13th Warrior, the [Import]
Antonio Banderas (SPY KIDS) brings huge star power to an immensely thrilling action-adventure from the hit-making director of DIE HARD and THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR! An exiled ambassador far from his homeland, Ahmed (Banderas) comes across a fierce band of warriors who are being attacked by ferocious creatures legendary for devouring all living things in their path! And when an old fortune-teller warns the combatants that they are doomed to failure without a 13th warrior, Ahmed is given no choice but to join their battle and help conquer the mysterious enemy! Suspenseful and endlessly exciting, this exhilarating hit is sure to thrill anyone who enjoys action on an epic scale!
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 StoreySee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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!!
Most recent customer reviews
not always a banderas fan, but he and this viking companions draw you into a norse adventure. a little lore, a little romance , a lot of battle in a harsh and gloomy setting. Read morePublished 5 months ago by bonnie l g cornwell
A Spanish Warrior who would have been more effective if he has Puss'n'boots with him.Published 7 months ago by Leonard Tedds
If you are a fan of the show Vikings then you will like this movie. One of my favorites, Great story line and great acting.Published 8 months ago by Jan P Gran
A realistic view of that time period... Mr Banderas portrayed an Arabian perfectly.Published 15 months ago by pixiedust