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Overall Rating
3.4

Awesome: 17.95%
Worth A Look30.77%
Average30.77%
Pretty Bad: 14.53%
Total Crap: 5.98%

8 reviews, 69 user ratings


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13th Warrior, The
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by Erik Childress

"It's better than Medicine Man"
3 stars

The 13th Warrior (** ½) – Movies like The 13th Warrior are ones which I really enjoyed when I was a kid. Old-fashioned stories of sword-wielding and medieval adventures always sparked my imagination no matter how trivial the tale may be. 1999’s version of this type of movie was supposed to be 1998’s version, but due to a lot of in-fighting between great action director John McTiernan and so-so novelist Michael Crichton led to numerous production delays obviously turning what should have been an epic story into a 103-minute distraction. But not necessarily a totally bad distraction, for the 13th Warrior is anything but boring.

With all the bad press that’s preceded the final release of this film, I was expecting more McTiernan’s Medicine Man than Die Hard. But I started getting interested once the story started to reveal its main thread – which is the threat of some mysterious creatures terrorizing the countryside. The question behind their villainous nature was enough to hold my interest and I found myself enjoying it. My interest also perked up when I heard the name of the king as Hrothgar – which was the name of the king in the epic poem Beowulf, which was also about a medieval warrior hired to hunt down a animal-like creature known as Grendel. Unfortunately, this isn’t Beowulf although the story does borrow elements from it. There are some fascinating things to look at in this movie, including the foggy hills of the countryside and the attacking “eaters of the dead” creating what seems to be a fire trail in their approach to battle. All these little elements, coupled with some decent bloodletting always kept my eyes open. But the more you realize how condensed this screenplay is, the more one is left with a dry mouth. Each character is just as much a prop as the swords and costumes. The 13 warriors look like generic versions of the European terrorists in McTiernan’s Die Hard, and other than maybe 3 or 4 of them (tops), they aren’t very distinguishable. The action scenes would like to be Braveheart-esque, but don’t have the excitement nor the emotion of that masterstroke, and are often shot in such darkness that it’s hard to tell who’s fighting, making the undistinguished even more so. There are potentially great set pieces for battle sequences, but they aren’t fully realized. I liked the idea and the design of the cave where the enemies dwell, reminding me of one of my favorite childhood movies (and still love today), Dragonslayer. There was a film with a great and complete story, interesting characters, and terrific scary action.

The 13th Warrior doesn’t even live up to the fun of the original Conan the Barbarian, but the little kid in me still enjoyed the carnage and the swordplay and the sweeping Jerry Goldsmith score. It’s a shame that Michael Crichton couldn’t keep his paws off and insist on directing new scenes. Here was a film with a scope far beyond the reaches of a mediocre director like Crichton. McTiernan should have been allowed to take this material and run with it, because what he’s left with is no Dragonslayer, no Conan, not even Die Hard. But the film is still definitely no Medicine Man.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=729&reviewer=198
originally posted: 02/15/00 14:28:38
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User Comments

