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13th Warrior, the

Antonio Banderas , Diane Venora , John McTiernan , Michael Crichton    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reinterpretation of Beowulf Aug. 16 2005
Format:DVD
I found The 13th Warrior to be a highly satisfying experience in retelling the story of "Beowulf."
I have always been fascinated by the fact that Vikings had travelled all the way to Constantinople/Istanbul well before 800 A.D. That the Byzantine Emperor's Varangian guard was composed entirely of Norsemen. That great cultures --- such as the Middle Eastern Muslims and European Christians --- managed to rub elbows and coexist (more or less) harmoniously for centuries. (This is something that Islamists want us to forget.)
In "The 13th Warrior," an Islamic Arabian diplomat joins a band of Viking warriors as they travel to northern Europe to aid a king. The king is plagued by flesh-eaters, and thus the story of the Anglo-Saxon epic, "Beowulf," is retold through the sensibility of the Arab narrator.
Is the armour utterly authentic to this period? Nope! Fifteenth-century plate armour sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. *But*... does this film capture the character of Norse and Anglo-Saxon warriors? Yes, plus it captures the feral qualities of some of the tribes who fought with the Norsemen. (I kept thinking of ancient Celts, who collected severed heads, as I saw the flesh-eaters of this film.)
"The 13th Warrior" is an unusual, thinking-person's epic with more to offer than the typical blood-and-guts sword-fight film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
The idea of a culture clash between Moslem and Scandinavian civilizations is nothing new. "The Longships" with Sidney Poitier and Richard Widmark covered a lot of the same ground, even though it was campy and ridiculous. However, as laughable as The Longships was, it was actually a better movie and (believe it or not) more historically accurate! That's pretty sad.
Back in the 10th century, Ibn Fadlan (a real person) wrote an account of a Viking funeral he witnessed. In the 6th century, there was a Geatish hero named Beowulf (who was probably a real person: his uncle Hygelac was definitely real) who slew two ogres (Grendel and his mother) who stormed a king's hall and ate the inhabitants. Beowulf later became a king in his own right, but was killed by a dragon, but not before he slew the beast. Michael Crichton melded the two stories (in spite of the 400-year time span -no big deal) and in order to make it more plausible, changed Grendel and his mother into the "Vendol", a group of late-surviving Neanderthals who had had superhuman strength (Neanderthals were MUCH stronger than homo sapiens) and domesticated ponies. Crichton also changed the fire-breathing dragon into a column of torch-wielding horsemen. These ideas are so original and intriguing that I for one thought it would be nearly impossible to screw up even if the book was rather lame. It's a truism that bad books make better movies than good ones. Crichton and John McTiernan proved that a bad book can make a bad movie, too.
Unlike some people, I don't get all caught up in languages and accents when it comes to movies as long as there is some sort of consistency. I don't fault movies made in the English-speaking world for using English as the common tongue.
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By A Customer
Format:DVD
Anyone at all familiar with Anglo-Saxon literature, especially Beowulf, the Norse Sagas and the account of Ibn Fadlan, will quickly understand that this is a superior and intellectually sophisticated piece of creative film-making. Although it telescopes history from the 6th to about the 13th century, and throws in quite a chunk of what at best might have been folk-memory from a far earlier millenium, this doesn't bother me. It scores heavily in the accurate realization of the social values and fatalistic life philosophy of this period. Particularly good is the extreme pithiness of these Northeners' take on life. Let's be clear on this: these men were amazingly tough, but they weren't stupid, they were generous in spirit, and they had high concepts when it came to how a man should conduct himself. They just didn't believe in wasting words, or indulging in a lot of useless clever talk. They lived their lives in a harsh environment, at the very edge of a totally untamed natural world. The characters are excellently acted, and the direction is highly skilled. The location was effectively atmospheric, although a little too North American to be convincing --- the Denmark of Beowulf is in fact almost dead flat, although the idea of a cave behind a waterfall was imported from Iceland. The language question was very deftly handled. I didn't know they were speaking Gaelic, which somebody wrote, but they were certainly speaking Danish and Norwegian at times. Virtually all Northeners during this age could understand each other, although they would have spoken with varying accents. It seems tragic that the footage has obviously been mindlessly mutilated by what must have been a bunch of utter morons, the equivalent of all the dullards who have panned the film. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars PLEASE MAKE A DIRECTOR'S CUT!! April 6 2004
Format:DVD
Am I even watching the same movie?? I've been reading a lot of the reviews here about 13th Warrior. I was especially interested in people who gave it a bad review. While I agree with some of the points - it must have been cut because it gets choppy at times (as if there's a section missing which causes a loss of continuity and leaves questions and situations hanging out there) - I enjoyed this movie immensely! I've watched it many times and have never gotten tired of it. The warriors have beautiful horses too, which are a pleasure to watch! I'd LOVE to see a director's cut with deleted scenes and all the great extras so many DVD's have (such as Pirates of the Caribbean) - I'd have to buy more than one copy!.
I originally bought the movie because I like Antonio Banderas in most of his movies, but I was very pleasantly surprised with the other actors - ESPECIALLY Vladimir Kulich (too bad he was in a mask in his role in the TV series Angel - he has such a great face), Dennis Storhoi, Dennis Southern, Tony Curran, and Clive Russell. These guys are excellent! Very different characters but equally entertaining. Other warriors (such as Neil Maffin) weren't in the movie enough to be able to form much of an opinion. But the story itself is great even if they did change it from the book (some of the changes are for the better). Yes, I did read the book too, and they could have fleshed the characters out more. But all in all, it's a very entertaining movie and one of my favorites to watch often. I liked it well enough to search out and buy a set of lobby cards from the movie, which I will display on my walls.
As for the language discussions in the reviews - it's a MOVIE! Lighten up! Definitely 5 stars, even if there are scenes missing. MAKE A DIRECTOR'S CUT!!!!. We'll buy it!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
I've watched this move at least a half dozen times and each time it's as good as it was the first time. Antonio Bandaras and the other main characters played their parts very well. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ben Charron
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Movie
It is a terrfic movie. The product was in great shape and there were no scratches on the disc at all.
Published on March 17 2012 by Ashley Oostenbrink
5.0 out of 5 stars great service!
I ordered this item at the beginning of December, and it came within 2 weeks for Christmas, which I really appreciated since I left ordering it until late! Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2012 by Charlene kelln
3.0 out of 5 stars Enterntaining
This movie is enterntaining. Banderas does a good job at humour although the movie does not require much acting. Overall a fun movie to watch.
Published on Nov. 1 2011 by Juan Luis Vasquez
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Movie
Another of Michael Crichton's books made into a movie. This one followed the book fairly well and the pace developed well so that the movie itself made sense. Read more
Published on May 29 2011 by K. Sidiqi
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic movie that could have been even better
This movie had the makings of an epic film that could have given competition to Lord of the Rings. It was a classic tale, with good casting and great costumes. Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by Lodge2
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but missing alot.
I saw this movie maybe 8 times on the TV and once in the movies theatre. I really loved the bad ass Viking characters. They were big, tough, and smart. Read more
Published on May 20 2004 by C. Senn
1.0 out of 5 stars Harmless Warrior
What a tremendously disappointing movie...I admit I wasn`t expecting much anyway, still I thought it would be better than this mess. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2004 by gonn1000
2.0 out of 5 stars The 13th Warrior
This would have been great if Michael Chrighton left John Mcterian's cut untouched . What you have is a film of potential fantastic set pieces reduced to weak conclusions. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2004 by Nial Westwood
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