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
When Ibn Fahdlan (Banderas) and Melchisidek (Sharif) enters the tent at the beginning of the movie the latter speaks Greek which eventually leads to a conversation with the viking Herger (Storhoi). Melchisidek speaks Greek, and though Herger obviously understands Greek he responds in Latin which Melchisidek fortunately understands.
Though it is not stated why a Northman could understand both Latin and Greek as there were no official connection between Scandinavia and Byzantine in the 10th century, the logical assumption would be that Herger learned the languages due to him taking part in the viking raids/travels into modern day Russia (where the first scenes are filmed) and from there south into what was then the Byzantine Empire. The dominant language of the Byzantium realm was Greek with Latin as a second language. The vikings made at least one attempt at conquering the capital of the Byzantium Empire: Constantinople. See more »
When Herger takes Angus' head, Angus is facing Buliwyf and a waist-high rock, but when Herger walks away and Angus falls, Angus has turned 180 degrees and is facing away from Buliwyf and towards a much taller rock. See more »
Good enough for what it is, fascinating for what it could have been.
This is an extremely well crafted film, but a poorly edited one. Much like The Ghost and the Darkness it has such a winning historical concept that it is easy to forgive a little narrative incoherency from time to time. This film is a bit muddled when it comes to plot and characterization but hits all the right notes in terms of creating an adventurous spirit and thrilling action sequences. Jerry Goldsmith's score is a real high point, as is the cinematography. This is an absolutely wonderful film to get all caught up in on a lonely night because it makes you feel as if you are on the journey with Banderas' character. It is an action thriller that is actually...thrilling. In particular the scene with the "fire dragon" is one of the more memorable battle sequences I have seen in any movie, and I really mean that. The only negative aspects of the film are the feeling that a lot of scenes were left on the editing room floor, which is true, and if there was ever a film that really deserved a director's cut this is certainly one of them so long as Jerry Goldsmith's music (the soul of the picture) remains in. (Greame Revell composed a score for the unreleased longer version, which I have heard and in no way compares to Goldsmith's thunderous adventure music). The lavish costumes, set designs, memorable characters, and brilliant camera work somehow allow this film to overcome its editorial handicaps. All being said, this is a film well worth watching.
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