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Overall Rating

Awesome: 35.29%
Worth A Look38.24%
Average: 9.56%
Pretty Bad: 11.76%
Total Crap: 5.15%

8 reviews, 88 user ratings

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by Collin Souter

"Written and Directed by Mel Gibson...of South Park fame"
4 stars

This will not be a review of Mel Gibsonís personal problems or how he dealt with them. This is a review of his latest movie and nothing more. I have already heard from several people that they will skip Gibsonís movie, because of his drunk driving incident last July. Thatís fair enough and a good statement to make. For those of you who will leave that at the door, who wonít be taking that stance and who want to see the movie based solely on its content, I can say youíre in for a treat. I am guessing, however, that youíll be outnumbered and Gibson will have proven wrong the old adage that thereís no such thing as bad publicity. I would never think to try and defend Mel for his actions that led him to this situation, but I can certainly defend this film.

For my money, itís a damn good time at the movies. Itís fast, relentless, artful and daring. It has a storyline that has been told over a dozen times in horror movies and thrillers, with slight variations. It has no pretense about it other than wanting to thrill the hell out of you, which it likely will. It seems to be a splitting of the difference between two of Melís most popular movies. With Apocalypto, he has taken the action of Braveheart and combined it with the intensity and savagery of The Passion of the Christ. The camera doesnít shy away from the violence and the action is beautifully staged.

The story goes like this: A peaceful tribe gets invaded by a brutal Mayan tribe who chain the men up and take them captive in order to appease a God, whom they feel needs human sacrifices in order for their culture to maintain prosperity. One of the captives, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), manages to escape this fate. He runs. They chase him (even though they donít need him for anything). Meanwhile, Jaguar Pawís pregnant wife hides with her son in an underground cave, unsure of how to get out if she should have to, you know, give birth.

But back to Jaguar Paw and the other Mayans. For the second half, Apocalypto pits one man against eight in a fight for survival. More than anything, itís a chase film with elements of horror. Jaguar Paw starts out as the victim, but eventually becomes the killer. As weíve seen in many revenge films, the chasers become fearful of the capabilities of their prey. After incidents involving panthers, waterfalls and tiny little darts, they have every reason to turn around and just go home. But what fun would that be for us?

The brutal nature of this film should really be underscored. The Mayan execution sequence is a triumph not only in design, but in the depiction of a merciless hell on earth. The innocent men are brought up to a tower high above a large mass of spectators, who cheer as severed heads roll all the way down the long stairway. The headless corpses eventually follow and are stacked like bags of moss. This cruel world has been brought to vivid life in such a way that we not only flinch and wince at the thought of such a thing existing, but weíre kept in total suspense as there seems to be no way out of it., other than maybe the viewer getting up to walk out, which some might.

When I walked out of Apocalypto, I thought I had seen Gibsonís finest directorial effort yet. Days later, though, I realized that it may have been a knee-jerk reaction. The film moves at such a brisk pace, you donít really have time to think about such leaps of logic, such as how the underground cave can fill up with water so fast from one simple rainfall. We also donít learn much about these cultures other than the practical jokes they might play on each other, a story around a campfire or the odd mating ritual. The storyline seems interchangeable, as this could easily have been a fourth Mad Max film.

But what Apocalypto lacks in food for thought, it more than makes up for in thrills and intensity. This film seems to come not from the mind of Hollywood Mel Gibson, but of the one we saw on South Park. He seems to revel in this brutality and upping the ante each time. Itís almost infectious, even though we know he wants us to make a connection on the spiritual themes between this and Passion of the Christ. Gibson still ponders what spiritual force turns men into monsters, only here we just sit and hope the monster doesnít catch up to its prey. Itís one hell of a chase all the way through. Take it or leave it. Iíll take it.

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originally posted: 12/08/06 16:28:40
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2006 Fantastic Fest series, click here.

