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60 out of 86 people found the following review useful:

Cheesy and miscast

3/10
Author: Paolo B from England
16 June 2007

What is that blue eyed surfer doing playing Marco Polo ? Simple, another Hollywood cheap production directed by budget director Kevin Connor. The actor playing Polo is badly miscast (he looks like Alice Silverstone brother), he's devoid of any appeal and subtlety, Brian Denneny is just laughable has a Chinese ruler. Connor's poor direction doesn't help, set pieces are uninteresting, acting is generally poor and the whole thing is uneventful and lacks passion. Music is by numbers and boring too. If you want to watch the best Marco Polo film available then I recommend you watch Giuliano Montaldo's version starring Ken Marshall, a RAI/BBC production with a great score by legend Ennio Morricone.

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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

What a waste of Production Values

Author: intelearts from the big screen
12 September 2007

This looks wonderful - great costuming and locations - really impressive.

But all horribly let down by terrible acting, script, and above all, direction.

The filming looks so "made for TV" both in angles, lighting, but above all in tones: just some filters, and better use of film would have made a huge difference.

Historically accurate, this could have been really great: it really looks expensive and expansive; but it is living proof that nothing can cover poor acting.

Left me neither wanting more, or expecting less, I cannot recommend this for schools, or homes -- it just is so uninspiring -- and that is unforgivable given the material and the locations.

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20 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Waste of time

3/10
Author: diddy-11 from Sweden
15 October 2007

Don't you just love the fact that everybody, and I mean everybody speaks English in this movie. Regardless if they're Italian merchants, afghan doctors, poor Mongol peasants, Mongol nobles or even Persian warriors. At first the actors at least speak with an accent. But further into the movie the actors forget to add the accent. I thought that the first problem an Italian guy would have when he arrives in 13th century China is to communicate, but not in this movie. The makers of the movie doesn't even pretend that there are difficulties in communicating, which is common in other movies, even if they both speak English.

To add to the credibility of this movie the roll of Kublai Khan is played by Brian Dennehy. Don't get me wrong, I like Brian Dennehy as an actor. But he hardly looks like a Khan of the Mongol Empire. The makers of the movie, again, doesn't seem to care. At least his character gets old. Which is not something you could say about Marco Polo, played by Ian Somerhalder. The only difference in his appearance is when he's in the prison in Genoa. And the difference? You guessed it! They add more beard to his face.

Overall a very bad movie. It's not worth wasting your time on.

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Yes, cheesy and predictable

4/10
Author: f_rocha from Brazil
7 October 2007

It obviously isn't a historical movie, nor a movie that should be taken as "educational" material either. It's just a plain fiction on Marco Polo, a very free adaptation of his travels, the four points are for locations and sightings. Yes, the acting is really bad, some characters era annoyingly out of character, (sorry for the repetition). Though, I think the costume and production is very good, alas, the script is not. Even though, if you want to see a cheesy history of a guy that can make his way into a society by accepting the system in a supposedly "rebel" way, definitely, you'd like to see this one, it's message is simple "obedience pays".

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Dennehy is a Mongol - yeah right!

6/10
Author: pwhite60-1 from Australia
15 December 2007

What hope is there when even the films buyer/screener doesn't know the plot as the Plot Summary indicates - "Marco Polo is abandoned in the mountains when the priests, doubting the very existence of China, turn back. Polo eventually pushes bravely forth alone toward the fabled count - Written by Hallmark Channel". It seems they didn't even bother to watch the first 10-15 minutes to know that his father and uncle still accompanied him after the two priests (possibly the worst actors in the whole show) turned back.

Like others I agree the script, acting and casting was pretty atrocious for the European and 'name stars' and were mismatched to the possibly great movie that could have been if the production locations and costuming were better matched. I thought the era of trying to pass off Europeans (Dennehy) as Orientals had ceased and it was obvious the Asian actors were far better than the so called stars. At least back in the 50's and 60's all the actors and extras looked fake when playing foreigners of a different race. It is even more glaring when they are used alongside far better actors of genuine racial type.

However it did improve a lot after the first 30 minutes which had nearly made me switch it off.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A missed opportunity

Author: artwk from Australia
15 December 2007

Given the fact that the makers had access to plenty of money, good costuming, and even to the locations (or convincing computer-generated substitutes), this could have been a very good historical movie.

Alas,the derogatory comments on this site regarding script, acting, and casting are perfectly valid. Who on earth cast Brian Dennehy as an oriental? There are established oriental actors who look the part — John Lone would be an obvious choice.

