I’d like to preface this review by politely saying AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Now I think we can move on.
A lot of critics, when they watch a movie that’s truly, stupendously awful, tend to preface their reviews by dramatizing said film’s effects on their health and sanity. Dear reader, so far I have done my absolute best to avoid doing that. I give you my impressions on the good and the bad as accurately as I can manage to articulate, and I save the hair-pulling, screaming, sobbing, kicking, flailing, clawing, and eye-blood-spraying for special occasions. For movies so absolutely, unbearably, mortifyingly bad that they make me want to literally scream.
Special occasions like Berserker: Hell’s Warrior.
Brain cancer, to be specific.
Now, people who follow this column closely (all two of you – love you guys) will know that I have been… erm, slacking, as of late, and slowing my roll a bit. Well, honestly, I’ve been looking for something to watch. Been scouring through Redbox, Netflix’s instant watch, and even piles of cheap DVD’s, looking for any kind of fantasy movie I can get my hands on that I haven’t already seen. I couldn’t find any. Persistently, continually, I just couldn’t find anything to watch. That was until I found Berserker. This movie took me about a week to watch, as I kept ragequitting or putting it off, unwilling to subject myself to the constant onslaught of stupidity that it offers.
While I noticed that this shifted to modern times about halfway through, I made the decision to review it for this column anyway, for two reasons. One, because despite being in modern times, everyone still had armor and swords (more on that later). Two, because there was no way I was gonna suffer through something so heinous and not at least indulge in my right to bitch about it for several hours straight.
So ladies, gentlemen, and those outside the binary; Let’s take a close look at Berserker: Hell’s Warrior. But like, not too close a look. I wouldn’t want you guys to catch anything. When people on Tumblr say “LITERALLY DYING,” this is what they’re referring to.
Now, the thing is, I’m dead serious when I mention how bad this was. Every single line makes this film more confusing than it was mere seconds ago. I wish I had the means to cram every iota of horror into text but without experiencing it and really drinking it in, that’s not gonna be possible. I’ll do my best to sum up without wasting time on non-essential details. Skimmed areas will be marked in italics – assume that these parts were overly long, extremely boring, and not in any way necessary for this review.
So a bunch of Viking guys need to do some Viking stuff, important-ass Viking stuff, but they lack the Vikings to do so. So the Vikings, led by one totally cool Viking in particular, seek out the help of that Viking’s evil Viking brother. Said evil brother, “Boar” (I figured his name was Bor because, y’know, it’s an actual Norse name, but nope it’s Boar, like the pig, deal with it), is a berserker and follows Odin. Who may or may not make you a vampire.
If the concept of Odin making you a vampire made you double-take, spit your drink out, scratch your head, say “whaaa?” or any other such sign of disbelief/disgust; good, that means you’re paying attention. There’s a lot more ahead of us.
“Perks to selling your soul to Odin.”
Anyway, while the brother, Boar (Craig Sheffer), may or may not have already been a vampire at the start of the movie, he definitely becomes one at some point. I guess. His group of berserkers join forces (which apparently involved some kind of Faustian deal with Odin… because I guess Odin does those now), when the leader of the good Vikings sells his soul, damning himself to eternal life with no consequences (oh nooo).
Oh! And before I keep going, being a vampire in this makes you shimmer and glow like an enchanted armor set in Morrowind. Just… yup. I don’t have anything else to say about that. But while I’m on a tangent, I should mention that the “good” Vikings that don’t follow Odin, follow no other Norse gods, nor are they converted to Christianity as many Vikings historically were. Instead, they put their faith and devotion toward things like king, clan, and family… which I’m pretty sure no Vikings ever actually did.
Where was I… oh, so some events pass that are apparently so convoluted they warrant multiple flashback sequences, everyone dies except for all of the important characters, and several centuries pass. Now, the good leader Viking (who is now a vampire I guess) is in a high-security mental hospital, chained up and dressed conveniently in a black leather outfit that will still look cool when he inevitably escapes. His… I guess psychiatrist…? is played by Kari Wuhrer, who showed up earlier in the film as what was… I guess… the vampire queen maybe. She acts like she’s never seen Hero McGoodguy before, and at first we’re led to think she hasn’t, but I think maybe she knew him all along? Seriously this movie confuses me so much I couldn’t really follow most of what was going on – every passing sentence contradicts the last in a neverending maze of silliness.