User Comments

8/05/14 sara ausome movie 5 stars
10/06/11 TC Lol its not history. there is no historical account of a man named jaguar paw 5 stars
5/16/11 sam bonner apoalypto is an amazing, one of a kind movie and no honest person could deny it 5 stars
8/23/10 Stephen O'Donnell This film is an epic in every respect. The Academy is disgraced!!! 5 stars
8/04/09 Steve Hock Great movie! Great Kukulkan! 5 stars
9/05/08 Bob Uninspiring. The chase scene is well done, however a bit overkill timewise. 3 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 4 stars
6/04/08 ASH I thought this movie was excellent 5 stars
5/13/08 Dion Kay Get educated & lrn d history! This is NOT fiction or Star Wars, this IS HISTORY, u idiots! 5 stars
4/19/08 Karrie Millheim An amazing movie, i liked learning more about the Mayans 5 stars
3/08/08 Pamela White gripping story, filming, location and acting makes you forget subtitles 5 stars
2/12/08 Lorenzo Electrifying. A veritable masterpiece. 5 stars
12/17/07 gibson' alter ego got it too. a nutcase making crap & butchering history for his friend Mr jesus. hallelujah 1 stars
11/29/07 Dee "I got it", if you believe in Christ, (and I do) you are thankful he is your God. 5 stars
10/30/07 Double M I kept wondering what the point is till the 'end'. should've known better(signs). Tyvm, Mel 1 stars
10/16/07 beau a very upbeat movie, well made on a low budget, actors took good direction from mel 4 stars
8/18/07 Jubei A well filmed movie with very little research on Mayan culture.Entertaining. 3 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Brutal violence, endless chase. Really tough to watch. 2 stars
8/09/07 EZ $$ Great movie a little strange but still great 4 stars
7/29/07 Charles Tatum Solid, but not nearly the gorefest you are led to believe 4 stars
7/18/07 Indrid Cold Skillfully made, but about as deep as a frisbee. 3 stars
7/11/07 TreeTiger Excellent movie ... Braveheart in the Jungle. 5 stars
7/07/07 adam review the movie, not the director. you seem to have trouble with that (see:transformers) 5 stars
7/05/07 Piz Great Cinematic Adventure, a little gratuity but a great central character to root for 4 stars
6/19/07 sam bonner much better than people were expecting. A violent view of a lost world. 5 stars
6/16/07 mr.mike much better than expected 4 stars
6/06/07 tracey chambers beautiful movie. very violent but still a great movie 5 stars
6/03/07 fools♫gold People who charted the stars had no sanitation? I dunno... 5 stars
6/01/07 the wizz don't eat before watching. quite gory and intense. good movie 4 stars
5/14/07 matt Very enjoyable but not very deep. Hugely violent so basic Gibson fare 4 stars
5/09/07 Cindy awesome 5 stars
3/18/07 Alice Good work mel ! Great actors, visually perfect. 5 stars
2/24/07 Regina George didn't really survive the school bus accident Drags at first, then suspense mushrooms, then overkill at end. 4 stars
2/22/07 Beau extremely compelling, cant stop thinking about it!!! 4 stars
1/31/07 cherrian eecen an empty cinema at 9pm on Tuesday cheap night. A wonderful feeling of disquiet as I left 5 stars
1/25/07 tony L THE BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!! Action Packed! Symbolic. 5 stars
1/17/07 subba Daring and bold direction from Mel and a worth watch on big screen. 4 stars
1/15/07 Sumixam Fantastic movie - Very enjoyable 5 stars
1/09/07 MP Bartley Bold and vivid, if just more of Gibson's obsession with naked men being tortured. 4 stars
1/09/07 daveyt A touch predictable plot-wise with gratuitous gore decent movie none the less 4 stars
1/04/07 DINA unexpected plot, but worth of seeing... 4 stars
1/01/07 norman grant it's about the humility each civilization should have of itself. 4 stars
12/28/06 Agent Sands Though I don't stand for the animal violence, it's directed with intense realism. 3 stars
12/27/06 Jim Accomplishes the rare trick of making the Spanish conquistadors seem maybe not so bad. 4 stars
