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A cultured diplomat joins a band of savage warriors in time to meet an even more fearsome enemy in this historical adventure. In 922 A.D., Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) is a Muslim emissary from Baghdad en route to meet with the King of Saqaliba when he is captured by a gang of Vikings. While Ibn and his people are intelligent and well-mannered, the Vikings are a rowdy and sometimes unpleasant lot, with an unquenchable appetite for food, alcohol, and women. However, in time he develops an understanding and respect for the ...

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Stanley L

Feb 18, 2011

Ibn Fadlan Meets Beowulf

Crighton's "hook" into "The 13th Warrior" and the novel on which it is based is stone brilliant: he uses the historical figure of Ahmad ibn Fadlan (Banderas), Persian traveler and diplomat as his point-of-view character, thus giving the tale a strong verisimilitude. Many of Ibn Fadlan's observations about the Vikings -- such their sanitary habits, the ship burial of the chieftain, and others -- form the basis for some of the most memorable scenes in the film. Banderas begins as a reluctant member of the expedition to cleanse Heorot from man-eating monsters, but eventually finds his own way to become a warrior without abandoning his culture; hence, his character arc is highly satisfying. The prelude to the climactic battle, the battle itself, and the aftermath may well be the best part of the movie. I rate this film four boxes of popcorn and two horns of mead.


Jan 18, 2009

Diamond In The Rough

Perhaps 4 stars is based on my admitted bias towards anything Nordic, but this movie adaptation of Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead is a good way to spend 2 hours. The cast is almost unknown, except for Banderas, which is a good thing, since even though he detracts from the feel of the movie with his accent, the story itself is memorable and interesting.

Worth the time.

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