The 13th Warrior
<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysAdapted from Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead (1976), and originally shot under that title by Die Hard director McTiernan, this bloody 10th century epic completed filming in 1997. However, expensive re-shoots supervised by writer/co-producer Crichton pushed back the release date and upped the budget from $60m to $100m. What's been salvaged? A surpisingly grim but painfully truncated action picture, featuring three extraordinary battle sequences separated by yards of sword and sorcery tosh, some dodgy dialogue and a lot of ill-judged humour. A soothsayer declares that 12 Norsemen must return home to tackle a monstrous evil that's consuming everything in its path. But they must take with them a 13th warrior, one who's not from the North. Intrigued by tales of a 'fire snake', exiled Arab emissary Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan (Banderas), a cultured scholar, reluctantly throws in his lot with these hairy-arsed, hard-drinking Nordic types. They face huge, bear-like creatures that emerge from the night to slash and maul and carry off their victims' remains. Some breathtaking wide screen images linger in the mind. At its best, this achieves the beauty and grandeur of a Kurosawa epic - at its worst, however, it feels like a Python remake of The Vikings.