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The 13th Warrior
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Product Description

When exiled Arab courtier Ahmad Ibn Fadlan comes across a band of Vikings, he is appalled by their way of life, but after a fortune teller warns the Northmen of a mysterious enemy, Admad is compelled to enter into battle with them.
Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure
Rating: R
Release Date: 25-JAN-2005
Media Type: DVD

What happened to The 13th Warrior? Directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard), it's the tale of young Arab ambassador Ahmahd ibn Fahdalan (Antonio Banderas), who's vanquished from his homeland for loving the wrong woman. On his journeys he associates with a ragtag group of Vikings who are traveling back to their homeland to confront a nefarious threat that's cloaked in such superstition they're forbidden to speak its name. It is prophesied by a witch doctor that 13 warriors must confront the evil; however, the 13th chosen man must not come from the north. Suddenly Banderas is forced into the breach, somewhat against his will. More poet than battle-worn warrior, he must not only fight the aggressors but come to terms with the unfamiliar Norse culture. What follows is a vigorous and brutal adventure reminiscent of Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Sumptuous and invigorating battle sequences fill the screen from beginning to end as the brave Norsemen battle insurmountable odds.

Sounds good. So why did this film, once known as the Eaters of the Dead, sit on studio shelves for two years? Presumably because of the thoughtless editing that trimmed down the film to its bare bones, crafting an actionfest out of an epic. It's not often that you crave for a movie to be longer, but The 13th Warrior could've benefited from fleshing out of its subplots and characters. On the surface it's good eye candy with some fine pulse-quickening moments, and Banderas and the accompanying cast turn in sympathetic performances, epitomizing camaraderie in the face of impending doom. However, if you're looking for a good thematic tale from the Dark Ages (akin to Braveheart), you may be disappointed. --Jeremy Storey

Customer Reviews:

  • Love this movie but...
    Like most of the reviews I'm disappointed about all the film that must have been left on the directors floor after the editing. But truly a great story and actors, characters each and every one of them. I cant wait for this to come out on BD (I've been through 3 SD versions, I'm on the "first to know" e-mail list for the BD) I just hope its a directors cut and an awesome transfer to BD 'cause this movie deserves it!!!...more info
  • Not historically accurate
    Ibn Fadlan (the 13th warrior) was not an Arab; He is a Persian working for Arab caliphate.
    Arab caliphates were completely depended on Persians to rule and manage their huge empire.
    This book is made based on a book by Michael Crichton called "Eaters of the dead"
    , Which is based on real chronicles of a Persian working for Abbasid Caliphates as a royal accountant (Divandar)?
    The story is seriously dramatized to fit Hollywood needs. The real chronicles are available in a library in Iran. The real story is somewhat different from Michael Crichton's version.
    Overall it's very exciting and interesting, Well worth watching and reading. ...more info
  • My Gosh, Buy it TWICE!
    Don't just buy this dvd. Buy two copies because you will wear out the first one quickly! This is my family's FAVORITE movie EVER! It is telling that in this film, Antonio Banderas is NOT the hottest guy in the movie! In fact, he can be annoying in it. This movie needed to be longer. Maybe a few hours longer. And the leader's name is Buliwhys, not Bulvine. Just buy it. ...more info
  • The 13th Warrior
    Fascinating. Then again - when did Antonio Banderas not make his character entertaining and interesting?...more info
  • Beowulf
    This movie, based on Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton, is an interesting adaptation of the story of Beowulf. For English lit buffs who enjoy the classical tale of a fearless warrior who battles demon spawn, this movie is an interesting experiment. While it is not true to all aspects of the tale of Beowulf, the way some of the elements of the story are adapted for a more "scientific" explanation of things is intruiging. For those who have read Cricton's book, this movie is pretty true to the book. I am rarely as impressed with a movie as I am with its literary counterpart, but this is a movie that is as good as its book. For viewers who don't care about Beowulf or Eaters of the Dead, this is a very cool movie anyway. There is plenty of suspense, blood, and fighting. It is a good adventure movie. ...more info
  • Vikings and Arabs working together to help rid mankind of cavemen
    This story is loosely and I mean loosely based on the epic poem Beowulf. An Arab falls for the wrong woman so her husband has him sent far away as an ambasador. He meets up with a bunch of Vikings who are needed to go help fell Northmen from supernatural beasts who have been terrorizing them. It turns out that 13 men are needed and 1 of them can't be a Northman so the Arab must go. So they all go and defend the village.

