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Pathfinder (2007)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Unrated)
Genres:
Adventure, Adventure Drama, Period Film, Sword-And-Sandal
Director:
Marcus Nispel Marcus Nispel
Starring:
Karl Urban Karl Urban
Moon Bloodgood Moon Bloodgood
Russell Means Russell Means
Clancy Brown Clancy Brown
Jay Tavare Jay Tavare

4.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: July 13, 2009
When the previews for Pathfinder first started making their rounds, I realized two things. First of all, this stood a good chance of being universally hated among most critics, and secondly, that it would probably amuse me to no end. Turns out I was half right; you're hard pressed to find a good word about this movie, but I'm inclined to agree with the consensus.

Six hundred years before Columbus wandered onto America, the Vikings found it. These hulking men, covered in metal armor and wielding swords, spent their time slaughtering the native American tribes for their own amusement, but for an unknown reason, did not settle in the area. After they are gone, a Viking child is discovered by a native woman; he had been abandoned for refusing to murder an Indian child. After some debate, the tribe decides to raise him as one of their own. Fifteen years later, the man (named Ghost for his pale skin) is a strong warrior, and well liked in the tribe, but he still suffers from severe identity crisis due to the his two cultures. Unfortunately for the peaceful Indians, those two cultures are about to clash violently, as the Vikings and their blood-lust have returned. Ghost is forced to pick up his sword and fight for his people. But which people are his?

Now, this sounds like a standard affair. One man running around, severely outnumbered, beating the odds, causing a lot of red to flow, with his romantic interest never far behind. Hell, it's worked before, but Nispel couldn't make it happen. The problem is in the pacing. The first half is non stop action, with Ghost engaging the Vikings over and over, but halfway through there's the almost inevitable plot device (which in execution was amazingly shallow) that completely shifts the film into low gear. It drags on the rest of its way towards the final battle, but that too is pretty subdued compared to the earlier fighting. It seems such a simple formula, I'm not sure how you can screw it up, but they found a way.

Before I even popped this in, I was a little worried about the action scenes. The current rage these days are to make them shaky as hell and switch camera angles no less than three times per second. Fortunately, it avoided both of those problems, but it found a whole new technique to annoy the hell out of me. For whatever reason, the camera stays zoomed in a foot away from the action. It's kind of distracting to watch a battle when you're right up on the fighters, but when you could make things out, they were decently entertaining. Technically speaking, the film was kind of a mixed bag. The costumes for the Vikings looked phenomenal, and it was a nice touch casting men who towered over the actors portraying the Indians. On the other hand, while there was plenty of blood to be found, it was all obviously CGI. The traditional blood sprayers looked so much better than this computerized crap.

There was a decent amount of action scenes in here, so if it happens to be the only thing on TV one rainy night, well, you could definitely do worse. But there's also an awful lot of nothing throughout it's running time, so I also wouldn't recommend going out of your way to pick it up either. Truth is, I can really only recommend the first half of it to those who want to see some mindless violence. Those looking for some depth to their cinematic experience would do well to look elsewhere. 3/10.
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Greg Follender #1: Greg Follender - added 07/17/2009, 08:01 PM
Utter shite.

The review sums up this hot mess nicely... i really have nothing more to add that isn't already alluded to in the preceding text.
Well... frankly, there just isn't enough space in this comment block to list it properly and I'd hate to invest a lot of time lambasting this film when I could better use the time doing something productive.

Still...

Why, why, WHY do they insist on trying to make films featuring Vikings with horns on their helms?
We know better now... and it just looks ridiculous in a film that is desperately TRYING to seem possible and realistic.

I love Frazetta's artwork as much as the next guy... but please folks, it's getting embarrassing.

2.5/10
M√∂rderwolf777 #2: Mörderwolf777 - added 08/19/2009, 05:13 PM
wow ur largest gripe with this movie is that the vikings have horns on their helms... lame
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 11/22/2010, 03:04 AM
This was lame. 3/10
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