The 13th Warrior (1999) / Adventure-Action
MPAA Rated: R for bloody battles and carnage
Running Time: 102 min.
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Diane Venora, Dennis Storhoi, Vladimir Kulich, Omar Sharif
Director: John McTiernan
Screenplay: William Wisher Jr., Warren Lewis (Based on the nove, "The Eaters of the Dead", by Michael Crichton)
Review published August 29, 1999
In 922 AD, an Arab ambassador is chosen to accompany a band of roguish Vikings up through Northern Europe where they encounter a cult of man-beasts who not only vastly outnumber them, but appear to have powers above mere mortal men.
Based on Michael Crichton's 1976 novel, "THE EATERS OF THE DEAD," which in turn was inspired by the classic epic story of Beowulf, THE 13TH WARRIOR feels like a grand scale epic that was gutted to the barebones of the narrative form. One gets the impression from the rushed opening scenes that many more scenes were supposed to be in there that were taken out, and the way the film was buried in theaters upon release leaves the feeling that the promoters felt they had a stinker on their hands. They shouldn't have, as the film is always on the verge of becoming great, that with a bit more character development and time invested in the story could have taken it to the next level.
What we're left with is a workable but regrettably seriously flawed adventure that always seems to promise for thrills than it can deliver. We can only hope that one day they release the full cut of the film to properly see if those missing scenes will turn this mediocrity into the quality film it seems to be.
©1999 Vince Leo