The 13th Warrior (1999)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/26/00
Director: John McTiernan
Written by: Michael Crichton
Music: Jerry Goldsmith
Cast: Antonio Banderas

Hmmm... I'm not sure what to make of this barbaric period piece action film. On the one hand, it's gorgeously filmed, well acted, and well directed. On the other hand, it's kind of slow, bland, and not all that interesting. Antonio Banderas is an Arab who is banished from his homeland to become an ambassador to the northern tribes. He falls in with a group of Norsemen and gets caught up in a war between them and a strange tribe of barbarians known as the "eaters of the dead." Banderas must find strength and courage, and overcome his fear in order to become a warrior himself, and fight beside his newfound friends against a common foe. As stated before, the film is beautiful and the sets are breathtaking. All of the Norsemen are well cast, the characters are likable, and everyone fights well. So why didn't I like it more? It's very watchable, but decidedly slow. It also tries too hard to be a horror film, and its attempts to throw a sci-fi or supernatural spin onto itself kept falling flat. Perhaps it would have been more enjoyable if the action had been cranked up a bit higher.