The heroic story of a young Norse man raised by Native American Indians who wages a personal war against the Vikings that barbarically raided his tribe.
is a curious, cross-genre movie with elements of horror, sword-clanging fantasy, historical fiction, and Native American mysticism. A classic story of an outsider-hero, Pathfinder
is set approximately five centuries before Columbus arrival in the New World, a time when Vikings were claiming real estate in Greenland and eastern North America. A young Norse boy is abandoned by his disapproving, conqueror-father and adopted by an aboriginal tribe. He grows up to become Ghost (Karl Urban), almost-but-not-entirely accepted by natives, yet a fierce swordsman and defender of Indians after a terrible assault on those whom he loves best. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption
) plays the fiercest of the invaders, a merciless leader who tangles with Ghosts inherent prowess as a fighter, and engages in a psychological as well as physical struggle with him in the films final third, which involves a harrowing journey through an avalanche-prone mountain path. Russell Means (The Last of the Mohicans
) is a typically comforting presence as the all-wise Pathfinder, leader of a tribal nation and Ghosts supporter, while Moon Bloodgood (Eight Below) is outstanding as a love interest with nerves of steel. Marcus Nispel (who directed the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
) guides the brutal if often exhilarating action as if it were amplified history. He makes the point for a contemporary audience that Vikings were as terrifying a danger to those whom they conquered as, say, Klingons are in Star Trek--precisely by making his Vikings seem so reminiscent of Klingons. --Tom Keogh