Fear Profits a Man Nothing
The 13th Warrior
Review by Ross Anthony

A strong B+, "The 13th Warrior" is a medieval adventure picture climaxing in the big good fight. Antonio plays an Arab poet/scholar banished from his homeland who bumps into a boatload of Viking-types from the North just as they decide to help out a village that is being massacred by an evil so bad, you can't even say its name. Well, unlucky again, Banderas gets strapped in as the 13th warrior of evil.

Once on the path to the village, Banderas listens keenly to the Northmen as they gruffly mock each other and especially him in their own language. Finally, Banderas defends himself (his mother actually) in their native tongue -- shocking them all into speaking English. (Well not really English, I mean it's supposed to be still Northmen-ese. But since we are more or less experiencing the adventure through the eyes and ears of Banderas, when he finally learns their language so then do we understand the words.) This turns out to be a rather clever way of avoiding subtitles, you feel that you've instead learned a foreign language and therefore need no translation.

Rather straight to the point, the film offers camaraderie, honor, and coarse field battles (not unlike "Braveheart") with great sound mixed into a fine score. The dark cinematography is pocked only at times by abrupt color changes that create bumpy seams between scenes. In fact, I felt a portion at the beginning of the film had been clipped out all together. Still a strong "B+" almost an "A-".

  • Starring Antonio Banderas, Vladimir Kulich, Dennis Storhoi, Daniel Southern, Neil Maffin.
  • Directed by John McTiernan. Written by William Wisher and Warrne Lewis.
  • Produced by John McTiernan, Michael Crichton, Ned Dowd at Touchstone.
  • Rated R.


Copyright © 1999 Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:22:11 PDT