2018 [DUTCH]

Action / Adventure / Drama / History / War

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Jonathan Banks Photo
Jonathan Banks as Pepijn of Herstal
Søren Malling Photo
Søren Malling as Wiglek
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.39 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 40 min
P/S 1 / 7
2.77 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 40 min
P/S 1 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Field785 / 10


2015 saw the release of 'Michiel de Ruyter' (marketed as 'Admiral' in most foreign markets),which showed that director Roel Reiné could make the most out of a limited budget, with some really epic battle scenes as a result. Coupled with a decent cast and a nice historical narrative (allowing for some artistic impression, of course),it really made me curious to see how Reiné would do in his next project. 'Redbad' was announced sometime later, an epic about one of our lesser known heroes, as well as a call-out to everyone who wanted to participate as an extra in Medieval battle scenes (preferably with a horse). Sounded like a recipe for a Dutch Braveheart, but unfortunately, where Redbad is big in set-up, it fails in delivery because it wants to be too big for its own good.

MdR already made clear that 'subtlety' is not in Reiné's dictionary, but he got away with it because that movie was more of an engaging history lesson rather than a character drama anyway. Redbad, however, is the reverse. Despite a 160-minute running time, only a small portion of that is devoted to battles and action. This would be no problem if the remaining time would create a fascinating picture of its main hero and the people he deals with, but this is exactly where Redbad falls short.

The good news is that Reiné shows his craftsmanship again when it comes to visual style. There is breath-taking cinematography at times, with wide landscapes and lush art direction that made me wonder where they were all shot. Some have criticized the harsh and desaturated quality of the image, but I disagree; the early Middle Ages were harsh times, and there is no objection to seeing that grittiness reflected in the atmosphere, as long as things are not muddled. Some also complained that the battle scenes were impossible to follow due to camera and editing, and because you can't discern between the two armies. I don't share these objections either; if you're into paranoid symbolism, you could argue that the baddies dress in blue and have a coat of arms that resembles a Facebook logo, so they're easy to spot. The battle scenes are not exactly of Game of Thrones quality (they probably couldn't make one episode out of Redbad's entire budget),but they still look pretty good: slightly chaotic without looking too rehearsed. There is some shaky-cam and quick editing, but nothing too frenetic. Nowhere did I get the feeling that it was unnecessarily disorienting, or that I lost oversight of what was happening on the screen.

The bad news is that as a storyteller or actor's director, Reiné still has a lot to learn. Like in MdR, he has cast a lot of television actors and has them converse in modern Dutch. That was forgivable for MdR, but it doesn't work here. For some reason, the farther you go back in time, the more ridiculous it sounds to hear historic characters use terms that didn't exist then (especially using regional accents). I have no principle problems with actors from soap operas and comedies dressed as feral Friesians (except for some unnecessary cameos like Birgit Schuurman),but if you give them texts like "no, YOU look like sh#t", then I get taken out of the movie, and I see the soapie again, not the character. Granted, you don't want the characters speaking in ridiculously pretentious verses like in Troy ("I am Ajax, destroyer of rocks" always gets a good giggle from me),but it must be possible to give the dialogue some sense of historic solemnity and gravitas, like in Gladiator, without becoming pompous or completely unintelligible.

It is almost fascinating to see actors of all ages and walks of life struggling with the contrast between their appearance and their texts, and most seem to compensate for this by overacting as if they were doing Shakespeare in a school play, turning every phrase into an emphasized one-liner. Strangely enough, this affects mostly the more seasoned veterans like Derek de Lint, but even he doesn't reach the painful depths of Renée Soutendijk, Egbert-Jan Weber and especially Jack Wouterse (who was apparently under the mistaken impression that he was comic relief). Jonathan Banks as Pepijn was obviously cast to give the movie some international appeal, but at least his "Medieval Mike Ehrmantraut" performance is one of the few that doesn't feel too misplaced.

