Miles on Movies


reviewed by R. Miles Mendenhall

This plodding remake of a great Norwegian film is the perfect White Boy
Wanna-Be Indian fantasy. A fantasy that I will admit to having had in my
early years.

A Viking tweener gets left behind somewhere on the coast of North America by
his rampaging relatives where he is adopted by a distraught Native American
mother and is grudgingly accepted by her tribe. Sort of like Tarzan and the
Ape Mother who took him in.

The Indians live in a pastoral state of nature where they have a really cool
art designed village. The rampaging Vikings return during the young man’s
late teens/early twenties and recommence slaughtering everyone in sight, and
then some. They seem to relish crucifixion as a form of torture and
execution but don’t seem to be practicing Christians. Or are they?

The young adopted Indian/European takes them on with a steel sword that was
also left behind with him, possibly by his deceased vicious and brutal
father. Somehow the kid knows how to use the sword better than most of the
hardened and experienced Vikings that he slays.

Side note: A friend recently told me that the word “Viking” was originally a
verb that meant “Murder, Rape and Pillage”, if so, these monsters seem to be
focused on the first two. The last option is not too feasible due to the
sustainable economy of the Indians.

Of course there’s a beautiful Indian Princess love interest. What White Boy
Wanna-Be Indian fantasy would be complete without her?

Second side note: Clancy Brown, who plays the second expedition Viking
leader, played The Kurgan in the “Highlander” film series, and also plays
Brother Justin Crowe the demonic preacher in “Carnivale”. I note this since
Mr. Brown has made a B career out of playing murdering, evil, primitive
types. I’m sure he’s probably a really nice guy, type-cast by his craggy
menacing look and deep resonant voice.

Recently “Carnivale” on DVD’s rented from Netflix has made up for my new
early bedtime. I miss my fav broadcast TV shows because they come on too
late. Still gotta sign up with Tivo! Carnivale has a great dark, creepy
theme that meets my taste for ominous quirk.

The original “Pathfinder” (“Ofelas” 1987) about a Saami (Lapplander) youth
who saves a Lapp village from rampaging barbarians doesn’t suffer from the
baggage of the European / Native American encounter history. That film
involves a clever use of deception, repeated here, to save the day.

This film has so many repetitive sword fights that as it plods to its
conclusion I just quit caring about who won. And this from someone who LOVES
a good sword fight! There is a nice twist on who is the real “Pathfinder”
for the survivors that made me hate the film less.

See the Norwegian original for the better version.

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