whose face has all the mobility of a sundial.
The script is dreadful (the lines would sound pretty bad even if they weren’t delivered in a Kentucky drawl!), and there are many continuity errors – but if you don’t take it seriously, you’ll have a grand time.
Chuck Pierce Jr
Charles B. Pierce