The 13th Warrior - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The 13th Warrior Reviews

Page 1 of 209
September 15, 2016
just like Coppola Dracula, brilliant start that descends into utter bad acting, storyline and ending
September 13, 2016
One of my all time favorite films. I absolutely have to watch it every time it's on tv. Heroic action, a truly epic feel as warriors battle an ancient evil cloaked in superstition and myth. Great characters, and one of the most quotable movies of the late 90s.
September 3, 2016
I generally like Banderas, but he is wank in this. The battle scenes are fairly average as well and the overall story is pretty weak and boring.
July 28, 2016
this movie keeps on the edge from start to finish. and the cast was awsome
½ July 21, 2016
Pairing action legends John McTiernan and Antonio Banderas together as director and actor, The 13th Warrior sounded like a real adventure.

Notorious for being one of the biggest box office bombs of all time, The 13th Warrior is a big-budgeted film which boasts the potential of a real spectacle. I say potential because it never reaches it, and that really went over my head. The 13th Warrior has a budget estimated to be close to $100 million, and yet I just struggle to believe that. For a film this simplistic to actually cost that much can only signify that some severely misguided direction was behind the production.
Frankly, the production values of this $100 million films seem only slightly higher than the ones used in another story of century-old swordfighting, Highlander (1986). Highlander had a budget of merely $19 million, a fraction of the massive budget behind The 13th Warrior. Both films had convincing costumes and ideal scenery, though there is a difference in cinematography technique. However, Highlander utilized its setting for far greater value as it actually took the time to show off its production values. Most of the time in The 13th Warrior the entire film is shot up so close that all you can see is the faces of actors who do little more than deliver certifiably melodramatic performances thanks to a lifeless screenplay. This makes the entire scale of the story feel too insignificant to make any kind of impact as a spectacle, and it shows off none of the imagery that should be synonymous with a film of such an overblown budget. It's actually difficult to say that I remember any imagery whatsoever in The 13th Warrior because the film was a lesser experience than John McTiernan's Last Action Hero (1993) which was seemingly far more overblown but actually managed to use its set pieces for something distinctive.
The problem with the visual style is that it wants to really focus intensively on the characters and uses a series of close-up techniques to convey their intense emotional state of mind. The only problem is that apparently the director of photography is not aware of the screenplay's shortcomings because there is nothing interesting about the characters in The 13th Warrior. Characterization is not a key strength of the film and everyone is reduced to being a generic archetype thrown into a series of melodramatic ramblings or occasional swordfights, the latter of which the cinematography should be focused on. Director of photography Peter Menzies Jr. does not seem aware of this and fails to grasp the larger scale which he conveyed far more skilfully on Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), another collaboration with John McTiernan. As a result, both the screenplay and the visual style of The 13th Warrior come up extremely short and neither of them compensate for each other. In the case of films with a budget such as The 13th Warrior, the visual experience can frequently make up for the lack of supportive writing. This is not the case this time, and with a man like John McTiernan as director I must say that I am very surprised in the worst sense of the word.
For a film that collaborates action filmmaker John McTiernan with action star Antonio Banderas so have such severe shortcomings in the quantity of action is truly shoddy. There is a modicum of brief swordfighting scenes in the film where we see the actors pitted against each other and performing in an intense state of mind, but they are extremely brief and captured with technique too shoddy to be anything distinctive. Still, I might have tolerated them more of there was more of it to actually embrace. The 13th Warrior is ultimately so short on action that the use of the word "warrior" in the title is a betrayal to anyone who dares to watch it. The 13th Warrior is a big betrayal to the generic contract it promises with the presence of its central actor and director, and there is nothing spectacular about the experience outside of the atmospheric strength brought in by Jerry Goldsmith's musical score. With all the slow motion and melodramatic panning in the visual experience, The 13th Warrior manages to capture the melodramatic angle of the film with an emotional spirit to it that ensures there is at least sparks of feeling spread out during the film.
The 13th Warrior feels like a wasted opportunity. It could have been a harrowing portrait of violence, but the script has no interesting commentary to make. It could have been an interesting story about Adhem ubn Fadlan, but it seems like the filmmakers are no more aware of his historical relevance than I am. Given that the text is based on a piece of historical fiction I can understand why the latter faltered, but the story's focus is so scattershot throughout its generic collection of archetypes that it doesn't give Antonio Banderas an opportunity to shine. While the characters have flashy costumes to wear and nice scenery to stand against the backdrop of, they have nothing interesting to say. And even then, everything is lit too poorly to really get the full experience of their performances. Yet since the feature does not even know how to exploit the gimmicks of its cast, it is a waste of their time more than ours. Antonio Banderas rarely engages in any combat, opting instead to recite the philosophical poetry of an 8th grade history student. Every supporting cast member ends up as generic and forgettable as each other, a fate that even befalls an actor as legendary as Omar Sharif who was so dissatisfied with the experience that he temporarily retired from acting as a result.