    One thing I like was how everything wasn't made all fancy looking like a lot of fantasy films try to do with their films. Everything looks like it would have looked like for it's time period, like the weapons, armour, clothes, homes and the wooden castle. Although some of the weapons and armour actually weren't used by real Vikings. The scenery is also good with it's green fields and forests and all of that fog. The fighting scenes were also pretty good and there's quite a bit of them too. One interesting thing is how they show the differnces from the Vikings and Muslim culture like how the Arab thinks that the Viking way of life is very dirty and barbaric. The Viking leader also shows interest in the Arab being able to write and he himself tries to write something in Arabic that the Arab had showed him.

    Some things I didn't like was the ending because it seemed very anti-climatic because the leader of the bad guys dies way too early in the last battle and after that the rest of the bad guys run away into the mist. Also they should have shown a grand funeral for the Viking leader at the end. Also some of the characters really don't have that much depth so you really don't care when they start to die.

    I also felt a couple of things were just a little too farfetched like when the Arab picks up Norse by just listening to them for a while. You can't just learn an entire language by just listening to it for a few days or weeks or for however long it took him to learn it but if he didn't then there probaly would have been subtitles because in the beggining the vikings are speaking Norse and after the Arab learns it they start to speak english. Another thing that's farfetched is that the bad guys turn out to be Neanderthals, who were by this point in time extinct but in the end it works out so it doesn't really matter.

    Overall there really aren't too many Viking movies out there and out of the very very few that I have seen I would say that this is the best one. So if you want to see a good Viking or fantasy type movie then you need to get this movie....more info
  • Warrior
    I think this is a great film and Bamderas' is really under rated. As an aside, it's one of only a few films showing good relations between Arabs and northern europeans. Some good special effects. Check out the scene where Banderas's horse jumps over Viking on horse back and the line "..that dog can jump"....more info
  • The best Vikings vs. Cannibals adventure movie ever made!
    The 13th Warrior is definitely the best Vikings vs. Cannibals movie. If that makes it sound like a down market schlocker, it's anything but, offering instead an imaginative account of what the real inspiration for the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf just might have been. Retitled (it was originally called Eaters of the Dead), re-edited, shelved and partially reshot by Michael Crichton, who replaced Graeme Revell's evocative world music score with an excellent old-fashioned adventure one by Jerry Goldsmith (part of which was used on Kingdom of Heaven's "Rise a knight" sequence), even in its final compromised state, it's a terrific adventure movie. It certainly boasts one of the best action scenes of recent years, with a fiery night-battle between the aforementioned Vikings and hundreds of bearskin-clad riders. On the minus side, this setpiece is so very good that the others fail to live up to it, especially the slow-motion final battle. Antonio Banderas is fine as the bewildered Arab ambassador drafted into helping a group of Vikings defeat an evil that cannot be named and Dennis Storhi immensely likeable as his translator/guide into the ways of the Northmen. Great fun, and a far from guilty pleasure.

    The only extra is the trailer, although those with multi-region players might want to check out the French DVD, which includes a featurette, trailer and teaser trailer for McTiernan's original cut when it was still called Eaters of the Dead.
    ...more info
  • Ahh what a film this could have been.
    The makers of this film started with a great story. And it's not often we get to see a film set in the Viking Age, which makes such movies a real treat for those of us who love pictures about that time in history. To top it off, a first rate cast was hired, and they all turn in great performances. So this should have been a fantastic movie. As it is, it's only decent. What could have been epic, is now merely entertaining. As many other reviewers have noted, the most severe problem is that the film was chopped to bits in the editing room, and the result is a very jumpy, uneven pace. I understand the need to keep movies down to a reasonable length of time, but this movie could have benefitted from a little extra length to flesh out some of the scenes, develop the characters, and even out the pacing of the story.

    Another gripe I have is that they should have hired a more knowledgeable historical/archaeological consultant to get the period look of the film right. A lot of people in the audience might not spot the anachronistic elements, but those familiar with the Viking Age cannot help but shake their heads to see the Viking warriors wielding swords that look like crude, barely sharpened iron bars, more primitive looking than anything seen in Europe at that time, or indeed for over thousand years earlier; not to mention one Viking wearing a solid breastplate of a type not used in Europe until centuries later, while another wears Roman gladiator's helmet(!) from several hundred years ealier. Couldn't they have spared a little money from the budget to hire a historian who could have helped them get such details right?