The real Marco Polo could speak Italian and French, and on his way to meet Kublai Khan may well have learned Turki, the language Kublai sometimes used in his written communications. But the ridiculous scene where they meet bears not the slightest resemblance to Marco Polo's real-life account, in which the great ruler was the soul of courtesy. Dennehy's grumpiness was pure fiction, like so much else in this tedious production.

The question that begs to be asked is: if one wants to make a historical epic, why present bad fiction instead of interesting fact?

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Decidedly Average

5/10
Author: (okky@xtra.co.nz) from New Zealand
27 March 2008

I rented this movie as I love history. I had not heard of this made for TV movie and so based on past experience (ie when movies have no reviews or decent advertising campaigns or they go straight to DVD)I did not hold out much hope for it.

Unfortunately I was proved right. Whilst I give full marks to the wonderful settings and locations which were extremely good the acting was poor with no apparent eye to detail. It seemed the movie was rushed and what started out as a potentially good premise soon had me cringing. I battled through because I wanted to know more about the adventures of Polo. I have since looked him up on Wikipedia so something positive came out of it :) The person responsible for casting Dennehy as Khan needs to be fired.I thought Khan was from Mongolia and was oriental? It was laughable. Also ethnic Chinese who speak fluent English with an American accent just doesn't cut it. This doesn't make sense when other Chinese characters in the movie spoke speak Mandarine/Cantonese with no sub titles.

I am assuming their were liberal interpretations of the truth as to historical accuracy but then most supposedly true stories do this as well so I don't have any issues there.

Had so much potential but sadly let down. I guess the production ran out of money.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Out of 1.5+ Billion Chinese in the World Kublai Khan is portrayed

3/10
Author: darrell9 from United States
10 August 2010

by Brian Dennehy? You've got to be kidding me... Worst casting than the actor that played Charlie Chan... Don't get me wrong, I think Brian is a great actor, just the wrong guy for this movie.

As others have said, beautiful locations, costuming, good camera work... The casting was about the worst ever. Is then no Chinese or even an Asian actor that could not have been cast for Khan?

BD Wong was okay for his part.

I wished they'd show more of the culture, the food, the dance, music the art. It would be a lot cheaper to produce than big war scenes. Marco's lady is beguiling and more of a romance developed would certainly have been an improvement to the movie as well.

As a Chinese American I was hoping to see more historically interesting facts, weaponry, food, scenery, art and culture. Oh well...

Such as shameful waste...

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Brian Dennehy as Kublai Khan, and movie made by committee

3/10
Author: sanduku from Australia
16 December 2007

I'm amazed-- did Dennehy never see or hear of "The Conqueror", starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan? Dennehy never get the belly laughs that John Wayne elicited, but-- why Brian, after such a stellar career???? The rest of the movie seems more than anything else a movie made by committee. My guess: somebody had a really brilliant idea, came up with a great story line, secured some of the greatest filming locations on Earth, and the future was very bright. Then one by one, people in the production process kept altering the plot, putting in formulaic details that were successful in other movies but inappropriate or laughable in this production (the martial arts fighting scenes come to mind), hiring on actors who were not at all fit for the parts, and the end result was this production that nobody actually owns or would really wish to own. It has so many great ingredients, but the movie should be a cautionary tale of just how bad of production can come from such great raw material. My condolences to all involved.

(having had a couple of days to think over the post): I don't want to be too hard on the actors in this production. Hollywood is filled with world-class talented actors who will find themselves acting in just about anything to keep working. All the lead actors in this production have shown phenomenal performances in other roles, and likely would have done wonderful things here if allowed. This movie is such a turkey because it's so badly produced and directed (and, yes, acted), and everyone in the production process can probably point out reasons why they personally were not responsible for the parts that suck. I really do offer my condolences to the cast, this could and should have been a world-class production.

My social-science take: high-budget turkeys like this are symptomatic of an organization where access to power and resources is become disconnected with any proved talent at using those resources wisely.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hard to watch this drivel

4/10
Author: sekander from Thailand
15 January 2013

Really, who's idea was this? A retreat back to the bad old days of Hollywood when Caucasians played Chinese, Indians and every race under the sun because how can we entrust these roles to "inferior" races. Brian Dennehy as Kublai Khan is as laughable in the 21st century as Bruce Cabot was as Maqua in the Last Of The Mohicans in 1936. And then, in a stunning reversal of typecasting, Achmed, a Muslim Saracen, is played by a Chinese. You can't write this stuff. Or, maybe you can. Somebody did here. God, what a mess. Let's not forget the casual glossing over of the trip to the East, which took almost 4 years and zips by here in a few minutes. Do yourself a favor and seek out the 1982 mini-series which was a labor of love with an all star cast, location filming and fabulous music from the master, Ennio Morriconne. Will someone finally release that on DVD so we won't have to be subjected to these awful remakes!!

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