13th Warrior

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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I guess I didn't expect much from this movie. I heard all the comparisons of a fantasy bad version of Braveheart and it really didn't make the biggest impression when it came out in the theaters. Frankly I was surprised, it wasn't bad at all. I won't get into the tedious plot summary, but most of it is defined in the first 20 minutes of the film. A moslem is exiled for his homeland, runs into some vikings and joins them in a quest to defend a town from some undefinable evil. Even though it has a mildly complex story, it doesn't get in the way of the movie. The twelve viking warriors are all great in their own way, but I could have used another half hour of character development I think. Sure my mind was making up all kinds of stories about the wars these guys fought but except for the excellent character entrance of the new king almost cutting a man in half, we don't get a lot of background. The basic story of the 13 warriors going after the eaters of the dead does quite well with some excellent battle scenes. This movie proves that slow motion shouldn't just be used for gunplay but swordplay as well. There is almost a tad of cheese as we get into a political battle between the town's leader's son and our heros, but that is snuffed quickly and greatly. My only real problem with this movie was Bandaras who frankly didn't do that great a job and seemed really out of place among the giant blonde vikings. I know that was sort of the point, but he still didn't feel right to me. The DVD has a pretty good Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a 16x9 enhanced 2.35 to 1 picture. There were no extras, but the movie wasn't good enough to really need any. Overall quite a good time, but certainly not one to put into the vault.