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The Barbarians and The Norseman Double Feature DVD Review

The Barbarians and The Norseman Double Feature DVD

“The Barbarians” is one of the all-time best bad movies while “The Norseman” is a comically bad Viking movie.

Continuing their line of affordably priced action packed double feature DVDs, Timeless Media Group has now released “The Barbarians” and “The Norseman” together. Some folks may have never even heard of these titles, other folks may wonder what the big deal is, while others will undoubtedly jump for joy. Now, I don’t know if “The Norseman” has any fans, but I can tell you that “The Barbarians” definitely has a fanbase.

As a DVD reviewer and collector, I, of course, have a list of “Most Wanted Titles.” While I may possibly never see titles like “Salute Your Shorts,” the Producer’s Cut of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” or certain “Mystery Science Theater 3000” episodes, I can finally cross one title off my list- “The Barbarians.”

In case you have never experienced this delightfully bad piece of 80’s sword and sorcery cheese, you’ve been missing out. The story concerns two orphan twin brothers (Kutchek and Gore) who are from a tribe of entertainers called the Radniks. After the resident baddie (Kadar) captures the Radnik leader (Queen Canary), she makes a deal to ensure the two boys are safe. So, the two grow up apart one from another and train to be gladiators. The movie then cuts ahead several years later when Kutchek and Gore are muscular meathead gladiatorial warriors. The two are about to fight one another unknowingly until they finally realize what is going on. From there on out, the two embark on a quest to try and save their Queen (Queen Canary) from the evil clutches of Kadar. Along the way, they meet a feisty woman named Lemone who helps them in their quest as well.

“The Barbarians” (which is a cross between “Road Warrior” and “Conan the Barbarian”) is one of those bad oddball 80’s movies that is so bad, it’s good. The corny score, the constant shouting of “Hurrrr,” the lame brained dialogue, the gloriously over-the-top death scenes, the bizarre characters, and the “acting” by twins Peter Paul and David Paul- are all equally baffling and hilarious. The movie never takes itself seriously and the viewer should never take the movie seriously. It’s just flat out mindless fantasy fun.

Now, “The Norseman” is a film that I hadn’t heard of before (and for good reason). This barely scripted 1978 clunker involves a group of Vikings (led by Thorvald) traveling to America (or Vineland as the Norsemen call it) to search for their missing King Eurich (who has apparently been captured by the Iroquois Indians). Add in a few Indian and Viking skirmishes and a babbling hunchback wide eyed hooded prophetic wizard with a bird and that’s the entire plot in a nutshell.

In the annals of cinematic history, it’s safe to say that ‘The Norseman” has some of the worst casting you will ever see. Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man” himself) plays Thorvald and makes no effort to hide his American accent. He also barely makes an effort to act as he mostly says words in a very strange fashion (see his pronunciations of wizard and Norsemen). Eric (played by child actor Chuck Pierce Jr.) isn’t much better as his southern accent is VERY apparent. Remember, these characters are supposed to be Vikings.

On top of the bad casting, “The Norseman” features bombastic music that rarely fits scenes, horrendous voice over exposition, dirt cheap costumes and props, laughably bad dialogue, historical inaccuracies aplenty, a multitude of running scenes, and so much slow motion that you have to wonder how short this movie would have been without it.

As bad as the film is, however, it does have camp value. This is the type of film that you can’t help but laugh and shake your head at. It’s just mind blowing that this film got made at all considering how disastrously flawed it is. Plus, seeing Lee Majors as a Viking is truly something to behold.

Video/Audio:

“The Norseman” is presented in 2.35:1 while “The Barbarians” is presented in 4:3. “The Norseman” looks surprisingly sharp here. There are dirt specs here and there, but the colors are shockingly crisp. “The Barbarians,” meanwhile, looks like a VHS copy. To be honest though, it doesn’t bother me as I’m just happy to have this movie on DVD.

Both films contain unspecified Dolby Digital audio tracks and both films sound solid. These aren’t 5.1 quality tracks, but they’re respectable.

No extras have been included.

Summary: This DVD is worth buying just for “The Barbarians,” but “The Norseman” offers up a few laughs as well.

September 29, 2013 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , ,

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