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 in a quest to banish a mysterious threat in a distant Viking land.
A cultured diplomat joins a band of savage warriors in time to meet an even more fearsome enemy in this historical adventure. In 922 A.D., Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) is a Muslim emissary from Baghdad en route to meet with the King of Saqaliba when he is captured by a gang of Vikings. While Ibn and his people are intelligent and well-mannered, the Vikings are a rowdy and sometimes unpleasant lot, with an unquenchable appetite for food, alcohol, and women. However, in time he develops an understanding and respect for the Viking warriors and is welcomed into their society by their leader, Buliwyf. However, Ibn must now join them as they return to their homeland once they receive word of an invasion by a huge pack of bloodthirsty invaders who will destroy and eat anything in their path -- including the flesh of the men they have killed.
Was filmed two years before its eventual release date, which had been pushed back several times. See more »
One warrior is missing.
Two die in the first fight.
Four die in the first battle.
There are seven left. This can be seen when they are riding for the cave. However only six enter the cave. One was lost. See more »
The original version, known as Eaters of the Dead and Directed by John McTiernan was originally 127 minutes and slated to be released in May of 1998. But when the film failed test screenings Michael Crichton took over the project and reshot and added new material to the film. He was also involved with the reediting of the film as well and rejected composer Graeme Revell's hour long score. This version of the film has not been seen publicly. 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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