Saturday 16 April 2011

DVD Reviews

Norwegian Ninja
Starring: Mads Oussdal, Jon Oigarden
Director: Thomas Cappelen Malling
Entertainment One

Available from Monday 18th April - £12.99 (DVD)
Review by Rob Wade

A true story of treason and espionage in Cold War-era Norway re-imagined by a writer-director who, as a 12-year-old, had his mind warped by a diet of Star Wars, 1980s Ninja movies, C64 video games and his dad’s spy novels, provides the bizarre source material and inspires the vision for Norwegian Ninja, the debut feature by author-turned-filmmaker Thomas Cappelen Malling. Essentially, this takes the true story of Arne Treholt and completely reworks it to be utterly bat-shit crazy.

This film is delightfully eccentric in its approach, with the story of Arne Treholt completely fabricated beyond the actual treason. Some of the tricks used for cinematic effect are subtle, but cool, such as a mission brief which takes the form of a pencil-sketched flip book zooming in on the weak point of an oil rig. It’s stuff like this, combined with things like cigarettes jumping into Treholt’s mouth because he’s ‘the Master’ that make the movie engaging enough to watch. Some story elements, as well, are *really* well done. It’s patchy in places, but there is some real quality there amongst the rest of the movie.

However, there are some major issues that the director would do well to be wary of when making his next feature. Firstly, when making a ninja movie, a useful trick is to make sure that the punches don’t look shit. Secondly, when making a ninja movie, you’re probably best to put some…ninja moves in earlier than five minutes before the end of the movie.

There are also some really weird editing choices which make the movie more confusing than I think was intended. At one point, two ninjas compete in an orienteering race which *seems* to last for a period of days, but no indication is ever given that this is the case. Also, this movie is presumably based on true events about as much as Blade Runner being based on the life and times of Rick Deckard, landscape gardener from Woking.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence: Couple of fights.
Sex/Nudity: One naked man-arse, a pair of tits covered by nipple tassles.
Swearing: Shit gets used once or twice.
Summary: Completely unique, but at the same time muddled. A great post-pub movie, but not something you should buy expecting one of the true cinematic greats. When it goes into the bargain bin (which it will), pick it up on the cheap and you won’t be disappointed. 6/10
Starring: Richard E. Grant, Julian Sands, Lori Singer
Director: Steve Miner
Second Sight Films

Available from Monday 18th April - £15.99 (DVD)
Review by Blake Harmer

In the year 1691, a warlock (Julian Sands) is sentenced to death for his Satanic crimes. However, he escapes his bonds and casts a spell to escape into the future (the 20th century) and drags Giles Redferne (Richard E. Grant), the witch hunter that caught him originally, through with him. doggedly by the witch hunter. Enlisting the help of Kassandra (Lori Singer), a woman who has been cursed by the Warlock, they go out to find the warlock and stopping from obtaining all three parts of the Grand Grimoire, the satanic bible that could undo all creation.

There are several reasons why you need to see this film. Firstly, it has Richard E. Grant in it playing a superb action-hero role as he tried to track down the Warlock. Secondly, the action is well paced and can be quite tense at times, and is also being held together by a pretty decent action movie plot. Chuck in some gory scenes and great set pieces and you have yourself an awesome action flick.

The only real downside to this collection is that I would like the sound to be better as it is only in stereo, rather than full surround. Also, I would have liked there to have seen more extras accompanying the film for its DVD release. However, as you may have guessed, these are minor niggles, and shouldn’t really detract from you getting this slice of 80’s action movie awesomeness.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence: Fingers chopped off, eyes gouged out, someone bleeding from the eyes, throwing a weather vane into someone’s back...yep this film has some violence.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: Some profanity but not over the top.
Summary: Slight production niggles aside, Warlock is a great 80’s action/horror movie and one that all E14ies should watch. So what are you waiting for? Go catch some Richard E Grant action awesomeness. 8/10


We lusted for an even greater prize...the one prize that can never be lost or stolen or burnt. And we would find it in Miklagard...

Raven and the Wolfpack have suffered. Good men have died, treasure has been lost. But to Norsemen such as these there is something more valuable than silver: fame - for fame is the saga-story that a warrior leaves behind when he dies.

Now the Fellowship sails in search of Constantinople, which they call Miklagard, for it is there that they hope to find both riches and glory. It is a voyage that will lead them into unknown and dangerous waters - from the barren, wind-whipped marshes of the Carmargue to the crumbling walls and blood-drenched arenas of a decaying Rome, from brutal hand-to-hand conflict, to vile treachery and betrayal.

And as Miklagard echoes to the sound of sword and axe and spear, Raven and his fellow adventurers will pay a high price for the fame they seek...

Thanks to our friends at Transworld Publishers, we've got five copies of Raven: Odin's Wolves to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Saturday 23rd April, making sure to put "Odin's Wolves" as the subject. The first five entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Odin's Wolves" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Raven: Odin's Wolves is available now, priced £12.99 (Trade Paperback & Hardback and Digital Download)

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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