The 13th Warrior

Review Date:
Director: John McTiernan
Writer: William Wisher Jr.
Producers: M. Crichton, J. McTiernan, N. Dowd
Antonio Banderas
Omar Sharif
An exiled Arab is chosen to be the 13th warrior in a pack selected to defend a king’s homeland against the legendary half-man/half-bear predators from the mist. The man is reluctant at first, but slowly acclimatizes himself to the group and acquires the aptitudes of a true warrior.
This movie starts off real slow and boring, has way too many scenes hidden by darkness, way too many lines lost due to badly spoken dialogue, but does offer a few invigorating sequences of violent battle and a couple of gory scenes as well. If you are expecting another epic classic a la BRAVEHEART, you may as well save your money right now, and rent a quick & easy pornos instead. But if you don’t mind a rinky-dink story and enjoy seeing Viking-like men kick bear ass, this film might be of healthier interest to you. I thought the second half of the film was much more enjoyable than the first, but could not help but feel like there could have been so much more. For one thing, it would have been nice to SEE many more of the battle sequences, most of which were unfortunately masked by the darkness and lost to my weak eyes. It also would have been nice to toss some speech therapists the way of Antonio Banderas and the mighty Nordic men who all seemed to be mumbling their incoherent lines through the entire gig.

On top of that, this is not necessarily a picture that needs to be seen on the big screen. In fact, you may want to check it out on a lonely video evening sometime next year, when the bad blood behind the making of the film has all but dissipated. It may just go down better at that point. I also think this film would have benefited from a name change. Forget THE 13TH WARRIOR, which centres around the Banderas character, who to me, seemed little more than a whiny beeyatch. How about the original novel title of “Eaters of the Dead”!? Yeah, now there’s a cool title! And those crazy man-bears sure were creepy enough to merit that designation. Which reminds me of a film that came out earlier this year, a cannibal tale it was, which entertained me so much more than this sub-par offering. It was called RAVENOUS (8/10) and supplied plenty of narrative, action and cannibalism to whet anybody’s bloody appetite. Now there’s a movie to see! This one, well, see it if you like films which start off slow, have plenty of scenes in the dark, a few good battle sequences and incomprehensible men talking bunk. Otherwise, stick to the cooler cannibal tale of 1999 and check out RAVENOUS!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

The 13th Warrior