    Still, the movie succeeds well enough to provide a couple of hours' decent entertainment. But it is a great pity they missed the opportunity to make it the great, stirring picture it had the potential to be....more info
  • Bleccccch
    I saw this movie for the first time a couple weeks ago and it was so bad I don't really remember much more than checking my watch every couple of minutes wondering how much more time I had to spend on this awful movie.

    I don't recommend this movie unless you have a real jones for Antonio Banderas, and even then, rent Spy Kids, at least the movie has a little bit of a plot....more info
  • Michael Crichton's version of Beowulf
    This film is based on Crichton's book, "Eaters of the Dead", an interpretation of the Beowulf Saga.
    The story is from the viewpoint of Ibn Fadlan, (based on an actual historical person who represented Arab trade contracts with the Vikings in Russia). In this story, Fadlan is a disgraced court-poet from the Caliphate of Baghdad, sentenced to be a trade-ambassador to the Norsemen, as mentioned. He winds up being "recruited" without his consent into a special mission of Vikings to rescue a small Nordic kingdom far to the north. This kingdom is being overrun by a savage and primitive tribe of canibalistic barbarians. Although he is not a warrior, and has serious doubts about his survival, Fadlan bravely faces danger with the Vikings, and learns to fight. Being an educated man, he utilizes his knowledge and intuition as a great asset to the group, earning the respect of the Norsemen.
    This is an action movie, not a serious historical film, of course. I was impressed when I saw it in the theater. There are some minor "Hollywoodisms" as usual, that were a bit irritating to a sense for historical accuracy: One of the Vikings uses a Roman gladiator helmet...where the hell would he get that in the early Middle-ages? Many of the polearms used by the warriors are of a type belonging to a much later era of Middle-ages. Vikings used basic thrusting or throwing spears, and a little-known long-arm nick-named "mail-scraper".
    However, in the name of historical accuracy, the Vikings in this movie are wearing Byzantine armor, and this is believable, as many Norsemen in Russia were often veterans of service in the elite Varangian Guard of the Byzantine empire.
    All in all, its one of the best Viking movies I've seen! ...more info
  • Crichton's Take on the Anglo-Saxon Cultural Epic Beowulf
    Yep, it is Beowulf to the bone, although the author was uncomfortable enough with the changed point of view to fictionalize the legend.
    Forget the Seven Samuri/Magnificent Seven references--those are simply in the minds of the viewers who slept through the first three quarters of the film and didn't wake up until the cavalry attack.
    This is a cultural epic with a bit of a twist, so we're stuck with the plot--only an illiterate would fault that. There are two other versions of the legend out on DVD now, including a cartoon take for you A D D victims out there.
    Yeah, we need a director's cut--if only to supply the special features obviously needed to explain all of this....more info
  • Gloomy, Atmospheric.
    The editorial reviewer compared this film unflatteringly to Braveheart, i actually think it is better.

