Antonio Banderas as Ahmed ibn Fadlan
Vladimir Kulich as Buliwyf
Short Story Summary: Thirteen warriors must go to a kingdom’s aid against an ancient evil.
Plot: (6.5/10) The plot is basically the same as “The Seven Samurai” and “The Magnificent Seven”. If you have seen either of those films, you know what is going to happen. This story has been used to death and it is getting a bit old. They did try to shake things up, by making the enemy mysterious, but it is not enough to break the feeling of déjà vu. The film also is kind of slow to start with, but it begins to speed up they start toward the village they are to defend. I guess if you are a fan of films like the “Seven Samurai” (like I am), you will enjoy the story. For everyone else it will be just a case of been there, done that.
Characters/Cast: (9/10) the cast is excellent. Yeah, it is that simple to summarize the people in this film. Everyone has great chemistry and interact well with each other. The characters are all distant and interesting, with “Buliwyf” being my favorite of the bunch. He is the definition of badass in this film and is just an all-around interesting person. The only problem I have is that the enemy leader was a wuss. He fell in the final battle in only three hits. I will talk about this later in the action section. Other than the leader, the rest of the enemies are really cool and make a fine change from the ordinary bandits we usually get from these kinds of films.
Action: (6.5/10) The action in this movie was okay. There was not that many fights and they had a few problems. The first major fight is set at night and is kind of hard to see. I realize that the reason they did this was to keep us it the dark (pun intended) about the nature of the enemy, but it made it difficult to see what was going on at times. Most of the other fights also where affected by this problem, except the last fight (which had its own problem.) The last fight was completely in slow-mo. I know ti was for dramatic effect, and I am all for using slow-mo for this effect if it is needed. The thing is , this was reaching the movie “300” level of assuredness in over use of slow-motion. The last fight was also very short, which may have been one of the reasons that it was slow down so much. My final problem I had was that the final “Boss” is, like I said before, a complete wuss. He is killed in three hits. This great evil, that is in command of hundreds of vicious “Creatures” , is killed in three hits. it just blew my mind when I saw this, I could not believe that they would kill him off this easily. The fights are also filled with a lot of blood and gore, which may not be a problem for some, but others may find it disturbing when limbs and blood start to fly.
Music: (9/10) Pretty standard fare and is what you would expect from this kind of film. They have a very nice and moody feel to them and really help to set the somber mood of the film.
Visuals: (7.5/10) The main problem with this film, in term of visuals, is that it is very dark. I know that they are trying to set a somber mood and ,like I said before, to make the villains more imposing, but it make the film hard to see. It is not as bad as some films I have seen, but it’s still pretty bad. Most of the sets are interesting though. At one point in the film, the heroes go into the enemies’ lair and it has a very cool look to it. The film has a few cases of slow motion being used, but I never saw any wires being used. This I was very glad to see after the last few films I saw over abusing wires.
Conclusion: This film is kind of hard to put a judgment call on. I guess I would give it a try, especially if you are a fan of films like “The Seven Samurai”.
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