“This will look so cool in like 20 minutes!”
Anyway, Kari Wuhrer is his psychiatrist-maybe and is apparently quite respected, enough to issue commands, despite being covered in tattoos, dressing like a stripper, and obviously being in her late 20’s. We find out that the hero has been spending the last several centuries pretending to be Vandal Savage (fist-bump the screen if you know who I’m talking about) – during his immortality he’s taken the place of a good deal of historical figures, specifically including Napoleon (rumors of his height were apparently… in error?) and Rasputin (your guess is as good as mine – more on this later).
For no apparent reason beyond to further the plot, Kari Wuhrer demands that he be unchained, which leads to him, of course, instantly escaping. The two meet up a little later, and the rest of the movie devolves into a nonsensical string of cluttered exposition, flashbacks, and terrible fight scenes.
The lore this all establishes is confusing at best, since most of it is based off of hearsay, myth, or outright lies, and is never exactly clarified. We do get to know the sad tale of Boar’s turn towards evil, which apparently originated 100% by his daddy not paying enough attention to him (literally, this is the reason given). On the topic of Boar, this dumbass shows up in modern times looking for his brother, wearing armor and using a sword. Not only that, but he has a small group of Vikings with him, using swords and wearing bear skins. Where did these guys… I mean… even if they were immortal, okay, I can buy that, but where have they been for the past several hundred or even thousand years? Just chilling out in their bear skins? Society evolved but they just sat there with their armor on, waiting for the one arbitrary day that they’d show up to kick some ass? This movie… ahhhrvgjfgsjgfksjhfs.
“Are bear skins still cool? Yeah I’m pretty sure bear skins are still cool.”
Alright… I’ll do my best to sum up what I think was going on by the time the movie ended.
Ahem – Kari Wuhrer is the queen of the “valkyries” (vampires), and probably turned everyone else into vampires too. Odin may or may not have any love for vampires (it’s stated by turns that “she is Odin’s whore,” “belongs to no one,” and other such conflicting statements, each declared like fact) and for a while I was unsure whether or not Odin even existed (especially since he appeared to be the only source of divine power). But according to Kari Wuhrer he does exist, and he hates her specifically, and therefore she… did something… with some….
I don’t know. I really just don’t even know with this movie. I’m honestly doing my best here but I just couldn’t make it make sense. Maybe I was reeling over the fact that Odin makes you a vampire for such a long time that everything else just became a blur. It seems like every single passing scene only befuddled me further rather than actually clarifying anything ever. By the time of the climax the two brothers fight, and the evil brother dies pretty easily via beheading. Some vampire immortality ya jerk! But wait – the other brother was Rasputin, remember? The Rasputin that was beaten and dismembered and drowned and poisoned, etc., and died so hard he has an entire kind of being killed named after him? Assuming this guy was Rasputin, and survived said Rasputinian Death, wouldn’t his brother who had the same powers be able to survive an equal amount of punishment? Rather than being seriously injured by good ol’-fashioned sword-through-belly?
And… and at the end… Boar is reborn… as a baby… somehow…?! And the brother knows, somehow, and that it’s him? And it’s not like anyone was actually pregnant… or did the baby just appear? WHO KNOWS.
MAKE SENSE MOVIE. PLEASE JUST MAKE SENSE OR STOP DOING… THINGS. AHHHH.
Okay. I’m better. I’m sorry.
This movie’s bad. It’s really really bad. It’s awful. It’s boring. It’s stupid. It’s poorly-acted. The swordfights are laughably horrible. It’s baffling and filled with so much nonsense that it truly and fully overloaded my brain’s capacity for bunk.
Please don’t watch this. You might think it’s worth a good laugh but it’s not. It’s not so bad it’s good – it’s so bad it’s horrible.