Despite being produced by Milos Forman, helmed by two directors (one being Ivan Passer who directed Jeff Bridges in 1981’s Cutter’s Way) starring a cast of attractive, multi-racial leads, featuring some lovely landscape cinematography shot in Kazakhstan and scored by Golden-Globe nominated Carlo Siliotto, this mytho-historical epic sputters and spits and comes to a dramatic halt 30 minutes before its actual conclusion.
Once the love story is over — between two brothers-in-all-but-blood, played with some intensity by Goal‘s Kuno Becker and with typical low-key sexiness by Jay Hernandez — and that tragedy plays itself out effectively, the demands of the genre began to dull the emotional impact. The leads’ blank earnestness, the script’s trite pronouncements, and the costumes that before they’d worn so well, now started to make the actors appear comic.
Please, that’s all called bad direction.
Oh, and my copy was dubbed. Given that both Hernandez and Becker are Spanish-speakers and not from Kazakh, and that my lip-reading suggests that it wasn’t originally in English, either, I’m guessing the final release of the film was dubbed as well. Not badly dubbed for the most part, but still, it caused a few Godzilla-moments. And I love Jay’s voice!
Anyway, although most of the big war scenes are staged ineptly with lots of visible plastic swordplay, the fight scenes between individuals are choreographed competently. The flying-arrow obstacle course that Mansur (Becker) has to survive along with his horse, Moonchild, is truly inspired, however, showcasing typical Kazakh horsemanship and derring-do.
Real emotional impact, and then the film ended for me.
Also around for eye candy are: An older, hunkier Jason Scott Lee with a shaved head and surprising amount of gravitas as well as martial-arts action hero Mark Dacascos. I think he’s most well-known for The Crow TV series, however, In Nomad, he gets his head chopped off.