Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Norseman (1978)

So shamelessly absurd that it’s almost amiable, this medieval adventure stars Lee Majors as the chief of a Viking war party that sets ashore in 11th-century America to rescue their lost buddies from the clutches of dastardly Native Americans, with the help of a weather-controlling wizard and an Indian woman who inexplicably turns on her people. Suffice to say that Majors, a strapping Michigander with the acting range of a Pet Rock, doesn’t exactly disappear into his role as “Thorval the Bold”; from his flat Midwestern line readings to his perfectly groomed ’70s-stud mustache, he’s preposterous. It doesn’t help that his Viking costume includes a black superhero mask for no discernible reason, and that he spends much of the movie running in slow motion, which makes the film seem like a dream sequence from one of his Six Million Dollar Man episodes. Jack Elam, another performer who’s about as American as they come, plays the wizard, scowling from under the black cloak that hides his unconvincing hunchback prosthetic. The picture starts out well enough with a fusillade of action and semi-coherent plotting, then devolves into a series of needlessly protracted fights and chase scenes; even the spectacle of watching Majors spout silly dialogue wears thin. (Sample line: “Our shores are laden with the remains of intruders whose ambitions were far greater than their fighting skills.”) Running the show is writer-producer-director Charles B. Pierce, a prolific hack who spared every expense making robustly bad movies like The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976). Pierce shot The Norseman in Florida—which everybody knows is exactly where Native Americans and Vikings would most likely tussle—and he didn’t break the bank acquiring the picture’s one impressive prop, because a closing credit thanks the city of Newburn, NC, “for furnishing the Viking boat.”

The Norseman: LAME

1 comment:

tim 8>)... said...

Don't forget the Black Norseman...sure there were lots of those!!!