DVD Review – Norwegian Ninja

In 1984, Norwegian politician and journalist Arne Treholt arrested and later convicted of high treason and espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union and Iraq. Norwegian Ninja, the first film from director/writer Thomas Cappelen Malling takes this real life event and from it, produces a wonderful bonkers pastiche of James Bond, eastern mysticism and Cold War movies. For in Norwegian Ninja Treholt is no traitor but instead the commander of King Olav’s elite ninja force, sworn to protect the country.

The film is being marketed as being from the same producers as the wonderful Nazi zombie movie Dead Snow and while this is true, they are two very different movies. Norwegian Ninja has less of the polish of its zombiefied stablemate, but within the context of the film this makes perfect sense. Overuse of filters, obvious model work and some outrageously funny special effects are the order of the day for Norwegian Ninja. Everything that can be done to root it firmly into the 80s has been done. When Mailing was 12 he created this fictional, heroic environment for Treholt and the film recreates beautifully everything he would have thought cool at that time.

When I started watching the movie I made the mistake of taking it far too seriously (no, I don’t know how I managed that either, well I didn’t manage it obviously, but I was having all sorts of issues not getting it and then I did and I felt bloody stupid.)

Full credit to the cast though, who play it utterly straight, which given some of the deliberate ridiculous dialogue is no mean feat. Mads Ousdal plays Treholt like a ninja-powered Norwegian Han Solo, whilst I get the feeling Trond-Viggo Torgersen’s performance of King Olav is one of love and respect.

While some of this feels very specific to Norway, the types of movies that are being parodied are very familiar indeed, meaning the film is delightfully accesible. Smartly written with a great deal of love for all aspects of its subject matter, this budget flick which cost just over £2 million GBP may not be the neatest, shiniest film you’ll see this year, but it is a lot of fun.

Norwegian Ninja is available on DVD in the UK now.


~ by moviegrrlreviews on April 18, 2011.

One Response to “DVD Review – Norwegian Ninja”

  1. Good intentions are not always enough. After fifty minutes everything in the movie falls apart, it seems the filmakers didnt have enough footage or simply they fucked up during the editing process. No wonder they only made a 75 minute film, the director knew that the results would have been disatrous if he had opted for a ninety minute feature.
    Pity because there are a lot of interesting things in this film.

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