Monday, September 08, 2008

"Pathfinder" review

Pathfinder (2007)

Director: Marcus Nispel
Writers: Laeta Kalogridis

Karl Urban ... Ghost
Moon Bloodgood ... Starfire
Russell Means ... Pathfinder
Clancy Brown ... Gunnar
Jay Tavare ... Blackwing
Nathaniel Arcand ... Wind In Tree
Ralf Moeller ... Ulfar

I saw this on cable the other day. Vikings land in the new world and proceed to slaughter the local population. They leave behind one boy who just wasn't Viking enough to walk among them. He had just turned eight and didn't want to behead anyone. This was the sign to toss him overboard. A Native American tribe takes pity on the reluctant killer and decides to raise him as one of their own. Years later the Vikings return to annihilate the tribe but find that their wayward Viking has grown into an efficient killing machine. The rest of the movie has the Vikings doing battle against their violently disobedient family member.

It's a sad day when I can't get into a Viking movie. I was really looking forward to this one. But the Pathfinder couldn't find his way to an exciting movie. Instead he got stuck in the mud of B-movie land. Monotonous slow motion fight scenes bogged him down in the muck. I didn't think watching behemoths battling each other with swords would get tiresome but the Pathfinder found a way to make violent combat tedious.

"Pathfinder" starts with a banal storyline of the rejected Viking and lumbers it's way down the path of Norse destruction. The movie plays out exactly as you think it would. An action movie being predictable wouldn't bother me if the action scenes were worth something. But the fight scenes in "Pathfinder" are all shot in a drab, grey tone and play out in slow motion. I don't think there was one fight scene set at normal speed. It drains the impact from the combat if everything is moving at half speed. It also detaches the viewer as it makes them aware that they're watching the director show off instead of just letting them enjoy the action.

On the plus side, there is still plenty of swordplay and a few severed heads scattered here and there.
As you know, one of the golden rules of cinema is that any movie with a severed head has to be good on some level. If you can catch "Pathfinder" on cable, it may be worth watching once. If you can't see it while channel surfing, you can let the Pathfinder go on his way.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 slow motion Viking slaughters

No comments: