A man, having fallen in love with the wrong woman, is sent by the sultan himself on a diplomatic mission to a distant land as an ambassador. Stopping at a Viking village port to restock on supplies, he finds himself unwittingly embroiled on a quest to banish a mysterious threat in a distant Viking land.
A ruthless mercenary renounces violence after learning his soul is bound for hell. When a young girl is kidnapped and her family slain by a sorcerer's murderous cult, he is forced to fight and seek his redemption slaying evil.
Michael J. Bassett
Max von Sydow,
In AD 922, Arab courtier Ahmad Ibn Fadlan accompanies a party of Vikings to the barbaric North. Ibn Fadlan is appalled by the Vikings customs-- their wanton sexuality, their disregard for cleanliness, their cold-blooded human sacrifices. And then he learns the horrifying truth: he has been enlisted to combat a terror that slaughters the Vikings and devours their flesh. Written by
One of the Viking ships used in the movie is now to be found in the Norwegian pavilion in the EPCOT-center, Walt Disney World, where it is used as a playground for kids. The Disney-company is also the owner of Touchstone Pictures that made the movie. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, Ibn is in love. He encounters a woman in a corridor, who is wearing a strange headscarf over the low part of her face. Not only is this clothing not opaque, which is forbidden to Muslim women wearing headscarfs, but it is a Yashmak, worn first by Turkish women around 1840. See more »
In the early years of the 10th century, an exiled Arabian nobleman falls in with a band of Vikings. Disgusted by their poor hygiene and their barbaric ways, he nevertheless reluctantly agrees to accompany them to a distant kingdom, where an unspeakable menace terrorizes the land.
This is an interesting interpretation of the tale of Beowulf, with the monster Grendel transformed into the fierce Wendol, a tribe of cannibalistic Neanderthals who have somehow survived long past their time. Despite the fact that Banderas is the title character and credited as the star, he is not the hero here at all. The band of 13 is led by the huge and intimidating Buliwyf (read Beowulf), a hero among his people who must battle both the Wendol and their deadly "mother." Alexander Gudonov lookalike Vladimir Kulich is the hero of this film, and delivers a strong, amazing performance. Banderas spends much of the film bumbling, stumbling, screwing up and trying to keep up with the Vikings, who look upon him with contempt but finally, perhaps grudgingly, accept him.
Okay, so it's not entirely historically accurate and suffers from production problems and an occasional overdose of testosterone, but it's not a bad movie by any means. The casting is great, with standout performances by the aforementioned Kulich as well as Dennis Storhoi as Herger, Banderas's translator and only friend; the handsome Scottish actor Tony Curran (in an unlikely kilt, but who cares?!?!) as the Celt Weath and the woefully underrated Richard Bremmer as the intimidating tattooed redheaded (and damn sexy!) Skeld. The film was worth watching for these three men alone, but then, I am female and perhaps a bit prejudiced in my opinions. These guys are HOT! But, I digress...
Beautiful scenery, tense and bloody battles and a claustrophobic climax in a bone strewn cave lift this movie well above average. There's something for everyone here; fans of horror, fans of action, fans of classic literature should all find something to enjoy about this film. It may not be the best film ever made, but its still one of my very favorites.
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