Ain't It Cool News (


Hey folks.... Harry here.

You know, some movies are just 2 hours and some movies are a lifetime. What John McTiernan and Michael Crichton did in making THE 13TH WARRIOR is to give you 2 hours.

I feel they succeed.

It seems critics are ravaging the film. Tearing it from limb to limb, but I can not in good conscience do that. Now I will not say this is a perfect film or that it came anywhere near flawless filmmaking.

It didn’t.

Those ugly nighttime shots where the sky is this hidieous blue and it looks like crap in a semi-NTSC video haze.... UGH! Surely someone in the world told McTiernan that that sequence in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER where the Red October is going up the Potomac (I think that’s the river) was hidieously ugly. I hate that fake blue.

And during those scenes I just cringed and bit my pinky fingernail to that lighter pink area. Ugh.

I couldn’t help but think that in all the time this film sat on a shelf, somebody didn’t tell them.... Hey... Let’s have POP do a really beautiful night sky with a billion specks of stars gleaming behind them. WHY HAVE IT LOOK LIKE BLUE CARDSTOCK?


Or... Why go with a predominantly Muslim themed score by Goldsmith? This film SCREAMED to be scored by Poledouris and those battles needed to have an EPIC feel to them. Instead the music made them... little.

Lastly... Man.... I wish we had seen more interaction amongst the 13. I feel as if I barely knew the men who died. In THE MAGNIFICIENT SEVEN.... we know all the guys. We know what drives them, what makes them fight just so they can have a place to live. Of course... with 13 such characters... I can understand the anemia of character development amongst the whole.

Oh... and one other nitpick. The fight scenes. My god... Pull your friggin camera back... Let’s see what is happening in there. To me.... it felt as if the entirety of the action was shot through medium to close-ups.... very few mastershots. Nothing to give you any real sense of scale to the battles.

Now... I know. From the look of this review I’m trashing it. But... nothing could be farther from the truth. I hold this genre to a very high ideal. I want films as good as say... Richard Fleischer’s THE VIKINGS..... or EL CID.

I am still waiting on an epic sword film to give me the etheral feeling of a Frazetta painting. That raw intensity and emotion. The sense of power and motion.

So... Right now, I’m in a holding pattern. The next film I must hope to nail it dead on is Luc Besson’s JOAN OF ARC. Then after that I guess I must hope upon Ridley Scott’s THE GLADIATOR. And still.... after that I must pray that Peter Jackson flawlessly delivers THE LORD OF THE RINGS. But ya know....

This movie kills the time. It isn’t a great film in the genre. Some may even argue that it’s not even a good one. But I will argue right back atcha.

I am a Six Foot Tall, 318 pound, long red-haired, burly bearded fella that somewhere in the back of his head fantasizes about cleaving people and monsters in half with a great double-bladed axe whilst riding upon a great steed pumping a chiminey’s worth of smoke from it’s nostrils while cascades of crimson gore part ways.

I spent years of my life working at a Rennasaince Fair in costume and in character for weekends at a time. Bladed weapon upon my hip and an accent every bit as dull.

I love bloody hack and dice action films. And this one isn’t quite as glorious as THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER.... and nowhere near the hallmarks of CONAN THE BARBARIAN and EXCALIBUR. It’s not quite at the LADYHAWKE or FLESH & BONE level either. But.... It doesn’t suck.

There are segments where the movie nails it. Where I can feel that early man bonding thing happening and I want to get in there and sink my bladed weapon till I hear the cracking and breaking of bone and sinew.

There are points where, as cornball as it may sound, I shed tears of pride at that Viking Prayer moment..... You’ll know the one.

I love the fact that other than Omar Shariff and Antonio Banderas.... I don’t know ANY of these big mofos. All I know is.... They kick ass!

This is the sort of film, that had it had a score of IMMENSE POWER.... I would have forgave every single flaw I have mentioned. As it is, I forgave many of them simply because.... for the moments that it does work.... I am all smiles.

This is a two hour movie. For the two hours I watched I was happy and glad to be in the place and time that I was in. However... This isn’t EL CID or EXCALIBUR.... movies that I take with me and love all the days I walk and breathe.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus