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Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan

Tadanobu Asano , Khulan Chuluun , Sergei Bodrov    R (Restricted)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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History knows him as Genghis Khan, but before he became a warlord, he was simply a man named Temudgin. Exiled into slavery as a boy and forced into a life of struggle after his father is killed by a rival clan, the greatest military mastermind of all time survived on the strength of a single dream: to unite his people into the largest empire the world has ever known. Asano Tadanobu portrays Temudgin in director Sergei Bodrov's sweeping, Academy Award nominated epic full of breathtaking landscapes and bloody battles that follows the Mongol warrior as he escapes the shackles of bondage, finds love and rises to become the general who would create history's most powerful empire.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden Gem Nov. 12 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
One of the best foreign films I have had the pleasure of viewing. A realistic account of Temudgin the man behind the legend of Genghis Khan. Beautiful film that mixes history, culture, cinematography, action and romance for a unparalleled vision of Mongolia when the riders of the steppe were feared conquerors.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  184 reviews
132 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't vouch for the historical accuracy... Sept. 10 2008
By Andariel Halo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
...but considering the minimal budget (20 million dollars American) and the genuine Mongolian (some areas so isolated that new roads had to be built to get the film crews there) locations filmed, this was a fantastic movie that was well-paced for an introduction to the life of Temudjin, who would become the Genghis Khan.

Despite the low budget, nothing in the movie looks cheaply filmed; everything looks like that of a big budget film six times more expensive, from costumes to makeup (and the craggly dirt buildup on Temudjin during his time in captivity). I don't speak Mongolian, so I can't tell whether the accents spoken are accurately Mongolian, but for an American audience, it was great for authenticity (rather than having them speak Russian or Kazakh).

The movie excels in two particular aspects which really make this one more than just a casual ancient-world flick; the battles and the people.

While Genghis Khan is demonized in the West as a barbarous conqueror, he is seen like a hero in the East, and this movie serves to show him as both and neither, making him more than just black or white, but a fully fleshed out person with ambitions to uniting all the Mongol tribes as one beneath him. He is utterly believable as a human being, fallible, and seemingly very much driven by his love for his wife and children, whom he nevertheless must leave constantly to fulfill his dream.

There is also Jamukha, who manages to be both a piggish, slothy figure, and a noble, loyal friend to Temudjin, when their dreams conflict and they become enemies, with a very painful and realistic portrayal of just why Jamukha would betray Temudjin, and his lack of joy in facing his opponent on a field of battle.

Then there's the battles. As any Ancient/Medieval war movie to be expected, it is bloody. My only annoyances in a puritanic-historian way were the suits of armor, which seemed not to be made of much metal as they would have been in Mongolian times.

Another minor thing that becomes a little excessive, and arguably rather like a recurring joke is shots of blood, showing them being spilled in thousands of thick drops rather than in fountains or bursts of liquid.

The final battle sequence manages to both utilize the Mongolian expertise in archery and cavalry and innovate with something both insanely risky and never before seen in Medieval battle depictions. Likely seen in the trailer, as Jamukha sends the bulk of his cavalry force at Temudjin's center, he unleashes a very small number of thickly armored cavalry, armed with double curves swords, which then rush through the enemy cavalry, using the swords to slash at the enemy's sides like Scythed Chariots.

The armored cavalry is a kamikaze force, as after brutalizing the enemy cavalry, Temudjin has his archers unleash a flood of arrows on the force, killing the cavalry on both sides down to a man.

Overall a great movie, which doesn't sacrifice the macro-story of Genghis Khan and his dream of a Mongol empire for the micro-story of Temudjin's love life. Of which I wrote virtually nothing about.
69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Do Not Scorn a Weak Cub..." Oct. 17 2008
By "Rocky Raccoon" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Recent Best Foreign Oscar Film nominee `Mongol' is an impressive epic. Telling the first installment of the life and times of Ghengis Khan, we get more than a history lesson, but a personal account of a fraternal feud for power. Filmed with breathtaking cinematography and a sound that should have garnered a separate nomination, the movie is a sweeping drama, complete with battles that make similar `300' scenes obvious digitalized formula.

Although the film goes ahead (mostly in chronological order) with several "One Year Later" and other useful captions, we lose ourselves in a story of one man's struggle for survival among his Khan and the love interests that shape, bind and beget tribal rivalries and aspirations. We follow the coming-of-age footsteps of Temujin (Tadanobu Asano) and his older rival Targutai (Amandu Mamadakov) who both strive for power and read the oracles of gods like Tengri, whom they beckon for help.

