When their kingdom in Viking Britain is taken by fearsome invaders, the king (James Cosmo) despatches one of his sons - Steinar (Charlie Bewley) - to find the other, his estranged brother, who was banished years before. His journey - alongside his mentor and friend Hagen (Clive Standen) and a slave girl (Alexandra Dowling) - sees him transformed into a brutal warrior as he travels the unforgiving landscape. Brutal yarn that will appeal to fans of The Eagle and Centurion.
Steinar (Bewley) is a Viking warrior, and despite his young age, a successful one at that. He arrives on the shores of Britain circa 871AD, along with his small band of warriors, to join his father's army as they continue a faltering quest to take over Britain.
But, on arrival, Steinar discovers his father, King Bagsecg (Game Of Thrones' James Cosmo) mortally wounded in battle, with just days to live.
Without a worthy successor in his brood, Commander of the Night's Watch King Bagsecg sends Steinar on a mission to find Steinar's long-lost brother, Hakkan, the only man deemed worthy of succession.
Hurt at the lack of faith, but willing to perform the task, Steinar takes his motley crew of warriors on a mission across the British landscape to find Hakkan, and perhaps more importantly, himself...
Imagine, if you will, that the cast and crew of Grange Hill decided against filming a school-based drama, and instead elected to channel their efforts, with no extra budget, into a Viking action flick.
Effing and binding, these are the kind of Vikings you've never seen or heard before. They argue like park footballers with swords. From East Ham to Valhalla, it's a cross between Lord of the Rings and a five-a-side football team on a quest across the Welsh countryside.
"My father is not a patient man," announces Steinar, a statement evidenced by his clipper-ed haircut. Even Viking kings are not interested in old fashioned tools like scissors.
Steinar's arc, although blindingly apparent, is a decent launch pad for the rest of the plot, and the fight scenes, and there are many, are competently composed and filled with spraying blood and gouging sound effects.
The cast give it their all, limited though they might be, and in spite of the Apocalypse Now-lite finale and the variety of cliche checks along the way, there's something remarkably earnest about the whole affair.
The well-cropped grass and hair may spoil one's suspension of disbelief from time to time, but this is low-budget action flick with a big heart. That gets stabbed. A lot.