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.
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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
Loosely based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, "Beowulf", whose author is unknown. See more »
When Buliwyf (Vladimir Kulich) is seen using his double-handed longsword to kill the bodyguard of the "mother" in the caves, the sword is obviously a lot shorter than seen earlier for practical reasons. Had the sword been original length the killing of the bodyguard would not have worked as depicted. See more »
[after the first battle with the Wendol, Herger finds Ahmad, lying dazed on the floor]
Herger the Joyous:
Well, he didn't run!
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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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