The screenplay, apart from the dialogues, is my second grief. Not so much is known about the historical Redbad, so it is completely acceptable that they made up several elements for dramatic purposes, as long as that makes for an engaging narrative. That the superior Frankish army looks like a pretty unimpressive group of soldiers isn't a big problem (again, Dutch budgets). But in a solid script, the presented elements at least make sense or are properly motivated and balanced. The Franks are depicted as murderous zealots, which makes them uninteresting one-dimensional villains, probably used as easy comparisons to ISIS and a contrast with the noble Friesians (who historically must have been just as cruel at times). Redbad himself is presented as the Dutch Braveheart, including a "they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom" speech. He is apparently bound to lead his people to victory, and everywhere he comes, people hail him as their savior, but we never get to see why he is such a good strategist, and how he acquired those skills. Gijs Naber is a fine actor and he is doing his best with the material that is handed to him, but he still feels ill-equipped for such a tough role.

There are more annoying holes in the story and presentation. Why do the Franks speak English, where French would seem more logical? Why do Friesian tribes in Denmark speak English, the same language as the Franks, instead of something sounding more Dutch (like Danish)? Why are the place name captions in English, whereas the opening and closing texts are in Dutch? And a dishonorable mention for the way in which two of the battles in the movie are resolved; one involving the sea, and the almost laughable skirmish at the climax involving a spear.

Finally, the nail in this biopic's coffin is that it is constantly overselling itself with bombastic music and unnecessary visual tricks. Reiné's constant need for slow-motion shots is one thing, but his imagery is drowned in an ever-so-present score from a guy who probably thinks he is Hans Zimmer, and constantly abuses the heavy strings and low-frequency bass. I am not necessarily a supporter of the 'less-is-more' dogma, but here, even calm dialogue scenes that would call for two instruments and a soft choir are smothered in obtrusively epic music. The lack of subtle musical motives starts to feel like being kept awake all night by a next-door house party.

I am not mad at this film, and I certainly didn't find it the piece of wreckage that some make it out to be. It had some moments of visual grandeur, but sadly, an unmotivated screenplay filled with holes prevents most scenes from having the visceral impact that they could have had. Watching it was like grading a school essay where you add comments in red ink, and nearly every paragraph needs correction. I guess you could call it an engaging movie in that sense, but for the wrong reasons.

Reviewed by drystyx4 / 10

Not as bad as most modern action thrillers

This is an action thriller set in the time of Charles Martel, about a warrior leader named Redbad.

It's full of blood and gore, because that's Hollywood. It's important to hacks to show a ton of blood per half hour of footage, because supposedly you don't know that people bleed when their throats are cut.

The characters help the story a bit. They're better drawn than most modern movies.

However, the writer makes a mistake in using actual historical characters from whom we have some data. When you do that, you should try to come close to some reasonable depiction of the historical characters.

Well, this fails in that regard. A total rewriting, particularly of Pepin and Charles Martel. They are depicted exactly the opposite of how History describes them. Not that they weren't cruel, but they were more noted for taking from the church, whereas here they are more generous with the church than with others.

I don't know why they rewrote History here. Maybe they're right, but the historical records just differ.

I can't say it's a great adventure. The blood is just too much. And there's no "bang for bucket of blood". For something this violent, it just has too much dullness.

I think the dullness was due to some heavy handed writing and directing.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca3 / 10

Meandering Viking flick

RISE OF THE VIKING is yet another European offering that's happy to riff on the popularity of the VIKINGS television series and adopt a bland, generic look and feel throughout. This exists as both this overlong movie and an even longer TV miniseries; this version seemed to be dragged out endlessly so I hate to think what the miniseries would be like. It's a Dutch flick that goes through the motions in depicting conflict between rival tribes; there are the requisite helpings of sex and gore, battle scenes and intrigue, plotting and treachery. The whole thing has a digital look and feel and never surprises once; the lack of real aims and narrative drive makes it feel meandering.

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