Revenge of the Barbarians: A Video Review


No, I’m Not Kidding, Read the Review

by Orrick of Romney

The title certainly sounded like a bad movie. The cover graphics promised a wealth of bad-movie-cheap-thrills. Taking it home from the video store and popping it in the VCR revealed not the expected Hollywood trash-fest, but an Icelandic production providing a remarkably accurate view of the Viking era.

The plot is simple. Viking raiders wipe out an Irish family, save two—a young brother and sister. She is taken by the raiders, he is left for dead. Years later, the boy, now a man, travels to Iceland to retrieve his sister and seek vengeance on his family’s slayers. His sister is now married to one of the raiders and has a son. She wishes to see neither her husband nor brother harmed, but must now choose between them.

Costuming, attitudes, weapons usage—the sort of thing every SCA-er seeks in a movie—are done correctly. Details of everyday Icelandic life: furniture, implements of cooking and eating, and tools—are displayed waiting the careful freeze-framing of the video for study by the Early Period reader. Even English language dubbing isn’t too bad; characters rarely continue to move their mouths after they stop talking. Finally, the credits themselves are a treat for Norse-ophiles. Icelandic names haven’t changed much since the Viking age, and it does an anachronist’s heart good to see credits like “directed by Snorri Stalgrimmson”. (I don’t remember the director’s real name, but his is typical.)

Revenge of the Barbarians is, alas, a bit obscure. (Every review deserves one understatement.) If you can locate it in your local video store, I strongly recommend renting it. I doubt if it will ever make television, so video is the only option. Just like a book, you can’t judge a video by its cover!

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