    What i love about this movie is the feel of it, the darkness and gloominess of the movie does an excellent job of transplanting us to those harsh times. I also enjoyed the stark contrast between the two different lands, the Arab kingdom looks warm and civilised and well ordered whereas the Norse kingdoms are harsh, rugged and cold. It is no wonder that Banderas' character accepts his mission to venture into Northern Europe with 12 wild norse warriors to slay an evil enemy somewhat ruefully. I enjoyed those parts of the film which dealt with ancient rituals and superstitions (such as the readings given by the two elderly witches at different points in the story), and the short description of the self sacrifice of a woman who's husband? has died, she falls into the flaming boat to be consumed with him. Together with the credible portrayal of feudal infighting at the Lords castle all these things do much to bring the story to life. An interesting thing this film tries to do is blur the boundary between myth/fantasy and reality, Ibn's amazing ability at learning languages quickly is one such event, another revolves around the story of the companions' nemesis, ie the act of killing two special members of the wildmen's tribe leading immediately to total defeat of the tribe (surely the tribe have other leaders?), such contradictions allow us to more easily be seduced by the atmosphere of the film and the director handles them well. Banderas does a good job with the Arab ambassador's role, nothing special, competent. His fellow actors do a good job with the roles of the Norsemen, particularly the guy who played their enigmatic, shy yet brave leader....more info
  • Sadly Underrated Norse Adventure
    The first time I saw this movie I thought, not bad. The second time I thought, pretty good. The third time, outstanding. This movie will grow on you. The cast is quite good and with multiple viewings they will make you appreciate them. Antonio Banderas turns in a wonderful performance as the 13th warrior. As an Arab he seems out of place with a group of Vikings in search of a group of raiders that are destroying their villages. At first he thinks they are gross braggards that he can barely tolerate to associate. In time he begins to appreciate them for the warriors and men they truly are. The sets are dark and well done. The music is magnificent and blends with the action perfectly. Fans of movies like "The Seven Samurai" or "Conan the Barbarian" should enjoy it. My hat is off to the directors McTiernan and Crichton for bringing out the right traits in the characters and keeping the action at a good pace. This was not a box office hit but seems to be gaining appreciation with multiple appearances on TV. I for one plan to pick up the DVD since I have seen it three times on TV and I realize it has great replayability....more info
  • GREAT ACTORS, BAD MOVIE
    I was disappointed in this movie because it looks so wonderful in the beginnig but it seems that they were in such a hurry to le t the big name stars carry the burden of the movie. they sure sliced this flick to oblivion. I am saddened by the direction because these are Great actors. You cannot get any better than my good friend Omar sharrif (He was so upset about this move that He retired)The 13th Warrior is a 1999 action film based on the novel Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park. It is directed by John McTiernan, director of Die Hard, and an uncredited Crichton, and starring Antonio Banderas as Ahmad ibn Fadlan and Vladimir Kulich as Buliwyf (Beowulf). The 13th Warrior was a disappointment at the box office, earning only US$61,698,899 worldwide.

    The novel upon which the film is based and loosely inspired by Richard Frye's translation of ibn Fadlan's non-fictional account of his travels up the river Volga in the tenth century. The plot is largely a modernized retelling of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, with elements added from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights and Seven Samurai.

    Although the film was generally panned by critics, some praised it for use of an Arab as its hero. In his book Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies A People, media studies professor Jack Shaheen listed the film on his "Best" list of films with balanced and sometimes heroic portrayals of Arabs...more info
  • UNUSUAL ACTION FILM...
    I first saw this film in the theatres when it was first released, and I remember being disappointed at the time, as I did not particularly care for it. It was shown on television cable channel last night, and I thought, why not give it a second go around. Well, I am certainly glad that I did, as I enjoyed the film much more the second time around and can affirmatively say that I like it.

    While the film is apparently based upon Michael Crichton's book, "Eaters of the Dead", having not, as yet, read this book, I had no pre-conceived notions about the storyline and have no idea whether or not it is or is not a faithful adaptation. All I can say is that I found it to be an enjoyable, though unusual, action film. Moreover, I do love Antonio Banderas, and I thought that he was particularly dreamy in the role of Ahmad Ibin Fahdlan, a young and exceedingly handsome, well-educated Arab, a poet made an ambassador and exiled from his homeland for having coveted another man's wife.

    Ahmed, accompanied by a wily older man, Melchisidek (Omar Sharif), and a band of Arabs, comes across a ragtag group of Norsemen on a ship. With Melchisidek translating for him, Ahmed befriends them when they briefly come ashore, and while with them, the Norsemen get a bit of bad news from home by way of a messenger. It seems that an ancient enemy whose name they cannot even speak aloud, (the Wendols), are savaging their countrymen, and the Norsemen need to get back in a hurry to help. An oracle is consulted, and it seems that thirteen warriors must go back in order to fight successfully this flesh eating enemy. The thirteenth warrior, however, must not be a Norseman. Thus, Ahmed is reluctantly conscripted to fight this ancient evil.

    Ahmed goes with them on their ship, heading North, and quickly learning their language. He ends up bonding with the friendly Norseman, Herger the Joyous (Dennis Storhoi). When they arrive at their destination, they see the ravages left by the Wendols and prepare for war against these beast-like beings that they believe to be supernatural in origin, due to the sheer savagery of their methods. There is a reason why they are referred to as eaters of the dead. Ahmed, initially fearful, eventually goes from being squeamish and a quivering bowl of jello in the face of attack to being a stalwart and courageous warrior. This transformation occurs when he discovers that the enemy is not a demon from the dark side but, rather, just a man, though not quite like him.

