The Thirteenth Warrior (1999)

THE THIRTEENTH WARRIOR puts up a good fight, I'm entirely surprised 
to report.  The long-on-the-shelf (since last summer!) Michael Crich-
ton adaptation-- from his novel "Eaters of the Dead"-- is a long, 
loud, dirt-caked, sweat-soaked, gets-medieval-on-your-ass, muddy, 
bloody, violent, and then more-violent sword 'n' shield-er about an 
Arab poet-turned-ambassador (Antonio Banderas) who is volunteered to 
join a band of no-nonsense Norsemen to fight a "mysterious enemy" to 
the north.  (The resulting B-worthy plot involves such shopworn stan-
dards as a remote outpost with little or no defenses, a surprise at-
tack deep within the enemy's lair, and a couple against-all-impossi-
ble-odds-battles.)  Taken just seriously enough-- please refrain from 
yelling "bring out your dead!"-- there's lots to like here, from Ban-
deras' no-name co-stars to the staggering, hundreds o' extras physi-
cal production.  (Think BRAVEHEART crossed with, say, CLAN OF THE 
CAVE BEAR.)  Some well-staged woodland stalking and a few hundred hu-
man skulls also bring back pleasant PREDATOR memories, director John 
McTiernan's Schwarzenegger starring sophomore effort.  (He's better-
known for DIE HARD as well as this summer's THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR.)
Eh, it's probably not so hot as a date movie, but for two hours of 
straight-faced swordplay, one could do worse...  With Vladimir Ku-
lich, Dennis Storhoi, Diane Venora, and, for a few slow scenes at the 
start, Omar Sharif.  The screenplay is credited to Warren Lewis and 
TERMINATOR contributor William Wisher.  (Rated "R"/107 min.)

Grade: B

Copyright 1999 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: See a Viking Funeral!

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