The Thirteenth Warrior

Dir: John McTiernan
Star: Antonio Banderas, Vladimir Kulich, Dennis Storh°i, Clive Russell

Renamed from the far more catchy Eaters of the Dead, this wasn't a much troubled production at all, dear me, no. The year-long delay was merely to avoid competing with the other Banderas sword-fight pic, Mask of Zorro. Honest! Hmmm... Whatever the truth, this looks like a typical Michael Crichton adaptation, with the depth removed and only the exciting bits retained. Banderas is a Muslim who ends up press-ganged alongside a dozen Vikings, fighting a horde of...things...which are terrorising a village. Lots of crunchy swordfights and inter-tribal bickering, and it's all terribly macho, women are kept firmly in their place -- round the camp fire. Save for the hero though, no-one else has any character to speak of; the other twelve warriors all look like Norwegian death metal fans on their way to a church burning. When you discover what the "things" are, it's somewhat disappointing, and you can't help thinking, "Is that it?". There are flashes of brilliance here, such as at the end, where the warriors read their own funeral rites. Unfortunately, these only serve to illuminate the darkness and show what might have been, and leave me surprisingly keen to read the book but not bother again with the film.


Thirteenth times the charm?
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