Northmen: A Viking Saga (Blu-ray Review)

NorthmenIn the 9th century, a group of Vikings, is approaching Britain, aiming to plunder the rich monasteries in the north of the island. But their ship gets caught in a storm and is smashed to pieces on the rocks off the coast of Scotland, the only part of Britain without any Viking settlements. When the daughter of the Scottish King by chance falls into Viking hands, they see the opportunity for demanding a large ransom. The King immediately sets his ‘wolfpack’ a group of mercenaries well known for their savagery on them. The Northmen with their hostage now have to force their way through the rough highlands, where they meet the brave and mysterious Christian monk Conall (Ryan Kwanten). Having the wolfpack close on their heels, a desperate race against time begins. A battle over life and death…



Outside of the Vikings television show on The History Channel there have been very little films released involving the giant marauders of ancient Scandinavia – at least from what I can remember. Now comes the film: Northmen: A Viking Saga on Blu-ray & DVD. When a Viking ship crashes off of Scotland during a freak storm the survivors realize they’re not on friendly territories and are quickly set to be dispatched.

The Vikings capture a female who unbeknownst to them turns out to be the King’s daughter. Once the king finds out that his daughter has been kidnapped he sets his forces out after them. In addition to his typical legion of soldiers – the king has a team of mercenaries led by Hjorr (Ed Skrein) and they’re sent off to kill the Vikings and recover the woman.

Yes, that’s the gist of the film. It’s simple, tight, and very damn entertaining! Northmen is action packed to the brim and there are a lot of colorful characters to focus on including a Christian monk who may or may not be a bad guy that inhabits his own little pocket of Scottish isle. He also has a cool banded beard. The rest of the crew of Northmen is also interesting enough especially the older Viking: Gunnar. He’s a badass and is the type of warrior that any Viking clan would to have on their team. Watching his scenes of battle reminded me of 300. Granted, he is a big thickskulled, so running away from the enemy to fight another day isn’t something he would care to do.

The main point of the film is really simple. A group of Vikings crash on an island, they need to survive, kidnap a daughter of royalty, must fight to stay alive, and live to fight another day. Not necessarily in that order, but that’s the film. I should also point out that the fight scenes were great! They’re brutal and gritty and there’s plenty of splatter for those that enjoy their meat and potatoes.

Production values are also decent enough and the scenery is gorgeous. Again, it’s not that deep of a film, so just sit back and relax and enjoy Vikings going crazy on people’s heads. Northmen: A Viking Saga is now available on Blu-ray & DVD.




Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: The image looks crystal clear but there are certain spots where it’s evident that they tweaked it just a bit. It doesn’t ruin the image at all it just gives it this odd sheen. Sharpness levels are great.

Depth: You’ll be able to taste the grit and mud on this Blu-ray release. It may have been filmed on the digital side of things but you would never have known that it wasn’t film. There’s a nice grain structure throughout.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is bold and only subdued in a couple of scenes and those mainly have to do with the weather.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looks great albeit a bit dirty but that’s to be expected.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not notice any noise or artifacts.




Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Northmen has a very aggressive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack that amplifies the Viking world. The film is action packed and you want a lossless soundtrack like this to pummel you repeatedly. A lossless soundtrack and a Viking movie are a match made in high definition heaven.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer channel handled the carnage magnificently. You will feel broadswords shatter bodies and skulls.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear channels handle the ambience well – the opening sea storm was terrific – and arrows and other miscellaneous objects splinter through the back flawlessly.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are great even in heavy accented English…from the majority of the English cast. *scratches head





Northmen: A Viking Saga has only one special feature and it’s a short featurette loaded up with typical cast and crew interviews intermixed with footage of the film.

  • Northmen: A Look Inside A Viking Saga (HD)





Northmen: A Viking Saga may not be the deepest Viking story out there but it doesn’t it from being a head smashing good time. The Blu-ray has great video and audio but lackluster special features. Northmen: A Viking Saga is an entertaining romp!





Northmen: A Viking Saga is available on Blu-ray & DVD!






Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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