12/27/06 Mauro the best! 5 stars
12/27/06 Brian Great Movie, its harsh critics are exposed as narrowed by their bias. 5 stars
12/26/06 Man out 6 bucks Eye candy, pointless story. A Mexican 1st Blood Pt. 1. Jaguar Paw is Mayan illiterate. 3 stars
12/26/06 John M. Best movie I saw so far this year (which is over now). Go see it!! 5 stars
12/22/06 Joe Historically flawed, but a superb action film and bold cinematic experiment. 5 stars
12/19/06 Sam as much as I didn't want to like this movie it won me over 4 stars
12/18/06 Criddic2 Nicely photographed, exciting and entertaining. 4 stars
12/18/06 Barry I gave it a C minus until the Christians came to save the day. Final grade: D+ 1 stars
12/17/06 Dave Good film, great action, good acting. Gibson does it again! 5 stars
12/16/06 Sylvia True story. Loved it! 5 stars
12/16/06 Quigley Not as gory as people say, but still pretty gruesome. Mel's direction is good. Wait for DVD 3 stars
12/16/06 Brian Mckay Last of the Mohicans - without Whitey. Watchable, but not much of a story. 3 stars
12/15/06 Ole Man Bourbon Bad film, ridiculously great movie. Lots to digest from this product of Mad Mel 5 stars
12/15/06 Roger Ebert If you guys keep reading shit like this, you will smell of shit..Mel Gibson sucks 5 stars
12/15/06 shaun lawton Narrowminded, simplistic, thoroughly UNoriginal, give it up Mel 2 stars
12/15/06 christina whatever,he displayed the mayans pretty accurately,and they were violent.still some errors. 5 stars
12/15/06 orpy mixture of Predator & Last of the Mohicans! Laughable! 2 stars
12/14/06 Dave C Good Movie - more gore in the first five min of Private Ryan than in the whole movie. 5 stars
12/14/06 La Mancha Those who don't like it are hystrical wusses. Loved it! 5 stars
12/14/06 Jeremy best movie of 2006 5 stars
12/13/06 excitement lover mel gibsond rules!!!!! apocalypto the way to go!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/13/06 jdean62 Not a Gibson fan !! However I was surprised i loved the movie... 4 stars
12/12/06 Ray Lanthier pathology + lotsamoney + racism+ historical inaccuracies = Apocalypto 1 stars
12/12/06 john D dumb movie but pretty. Would bo ignored if it wasn't for Gibson 1 stars
12/12/06 Tiffany awesome movie!! 5 stars
12/12/06 Timothy Wilken Important Film for all adults. Much to think about. Masterpiece!!! 5 stars
12/11/06 Luisa great movie, great actors...unforgettable 5 stars
12/11/06 margo this movie kicks ass 5 stars
12/11/06 Chuck Banner More like ridiculoso. Another history from Mel based on heresay. 1 stars
12/11/06 John Eaglehawk great film.. Gibson puts it all on the line. tells it like it was.. 5 stars
12/11/06 steph Best movie i seen in jaguarpaw 5 stars
12/11/06 lee Better than most action flicks out today!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/11/06 Nighy Another cinematic masterbation by Mel Gibson- pathetic. 1 stars
12/11/06 Kimberly Lynn Cole FANTASTIC film, visually purely stunning 5 stars
12/11/06 scotty great movie. is not as gory as a lot of reviewers have made it out to be 5 stars
12/11/06 Rob Adcox Outstanding film -and #1 at the box office! 5 stars
12/11/06 ahnold Engaging good vs evil story. Almost 2 much gore/sadism. Worth 1 look. 4 stars
12/10/06 Carl Chappell It's very fast. But I thought they ate the corpses? 4 stars
12/10/06 Craig Best movie of the year. "Anti-immigration" propaganda my ass. 5 stars
12/10/06 scott the best and worst of humanity captured in an amazing film. 5 stars
12/10/06 adam g b kyklux tempus, a hollow experiance! faith , no? 4 stars
12/10/06 ed christensen surprisingly excellent. oscar worthy, but given gibson's recent indiscretion, no chance. 5 stars
12/09/06 action movie fan spectacular, stunning brethtaking the naked prey the fugirive--a modern action film set in 5 stars
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  08-Dec-2006 (R)
  DVD: 22-May-2007



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