Nomad: The Warrior
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (6th August 2007).
The Film

"Nomad The Warrior" tries very hard to reach epic status, but each step is hampered by many problems which stem as far back as the film's production in 2004. These problems include: the script is as basic as they come and doesn't feature a single shred of originality: prophecies tell of a 'chosen one', a young boy is trained to unite the country, he falls in love, frees a nation, blah, blah, blah we've heard it all before. Secondly, it employs a selection of 'B' and 'C' grade actors, the battle scenes seem amateurish at best (you can even tell the use of rubber weapons!), finally the film's production was halted halfway through and both the original director and cinematographer Ivan Passer and Ueli Steiger were replaced by Sergei Bodrov and Dan Laustsen. Sadly even with two directors this film only manages to entertain in ways deemed unintentional.
"Nomad The Warrior" is set in 18th-century Kazakhstan. A prophecy foretells the rise of a 'chosen one', this warrior will unite the country's three warring tribes and set them free them from the invading Jungars. Mansur (Kuno Becker) is the 'chosen one', taken at birth and trained in secret for fear of his life. His master Oraz (Jason Scott Lee) teaches the boy in the ways of combat and how he can bring his people together. Along the way he falls in love, fights some Jungars and eventually brings freedom to the land.
"Nomad the Warrior" had a lot riding on its success; the government of Kazakhstan had invested around $40,000,000 to make the film. I guess they needed something positive to reflect on their country seeing as Sacha Baron Cohen wasn't doing them any favors with his comically brilliant character Borat. I wonder who got the blame and lost their cozy government position when this film floundered during production and was pretty much announced dead on arrival. Even the Weinstein's knew they had to do something to save this picture investing more money into the film to shoot more battle scenes and develop the central love story. They even went as far as to ride the coattails of the blockbuster "300" (2007) by designing a DVD cover that rips-off the designs used for the marketing of that film. Let's get one thing straight and clear some confusion...if any. This film is in no ways similar to "300". In fact it's about the perfect polar opposite, where "300" has some talented actors "Nomad the Warrior" wastes whatever talent they have (and that's not much to begin with), where "300" is exciting and features some brilliantly choreographed battle sequences that are memorable, "Nomad the Warrior" has boring paint-by-numbers battle scenes that are laughable at times and almost always forgettable...catch my drift?
The film is further marred by terrible performances from Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos (seriously can casting agents stop putting this guy in movies? The only time he was actually good was in "Brotherhood of the Wolf" (2001) and that's because he hardly had to speak in that film), Kuno Becker is capable of much better and is virtually wasted in the lead role that sees him play second fiddle to the only two things that the filmmakers actually got right, the photography and production design (at least you see where the budget was spent in those regards). And what the hell is Jay Hernandez doing here? What casting director seriously thought they could pass him off as a Kazakh, especially with that mustache that makes him look like a Latin gang-banger in period costume? It's totally out of place and for the film's budget they could have gotten better talent (and maybe someone to rewrite the script while they're at it).
There are so many wasted opportunities it will frustrate you to watch, "Nomad the Warrior" will never be the epic it strives to be, it will be lost on video shelves for the rest of eternity and each and every person responsible for it should be ashamed at gigantic waste they created. There are 101 better projects to spend $40,000,000 on, and if Borat is right someone just got executed for this one.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1, this anamorphic transfer is very good but has a few flaws that brings it down a few notches. Overall the transfer is sharp and nicely detailed; colors are muted and mostly match the dusty locations. Skin tones are natural but black levels aren't deep, the overall image appears flat and there's some noise evident in the transfer. Minor grain pops ups and some edge-enhancement is also evident which is never a good sign. These problems however, are minor and fleeting so doesn't distract for too long, but they are still there.

Audio

Two audio tracks are included on this release, the original Kazakh Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track as well as an English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround dub. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its original Kazakh soundtrack. The dialogue is clear and distortion free, however the sync wasn't that great, considering the most of the lead actors don't speak in Kazakh, their dialogue is dubbed over and it's easy to tell that they are in fact actually speaking in English. This was mildly distracting at time but you get used to it after 30 minutes. Music and surround effects are well mixed throughout the 5.1 space creating some depth. Overall it's a fairly good 5.1 mix dub issues aside.
Optional subtitles are included in English, English for the hearing impaired and Spanish.

Extras

Genius Products has included no extras on this release other than some bonus trailers for:
- "Hannibal Rising" which runs for 1 minute 3 seconds.
- "Days of Glory" which runs for 1 minute 2 seconds.
- "Truth.com" spot which runs for 1 minute 2 seconds.

Overall

The Film: F Video: B Audio: B+ Extras: F Overall: D

 


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