    Antonio Banderas gives a wonderful performance as the sensitive Ahmed, infusing the role with both subtlety and strength. Omar Sharif makes the most of his very brief screen appearance. Dennis Storhoi is terrific in the role of Ahmed's charismatic Norse friend, the intrepid, seasoned warrior, Herger the Joyous. Asides from being an action film, it is also a sort of buddy movie, as well. The Wendols are appropriately fearsome, and some of the cinematography is breathtaking. While some of the sub-plots are not fully fleshed out and a little puzzling, this does not unduly detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. Of course, the viewer would do well to suspend disbelief over Ahmed's seeming overnight learning of the Norsemen's language, as well as over the concept of cavemen riding on horseback. Still, notwithstanding some of these little bumps in the road, this is a film that those who like the action genre will enjoy.


    ...more info
  • Its for the guys! Period!
    There are some classics, some movies which need testosterone to be truly appreciated. Some movies which you will always find in the shelves of the discerning male of the species. Rambo 3, Terminator 2, Lawrence of Arabia, Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon, Kung pao Enter the fist (the list is longer) and The Thirteetnth Warrior.

    I guess, everyone else will scoff at the idea of 12 Norse warriors teaming up with an Arab messenger to beat back an ancient evil, as too darn fantastic.

    But the camaraderie, the hard fighting, the relucatance to surrender, and the sheer strength of will power, as depicted in this movie, is some thing every guy can relate to and appreciate.

    It has some wonderful acting, none of that sissy girlie stuff. No flowers and candle lit dinners (NO GUY LIKES THAT STUFF!!), when the warriors like a wench and the wench feels like it, they just go for it. And then wake up in the middle of the night with huge swords and shields and beat the living day lights out of the enemy.

    Amazing scenry and depiction of the norse knorrs, and the cold northern reaches they called home. Excellent costumes and depiction of both the Norse warriors and the bear cult they fight. Excellent dialogue exchanges, and a fast paced story line. Adventure, drama and action... loads of action.

    A thoroughly enjoyable movie. Get the guys over, grab a few beers and order in some pizzas... and dont forget to send the women out on a silly shopping trip or something.
    Regards,
    KL...more info
  • A Modern Viking Tale
    The problem with a film with `13' in the title is that it makes it sound like a horror film; this film is not (this is the same problem with the film "13th Floor" which was even advertised as a horror film; it isn't, it's a good science fiction film). This film is a superbly excellent Viking tale, fast paced and cutting edge. Some reviewers have even complained that the film is too short at 90 minutes. That's actually a complement, when you want a film to be longer. And that's certainly the case here. The nice flip side to that is that if you like this genre of films, adventure/action/thriller, you will not be bored. There aren't that many (or any) good modern Viking films. In the 1950's was a popular film called "The Vikings" with some popular actors of the time. Oh my lord is that film dated. At one point there's a Viking funeral that just seems to last forever. Then there was another film called the Anglos and the Norse or something that also seemed to drag on for hours. So I think Viking films are now saddled with this stigmata of loooong sequences of ruddy, shaggy faced people, singing awfully, sloshing their beer steins, and saying things like `come here you wench', etc, etc. This film is *not* that. This is a crisp film. Sure enough when there are Vikings, there's drinking, but a least it lasts 30 seconds and not 18 hours. The scenery is utterly stupendous. It gives a feel of Norway's fjords. It was actually filmed in British Columbia and I think it could win awards just for cinematography (if it already didn't).

    If you like adventure, action, and even thriller films, it's hard to believe you won't be entertained by this film. The Vikings are an interesting people, and traveled widely. There's evidence that they traveled to the heart of Rus (Russia). They would disassemble there ships carry them over to the next river and reassemble them. The film has cross-cultural portrayal of, all things, a Muslim, making it an interesting film just from that aspect of two somewhat disparate cultures. And it's tongue-in-check in places as well. One could be grossed out by the beginning when all the Vikings share the same bowl of water, sloshing it in their mouths and spitting it out, blowing their snot in it, and then passing it to Antonio Banderas, but you're not; because after all, this is just one big happy Viking family. And if a film can get away with a risky maneuver that can backfire is a sign of crisp and intelligent directing and editing.

