Bullet Points: Berserker: Hell’s Warrior
Everyone has an actor that they enjoy but feel is underrated in the public’s eye. This very site’s milieu is a place of public awareness for action films and actors big and small and as an example had an entire weekend dedicated to the criminally underrated Michael Dudikoff.
For me that actor is Craig Sheffer and I have enjoyed all of his roles in film and television throughout his 30 year career. I can personally attest to Craig Sheffer excelling in all genres of films: drama – A River Runs Through It; sports – The Program; horror – Hellraiser: Inferno; and comedy – Head Above Water. Somehow I have missed the action portion of his filmography, but luckily for you and me he has thousands of hours of action greatness. I selected Berserker: Hell’s Warrior to present to you because I am a sucker for an action fantasy flick and it stars the equally underrated Kari Wuhrer. Join me in a journey across time filled with mystery, romance, and all the bloody Viking action you can handle.
Berserker: Hell’s Warrior tells the tale of two estranged brothers fighting on different sides of a Norse mythological tale. The Viking warrior Barek (Paul Johansson of Martial Law II: Undercover fame) is the favorite son and heir to Thorsson (Patrick Bergin). Boar (Craig Sheffer) is the other son who has become the leader of the Berserkers which the viewer learns about through flashbacks, but I will let you know now. The two brothers have a connection to the Valkyrie Brunhilda (Kari Wuhrer) who was a prisoner of the god Odin. Any man that could save Brunhilda would be connected to her love for ever. After Boar fails and is badly burned, he is saved by Barek who in turn also saves Brunhilda becoming her eternal love. Brunhilda saves Boar’s life with her Valkyrie kiss, which unfortunately also turns him into an immortal berserker. The three are intertwined throughout time and we get to see the three immortals fight it out in present day in the epic finale.
You might be thinking that you know nothing about Norse mythology and that the synopsis sounds a little confusing. In my excitement for this movie I tend to ramble and explode with exciting facts and my secretary cannot type my dictation as fast as I spit it out, so blame her and not me or the movie. Additionally, if you have seen Thor or The Avengers then you will find Berserker: Hell’s Warrior does a much better job of explaining and presenting the mythology so do not worry about any lack of understanding. In fact for a movie that had far less of a budget than those previously mentioned blockbusters, Berserker: Hell’s Warrior looks more realistic and has better costumes and sets. The Vikings even have full size ships with actually people rowing. The only fake looking things were the wigs and facial hair. Barek had some seriously wicked lettuce on his head and if that was his real beard I hope he isn’t participating in Movember.
Berserker: Hell’s Warrior excels in unrelenting realistic action. If you are looking for any of the following you are in the right place: blood and guts; decapitations, slit throats, stabbings, limb removal, or bifurcated skulls. It is truly remarkable the amount of gore that fit into the many different actions scenes without it looking fake or getting repetitive. As I mentioned earlier, the costumes and weapons look spot on and the juxtaposition between the old time get up in modern day society is quite jarring in a good way. The sets look like Game of Thrones came in the middle of the night and stole them away to use. The present day sets have a way of looking current and still futuristic allowing the film not to be pigeonholed in a time frame.
The three main actors all shine in their roles. Top billing goes to Paul Johansson, who besides looking ridiculous with the long hair, plays the role with a steely reserve, yet is able to show the troubled emotion in his dealings with his brother, father, and lover. Craig Sheffer does not disappoint in his role as Boar, a character that is supposed to be a little crazy. Sheffer looks and acts possessed without being over the top. I don’t know why Kari Wuhrer has not been in more major films. Like most times I have seen her, Kari Wuhrer gives her all for the audience, and just like in Berserker: Hell’s Warrior, she often shows all to the audience. The top three were top notch, but that does not the movie did not have any duds. Clifford (Nick Boraine) is an associate of present day Brunhilda and is a very unconvincing character and I was dissatisfied every time he was on screen.
Valhallic Bullet Points
- Brotherly Love: Craig Sheffer and Paul Johansson are used to playing brothers as they did so in the TV show One Tree Hill. While I enjoyed Craig’s role in the show, and Paul Johansson was probably even better in One Tree Hill than Berserker: Hell’s Warrior, the show was a touch melodramatic.
- Triple Threat: Berserker: Hell’s Warrior was written, directed, and produced by Paul Matthews. Many times when one person creates the picture they cannot bear to have any of their brilliance not in the movie and we end up with an over two hour monstrosity. (Peter Jackson can’t even make credits that are less than two hours.) Berserker: Hell’s Warrior comes in at an enjoyable 84 minutes so major kudos to Mr. Matthews for getting it right.
- Unity in Diversity: Berserker: Hell’s Warrior was filmed, but not set, in the beautiful country of South Africa. The only other movie I have reviewed for Bulletproofaction.com from that great nation was Death of a Snowman aka Black Trash. Both movies are very different but equally highlight the diversity in landscapes and population that make it an ideal spot when I film my next feature.
- Bill Swerski’s Superfans: The berserkers dress in unique garb that is punctuated by a bear skin on their back with the bear head right on top of the berserker’s head. Da Berserkersssss!