Some of the battles are Trojan-like in thrust. Temujin will spare no one for Borte (Khulan Chuluun), his lifelong love interest. Between his patient endurance and his love, Temujin becomes a leader who can match wills with any Mongol tribe. Going from tribal feuds to a far-reaching dynasty, the film chronicles the real human faces that made history happen.

Before becoming Khan, he must master the elements. Between the harshness of tundra to humiliation and hunger, the sharp edge of life known for bitterly cold winters, make or break the existence of people who rely on their armies, shelter, and horses to survive.

It cannot be emphasized enough how the lingering beauty of each frame is arresting enough to justify viewing this two hour and five minute film. Furthermore, the haunting audio accentuating tribal customs and battle scenes resonate with mesmerizing grandeur. Although being reserved is perhaps a cultural trait, I felt some of the scenes could have added a bit more zest to the acting, but much of the intensity is non-verbal and convincing indeed. Writer-director, Sergei Bodrov, deserves heaping praises for building such a tightly built drama and some truly exquisitely shot scenes.

Although released last year and up for 2007's Oscar jury, both the cinema and DVD releases came about this year, so it's not too late to hold 'Mongol' as one of the truly worthy epics and one of the best movies to come out all year.

A J.P.'s Pick 4.5*'s =Very Good-Exceptional HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Flick! Oct. 10 2008
By J. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
To say this movie is a historical documentary failure would be a shame. What it was to me was a film that was entertaining to watch, with an epic story that got you into the charactors. The cinematography was huge, with beautiful wide shots.
I went to the theater to see this flick not knowing much about it, and I looked at the audience from time to time, one gentlemen was on the edge of his seat! This movie was far better than any other movie about Khan that I've ever seen (including John Waynes). Nobody seems to care that other actors have played Ghenghis throughout the ages, which is to say that I don't know why people are upset a Japanese actor played the role. I thought he did an outstanding job.
I have recommended this film to friends, which typically I don't do and have'nt done in a long time.
I don't know if the DVD will have over-dubs, but the sub-titles were very easy to read in the theater.
I'm giving this movie 5 stars cause it's like an Asian version of Braveheart, which is'nt historically accurate but highly entertaining!
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Memorable Photography Highlights Story Of 'Temudjin' Jan. 15 2009
By Craig Connell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The most pleasing part of this film, I thought, was the excellent cinematography. Kudos to Roger Stoffers and Sergei Trofimov for an outstanding job photographing this movie, making the most bleak of landscapes look stunning many times and adding some wonderful closeup shots of objects and faces.

It's not a bad story, either, although not one that will keep you riveted to the screen for the full two hours. However, I wasn't bored, either, although some of the action scenes looked too repetitive with very hokey-looking special-effects concerning blood splashing out of people in the battle scenes. It did not look real, but as if it were drawn. It's ironic in that the production values seem to be so high with a such a nicely-filmed effort, yet the action scenes are staged like a B-movie.

In a nutshell, this is the story of how "Genghis Kahn," who is "Temudjin" throughout the movie, spent his tough early life and how he became the famous warrior. We just see how many hardships the man endured to become who he was later in life. He was never referred to as Genghis Kahn which, I learned hear, is a title more than a name. That must have come later, after he had control of all the Mongol armies, which is where the film ends.

Many times, it's a not a pleasant existence for "Temudjin," who was marked man from the age of nine. We see him spend many lonely hours held captive in different places. The looks on his face are memorable. Odnyam Odsuren ad the young "Temudjin" and Tadanobu Asano as the adult "Temudjin" both had extraordinarily photographic faces.

One of the few problems I had with the movie were understanding "the rest of the story" as certain scenes ended abruptly leaving me (and I assume other viewers) wondering "what happened?" His friends, though, were fun to watch and his bride was a beautiful, kind and strong woman, as pictured in this movie. Actually, I found this just as much of a love story as a war epic, and the romance angle was far more dramatic. The devotion the lead male and female had to each other, and the faithfulness and loyalty were inspiring, to say the least.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No subtitles or separate language tracks April 24 2008
By Nostromo - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Beware this has the original Mongolian language but it is overlayed with a Russian translation - not a separate language track but Russian on top of Mongolian. There is no ability to select separate language tracks. There are no subtitles; I had hoped for English. I believe the DVD is a Russian product. At the beginning there are an endless number of trailers for Russian movies and you cannot fast forward, skip, or go to main menu.
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