    Five full stars....more info
  • "The 13th Warrior" has turned out to be one of my favorite B-movies
    The first time I watched "The 13th Warrior" there came a point where I started rolling my eyes because it was clear that this movie 1999 movie was a combination of the epic story of "Beowulf," Akira Kurosawa's "Shichinin no samurai," and "The Clan of the Cave Bear." But to my surprise this movie has grown on me over the years, despite its flaw. Adapted by William Wisher, Jr. ("Terminator 2: Judgment Day") from the novel by Michael Crichton, it is clear early on that the primary sub-text is "Beowulf," since the 1st Warrior is named Buliwyf (Vladimir Kulich), leader of a band of Vikings. Now, if you are familiar with that ancient tale (which may not be a whole heck of a lot of people in modern America), you can figure out which characters represent Grendel and which his maternal unit. But then you notice that we have a band of warriors showing up to defend a place and when the big battle at the end takes place in the rain you know the film is borrowing heavily from "Shichinin no samurai." But then if you are going to borrow heavily from a film, that is certainly a great one to rip off.

    The lead character is one we have seen before, although the name is not: Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan Ibn Al Abbas Ibn Rashid Ibn Hamad (Antonio Banderas). He's puny compared to these Norsemen, not to mention a stranger in a strange land where he can not speak the language (at first), but he's smart and brains can do what brawn can not. Our hero is forced to become the 13th warrior because some old crone rolls the bones and declares the final member of the party, who represent the number of months in a year under the lunar calendar, cannot be a Norseman. They do not speak Arabic and he does not speak Norse, but as they travel north together he learns to speak their language by listening. Nice little trick and even if his Arabian pony is considered a "dog" by the company and his scimitar a "toothpick," he proves himself to be worthy, even if he does not understand Viking politics and folk remedies.

    The texture of this film comes from the dozen Vikings. You will have a hard time figuring out which Viking is which; even if you turn on the closed captioning they never refer to each other by name. You get to the end credits and you just cannot figure out who was who. The Vikings are played by unknown (and maybe even first time) actors, so it is not a conglomerate of recognizable faces and they are the best part of the film. I think my favorite is Dennis Storh?i as Herger the Joyous, but I am not sure if that is the character I think it is, which would be the one who speaks Latin at the beginning with Omar Sharif and first calls Bandaras' character "Ibn" (which means "son of") and later "Little Brother." It would be nice if this band of brothers had more recognizable names.

    The bad guys in this film are basically a giant horde with the collective intelligence of your vegetable of choice with a tendency to disappear every time they are on the verge of total victory. This is to be expected when you are dealing with what I guess are supposed to be Neanderthals, which is where "The Clan of the Cave Bear" enters into the mix). The location photography is spectacular and there are several above average set pieces put together by director John McTiernan ("Die Hard") that rely on that standard staple of comedy in action films, namely Viking humor. Consequently, I know think this is a solid "B" movie worth at least one bag of popcorn. I just watched it again tonight and I will probably play the DVD one more time this year. Like I said, the darn thing has grown on me. ...more info
  • When men faced their fear~
    A great movie with a plot that's intriguing with a Antonio playing a peaceful Muslim learning from a different culture (Norse) and not passing judgement on their strange ways to him.
    A great cast and believable movie location (British Columbia).
    It's well worth watching and buying a copy for your collection.
    Action/Philosophy/Mythology/...more info
  • Good movie for its type
    No oscars here, but you will be entertained. The actions scenes are great and the plot is very interesting (pretty faithful adaptation from the book by Crichton) with well timed twists. Well constructed characters drive this movie which is a feat considering there are numerous with fairly significant roles....more info
  • The 13th Warrior Review
    The 13th Warrior is a movie about a place that is being attacked by something that is devouring all living things in its path and nobody knows what it is. Some people think it is a pack of bears, but when they attack it they can't find any dead bodies. They have to have 13 warriors to combat it, says an old fortune-teller, so off they go to conquer the enemy! Well, it is very exciting and very differently done than other movies of its kind. Antonio Banderas is the 13th warrior, and his acting is very good in this movie. This is a suspenseful and exciting movie, one you might want to watch more than once to see everything. There seem to be references to Vikings and also Celts in this movie. It's a very interesting movie....more info
  • Vikings... cool...
    I saw this movie when it first came out and have watched it 2 times on DVD since.