The 13th Warrior is a stunningly misguided flop which serves as some of John McTiernan's worst work, spending copious millions of dollars on poor cinematography and a shortage of action scenes while shifting the focus onto a lifeless screenplay full of stock characters and cheap melodrama.
May 8, 2016
There are some fun parts but now is completely outdated and very difficult to follow as to what is the actual plot
April 26, 2016
The 13th Warrior would have benefitted from better character development and story, but the design and direction of the film are all but too lavish and amazing to ignore.

V: 52%
½ April 11, 2016
Screw critics, this movie is awesome.
March 1, 2016
Based on Michael Crichton's best-selling novel "Eaters of the Dead," "The 13th Warrior" is an exciting and unforgettable adventure thriller. When an important emissary is abducted by a band of warriors, he is forced to join their quest to battle mysterious creatures legendary for consuming every living thing in their path. Eventually surrounded by the frightening and ferocious foe, Ahmed must conquer his personal fears and help battle the illusive invadors- who emerge out of the shroud of fog in the black night.
February 27, 2016
I think it is one of the great adventure stories. The critics that didn't like it are obviously against strong male leads in a war setting. Of course there is not much character development, this isn't Gone With the Wind! Any critic who doesn't give it at least 3 stars doesn't know what they're talking about, or don't like the genre.
February 14, 2016
Un Banderas in un ruolo inusuale. Nel complesso non male.
February 5, 2016
One of my favorite movies, and the first movie I ever bought on DVD. It gets better every time I see it. One if the few movies that may be BETTER than the book.
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2016
Really a fun actioner, recalling those glorious days of yesteryear when Vikings strode the earth in all their contempt for puny civilization. Banderas' best film to my mind, concerns his efforts (as a representative of urbanity: that sordid weaning place for girly men and intellectuals) to convince of his colleagues of his worth while faced with a enemy that shakes even the manliest of men, the eaters of the dead.
January 31, 2016
When will they put this move on Blu Ray??????????
January 19, 2016
Not sure how this got such bad reviews. This is one of my all time favorite movies. Great acting, great pacing, great story.
November 25, 2015
This was a great adaptation from the book that managed to weave the fights scenes (which are left largely to the imagination in the book) in such that it does not distract from the morals and values expressed in either Crichton's treatment or the original epic.
November 8, 2015
All I remember is how passionless it was
½ November 1, 2015
Dear Lord, this was seriously the most boring film ever. Already calling it Antonio Banderas' worst film ever, nothing that be did wrong. Just so beyond boring with such a ridiculous and convoluted plot. It was too hard to follow and pay attention to, so ridiculous and dragged on. No good at all.
½ October 6, 2015
A much overlooked and maligned minor cult classic. I like it bettar each time I see it. The bromance between the Banderas character and Storhoi's Herger the Joyous is a lot of fun. Hae a feeling this will come to be appreciated more as time goes on, just a shame it was not commercially successful. Should hae made major stars of Kulich and Storhoi.
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