13th Warrior, The
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: -2

Based on the Beowulf saga, often taught in high school English, and adapted by Michael Crichton (?Jurrassic Park?), this adventure film captures the feeling of 10th Century life. Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan (Antonio Banderas), an Arabic poet, is sent as ambassador to the north countries as punishment for an adulterous affair. He encounters a band of Norsemen, led by Buliwyf (Vladimir ulich), giving their king a Viking funeral. When a messenger arrives asking for help to battle an evil force, an oracle says 13 warriors must go and one is a foreigner. Selected against his choice, Ahmed travels with the others. Herger (Dennis Storhoi), one of the warriors, speaks Greek but Ahmed surprises them by learning their language. Buliwyf asks if he can also write and asks to learn. Arriving at the village, the warriors help build defenses, but must also contend with political intrigue. The fierce evil, at first thought to be demons, are Vandals, a cannibalistic army known for taking the heads of victims. Skilled fighters, the warriors are told they must destroy the Vandal queen who lives underground, as well as their chief warrior. With realistic battles, THE 13TH WARRIOR captures the adventuresome spirit of the Norse legend, but the dark story may limit its appeal.

Although an adulterous affair is referenced, no sex is shown. After a battle, Ahmed is shown sleeping in the hay with a woman. But when asked if she ?revived him or finished him off,? he says a gentelman doesn?t talk about such things. Ahmed also observes the Islamic avoidance of alcohol and is shown praying before battle. When asked to recite something for the Viking funeral, he begins the opening line of the Koran, which is the same in the Bible - ?In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.? He also uses the phrase, ?God is one and Mohammed is his prohet,? teaching Buliwyf to write in Arabic. Religion of the Norsemen is also treated with respect. The battles and mayhem feature gruesome deaths and graphic beheadings which earned the R rating. Older teens and adults who can stomach the bloody battles will find a realistic tale of bravery and respect.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Distributor: Buena Vista/Touchstone Pictures/Walt Disney Co, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521, (818) 567-5

Crude Language: Few (3) times - Mild
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (10th century warfare w/swords, spears, arrows, clubs, wooden spikes, often graphic beheadings, bloody bodies, dead horses)
Sexual Intercourse: Possibly implied once by couple asleep in hay
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Reference to adulterous affair, man asked if woman ?revived him? after battle
Drug Abuse: Alcoholic drinks
Other: Arabic and Norse religions treated respectfully
Running Time: 103 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and Adults

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