    In my honest opinion, there are not enough Viking movies out there. I mean there is this and Eric the Viking. Anyhow, I digress...

    This movie is great, I know it was based on a book that I didn't read, but I really liked it.

    The performances are outstanding. There are many memorable characters. There are absolutely no special features, which kind of sucks, and their map of Iraq in the beginning is kind of off, but hey... It's a good movie....more info
  • Awesome Viking movie
    When I first heard Antonio Banderas would be starring in a Viking flick, I almost fell off my chair laughing, but this movie actually works. It's not only incorporates the Beowulf story but reflects the origins of Northern European dwarf and troll legends in the pre-historic Aryan conflicts with darker and more primitive aboriginal races. It has an authentic feel, despite the choppy editing and Banderas' strange acting. The actors (especially Kulich) look like real people and real Vikings, not Hollywood pretty boys with pasted-on beards. The setting is realistically grim, savage and foreboding. This movie did horribly at the box office, but it managed to acquire a devoted appreciation among many. For some people, some primeval avatar is stirred within by talk of blood, soil, honor and Valhalla. If you're one of them, you'll probably like this movie....more info
  • A durable, gripping movie. Better than the book!
    `The Thirteenth Warrior', based on a book originally entitled `Eaters of the Dead' by Michael Crighton seems to have gotten a reputation as a very weak movie, certainly not in the same league as `Jurassic Park' or `The Andromeda Strain'. I am writing this review to suggest that this movie is better than the book and eminently rewatchable, an important aspect of whether or not you want to buy a movie on DVD.

    It is better than the book in that the book is written in the form of a journal by the principle character, an Arab who is serving as an ambassador from the Caliph in Baghdad to some distant northern country bordering the distant marches of the Islamic empire sometime around the twelfth or thirteenth century. The movie is still done from the Arab's point of view, but not to the exclusion of other characters' thoughts.

    One sure way to evaluate any work is to compare it to other similar works. In this case, the closest match is the classic western `The Magnificent Seven'. In both movies, a group of elite fighters are summoned to a village to protect it against some menace. As each movie develops, there are interactions between the warriors and the townsfolk, mostly unfortunate and a brake against the fighters' achieving their principle objective.

    There are certainly a lot of differences. In `The Magnificent Seven', the primary subplot is in the closing of the western wilderness and the disappearance of opportunities for hired gunfighters. In `The Thirteenth Warrior', the most important theme is the nature of the threat to the village. It is not even clear whether the opponent is human, animal, or phantasm. A theme running through the story is the contrast between the culture of the Northmen and the single Arab, the thirteenth warrior, played so well by Antonio Banderas.

    While the most important character in `The Magnificent Seven', played by Yul Brynner, is the leader of the group of hired gunmen, the most important character in `The Thirteenth Warrior' is comparable to the role of Horst Bucholtz, the amateur outsider. But even while the leading Northmen have relatively small roles, their appearance and business is so well designed that you have no difficulty telling them apart, even though they are all played by relatively unknown actors.

    An interesting contrast to the quality of these two movies is `The Last Valley', a Michael Caine / Omar Sharif vehicle which follows a similar plot line in that a band of soldiers finds their way, uninvited, to a hidden village, untouched by the turmoil of the 30 Years War. While there are many parallels, it is instructive to see how two of these movies work and the third does not, in that you simply have no concern for the fate of the characters.

    While many things do not work in `The Last Valley', everything seems to work to good effect in `The Thirteenth Warrior'. A fine example of this is in the scene depicting the friction between the visiting warriors and the locals when the Northman in a role comparable to Steve McQueen's part in `...Seven' must take out a follower of the local prince in a way which demonstrates that the visiting troops are not to be fooled with.