2/12/12 Tony Hogan Great Sword (without sorcery) movie 5 stars
8/08/09 Anthony Barker Maybe Andrew Howe should stick to watching The English Patient... This film was GREAT!!!!! 5 stars
9/21/08 PAUL SHORTT FEELS AS HOLLOW AS EMPTY ARMOR 1 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White Banderas at his best 5 stars
11/14/06 Munjal Attawala Not Bad 4 stars
10/06/06 Lance hollow...could have been much more 3 stars
2/03/06 Kankasaur Seeing "cow urine" smeared on Banderas' face was amusing, at least. 2 stars
8/17/05 ES 'That's a nice sword. When you die can I give it to my daughter?' 4 stars
8/27/04 Aaron Smith interesting storyline, different kind of scifi 3 stars
7/29/04 Yuma Bill Good elements, but thick layer of cheese. Lots of "hollywood moments" 3 stars
1/27/04 Amanda It was cool we read Beowulf in class so it was awesome to see the comparassion in the 2 4 stars
11/27/03 John a mess that propably was once a good movie (cut down and reshot in post production) 2 stars
11/19/03 Vincent Murdok A furlong Myth 5 stars
10/21/03 Alan Watched it until the end, hoping that something would redeem this insufferable tripe. Nope. 1 stars
10/08/03 george a. nicikowski i,ve watched it over 2 dozen times and i'm still entertained by it. 5 stars
8/05/03 Ishkabibble A great, underrated film. It only gets better with repeated viewings 5 stars
6/01/03 John Gratner Excellent Hero epic 5 stars
2/28/03 Mister Bigglesworth Crichton was dared to remake Beowolf exciting to his class. What movie DOESN'T Tatum like? 1 stars
2/28/03 Jack Sommersby Original, daring, and compulsively watchable. A welcome surprise. 4 stars
2/27/03 y2mckay Great movie, Storhøi rocks, Antonio good. One bitch - He learns language THAT quickly? 4 stars
2/24/03 R.W. Welch Medieval actioner with good period atmosphere but elementary plot line. 3 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum Dark and brooding and better than half the crap out there 5 stars
7/12/02 KMG Should have stayed with "Eaters of the Dead"...and another script 3 stars
6/22/02 Bart Interesting retelling of Beowulf, although a little slow 4 stars
4/29/02 Ryan And no one even mentions the early Germanic epic 'Beowulf' from which this is derived... 4 stars
10/16/01 MaMaFaC This movie fucking rocks 5 stars
10/10/01 jawsboy banderas was only ok, and the story and editing were so so. good action and costumes. 3 stars
8/20/01 Jan Doens't always have to be fuckin high tech 5 stars
8/19/01 Dr. Thompson Cool Vikings, and cool to see a movie that shows muslims as heros 4 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Antonio Banderas looks like such a pussy in this movie...I didn't buy one second of it. 1 stars
3/24/01 Soggy Bottom Boy Banderas not right for the part (since when does hispanic = arabic?); a few good visuals. 3 stars
2/23/01 Steve in Prague pretty good popcorn flick...what did you expect Citizen f'n Kane!?!??! 5 stars
12/10/00 Mitja Podgajski hmm.. pretty shitty story... but casting and scenes were great.. :) 3 stars
12/08/00 Girl 9 I've seen this movie done before...and I've seen it done better. 3 stars
11/24/00 Liat Kitten Lots of action Little Plot Ripoff of Beowulf 4 stars
9/22/00 Terrie Smith Great British Columbia locales; good acting from Kulich and Storhoi. 4 stars
6/24/00 Naushad Khanji Good location shots.Not that bad.Lacks epic sweep but entertaining. 4 stars
4/25/00 John Lyons Antonio Banderas did very well. Liked it better the second time I saw it. 4 stars
3/17/00 arnold beginning sucked but the battle scences rocked 4 stars
1/13/00 k.tomkowski I loved it. 5 stars
1/09/00 Hangman This shit is THE shit. 5 stars
12/17/99 Elan Davout Workman's craft from McTiernan/Chrichton's interference is palpable 3 stars
12/05/99 levon stasse WHAR MORE TO SAY BUT DONT WAIST YOUR DOE 1 stars
9/28/99 Ami the Wonderbread Beowulf revisited. This was a fun film, with a wealth of mythology behind it. 4 stars
9/28/99 the Grinch 2Proud2Beg Bueller, yer my hero. 4 stars
9/26/99 The Lynchpyn delivers the action --and plenty of it 3 stars
9/26/99 Costars Mindless, plotless, eye candy 2 stars
9/25/99 XenoWolf Itshouldhavebeenmoremysticaltheygooffonfiredragonshitwhenitwasabunchoffagsinbearsuits 3 stars
9/20/99 Weird Andy Despite the presence of Antonio Candeas, this flick is a yy chromosome delight. 4 stars
9/17/99 Kory Has alot of cool scenes but, overall, don't expect too much. 4 stars
9/14/99 Ratso Dude, they've got Bears riding Horses in this movie. What else do you want? 4 stars
9/13/99 mason hey , every year we gat a new big star with sword film . heres antonios . snore 2 stars
9/11/99 Travis Smith I only liked the bears riding horses 1 stars
9/10/99 Greg I thought it was pretty good (4 1/2 *) I thought it had some great moments. 4 stars
9/10/99 phypor pretty much agree with Grinch... but i liked the rushed intro (straight into the action) 4 stars
9/09/99 MAXOMENOS Magnificent movie, but what happened to the Prince? Made me want to read the novel. 4 stars
9/09/99 ladislau For Chet:It seems you have seen very few movies!Shame! 3 stars
9/08/99 Dax Okay if you've got nothing better to do, otherwise rent it in a few months. 3 stars
9/08/99 Fork For those that enjoy the idea of Vikings. Otherwise it's merely a short action movie. 4 stars
9/07/99 B.O.B. Kick-butt movie with some real history too. Sucky digital Viking Longboat though... 5 stars
9/06/99 Matthew Bartley Badly edited but you could see worse 3 stars
9/06/99 Chet This is the best movie I have ever seen in my life!!! 5 stars
9/05/99 tigerlette finally Beowulf-meritorious 4 stars
9/04/99 agustin it's no Conan or Braveheart what you get is 2 hrs of darkness while they fight 3 stars
9/04/99 whocares worst movie of the year 1 stars
9/03/99 ladislau Don't expect too much from Antonio. He was eaten by the dead! 3 stars
9/02/99 PhilmPhreak Multiple beheadings but no breasts. 3 stars
1/25/99 Dark Horizons Films made from books are never as good, no exception here. 2 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee Test screening good, but Disney have messed with it for 12 mth. Trailer looked toned down. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-Aug-1999 (R)
  DVD: 15-Jan-2002

UK
  03-Sep-1999 (15)

Australia
  02-Mar-1999 (MA)




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