13th Warrior

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Director:John McTiernan
Writers:William Wisher and Warren Lewis
Touchstone Pictures; R; 103 minutes
Cast:Antonio Banderas, Omar Sharif, Diane Venora

There's something to be said for breaking new thematic ground. The 13th Warrior is a glam rock take on the brutal battle between the Vikings and pagan savages. Antonio Banderas plays an exiled 10th-century Arab poet who helps the Vikings conquer the vile “eaters of the dead.” The film's release was pushed back for more than a year; it's a wonder the film ever hit theaters, with an off-kilter plot that's befuddled by overblown action sequences. Big hair, big swords, and heads lopped off by bearskin men on horseback.

Michael Crichton wrote the novel on which this film is based, fictionalizing the adventures of real-life Bagdad poet Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan. Fans of Banderas might do better to seek out his early work with Almodovar, which, although in Spanish, is easily more comprehensible than this.

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