    The central energy driving the plot in `The Thirteenth Warrior' is the mystery of the nature of the `Eaters of the Dead' and how to defeat them. This plot element bears a strong similarity to the problem posed to Schwarzenegger and his crew in `Predator' and the steps along the way are almost as satisfying as when Arnold goes one on one with the alien hunter. This also happens to be similar to Creighton's plot in `Congo'. And, I for one happen to think the device works a lot better in `The Thirteenth Warrior'. It is much more plausible that a small group of 12th century Northmen can have a tough time with a very shadowy, strong enemy than it is to believe that a well armed 20th century mercenaries would have trouble with a bunch of gorillas. The proof of the pudding is that when a similar group of soldiers are faced with an invisible, heavily armed alien, the story becomes much more interesting.

    Since I first saw `The Thirteenth Warrior', I have seen it at least three more times and I am as interested in watching it again as I am in the prospect of watching `The Magnificent Seven' again.
    ...more info
  • AN UNUSUAL ACTION FILM...
    I first saw this film in the theatres when it was first released, and I remember being disappointed at the time, as I did not particularly care for it. It was shown on television cable channel last night, and I thought, why not give it a second go around. Well, I am certainly glad that I did, as I enjoyed the film much more the second time around and can affirmatively say that I like it.

    While the film is apparently based upon Michael Crichton's book, "Eaters of the Dead", having not, as yet, read this book, I had no pre-conceived notions about the storyline and have no idea whether or not it is or is not a faithful adaptation. All I can say is that I found it to be an enjoyable, though unusual, action film. Moreover, I do love Antonio Banderas, and I thought that he was particularly dreamy in the role of Ahmad Ibin Fahdlan, a young and exceedingly handsome, well-educated Arab, a poet made an ambassador and exiled from his homeland for having coveted another man's wife.

    Ahmed, accompanied by a wily older man, Melchisidek (Omar Sharif), and a band of Arabs, comes across a ragtag group of Norsemen on a ship. With Melchisidek translating for him, Ahmed befriends them when they briefly come ashore, and while with them, the Norsemen get a bit of bad news from home by way of a messenger. It seems that an ancient enemy whose name they cannot even speak aloud, (the Wendols), are savaging their countrymen, and the Norsemen need to get back in a hurry to help. An oracle is consulted, and it seems that thirteen warriors must go back in order to fight successfully this flesh eating enemy. The thirteenth warrior, however, must not be a Norseman. Thus, Ahmed is reluctantly conscripted to fight this ancient evil.

    Ahmed goes with them on their ship, heading North, and quickly learning their language. He ends up bonding with the friendly Norseman, Herger the Joyous (Dennis Storhoi). When they arrive at their destination, they see the ravages left by the Wendols and prepare for war against these beast-like beings that they believe to be supernatural in origin, due to the sheer savagery of their methods. There is a reason why they are referred to as eaters of the dead. Ahmed, initially fearful, eventually goes from being squeamish and a quivering bowl of jello in the face of attack to being a stalwart and courageous warrior. This transformation occurs when he discovers that the enemy is not a demon from the dark side but, rather, just a man, though not quite like him.

    Antonio Banderas gives a wonderful performance as the sensitive Ahmed, infusing the role with both subtlety and strength. Omar Sharif makes the most of his very brief screen appearance. Dennis Storhoi is terrific in the role of Ahmed's charismatic Norse friend, the intrepid, seasoned warrior, Herger the Joyous. Asides from being an action film, it is also a sort of buddy movie, as well. The Wendols are appropriately fearsome, and some of the cinematography is breathtaking. While some of the sub-plots are not fully fleshed out and a little puzzling, this does not unduly detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. Of course, the viewer would do well to suspend disbelief over Ahmed's seeming overnight learning of the Norsemen's language, as well as over the concept of cavemen riding on horseback. Still, notwithstanding some of these little bumps in the road, this is a film that those who like the action genre will enjoy. ...more info
  • POINTLESS AND DULL
    Maybe I didn't watch the same movie, but I found THE 13TH WARRIOR incredibly pointless and dull. While filmed sumptuously and with a decent amount of action scenes, there was little substance in the plotting or in the limp characterizations. Who were these "eaters of the dead?" All of a sudden the Vikings are speaking English, obviously for the benefit of its audience since translator Omar Sharif wasn't going to be around to translate. Michael Crichton is a gifted writer, but I don't consider this one of his shining moments. Antonio Banderas wears much too much eye make up in the first part of the film and the gifted Diane Venora is wasted in what amounts to nothing more than a cameo role. Listless and lumbering, I don't recommend this one at all....more info