I was upset that I did not get to see this film in the theaters. I have liked most of Mel Gibson’s films over the years and this seemed so grandiose, that it fell into the “must see on a big screen” category. That was, until I saw it at home. The film is beautiful for sure. It is indeed a “big” film. The scenery is magnificent, the sets are unbelievable, but once I got to the costming, it started to get shaky for me. The common person will not watch this film, and if they do, I find it hard to believe that they would like it. I am an avid film watched and I had a hard time with this film for numerous reasons. We’ll start with the subtitle factor. I watch lots of foreign films and subtitles are commonplace for me. I do not advocate for dubbing a film, but I think it would instantly garner a wider audience with an English soundtrack. The native tongue was not so intricate that a monumentus amount would be lost in the translation. Next let’s move on to costuming. I am not an expert on Mayan cultures, and I hope Medl and company did a lot of research on this, but I have a hard time swallowing that every person in the Mayan nation was pierced, tattooed and branded. I do like to think I know a little about these subjects, and even if I am off base with this observation, I doubt it exists to the extent you find in this movie. Little kids with Labret piercings seems a little much, from what I do know, most of those types of practices are coming of age type scenarios and wouldn’t happen until at least a child’s tenth year. The film is too long. Without giving away a lot of plot, there is way too much running through the woods and way too much repetitive scenes. If someone gets beheaded, once on screen will probably suffice for the average viewer, doing it seven times is over kill and could be removed to cut time. The film easily could have lost the 18 minutes to drop it under two hours. Speaking of beheadings, that is the biggest problem facing this film. Being an avid watcher of splatter films, I know a thing or two about blood and guts. Holy shit Mel! If you are trying to compete with Ichi The Killer or Kill Bill, congrats, if you are trying to get my mom to watch this film, strike three, your out. There is so much blood and guts in this film ,it should have had six months worth of covers on Fangoria. As I mentioned, showing one beheading gets the point across, showing seven heads rolling down a temple is just overload, not to mention following it up with two hearts ripped out of chests. The film is not for the squeamish, and really shows its short comings as to why it wasn’t a box office power house. The story is decent enough. The tribe from the city comes and ransacks the tribe from the woods. It is the classic tale of the have vs the have nots. The story focuses around Jaguar Paw, his capture by the city Mayans, his almost ritual sacrifice and his daring escape to try and save his family. The movie is not stop action, but it is so continual that it actually gets dull. He is chased for more than half an hour through the woods by the Mayans that captured him in the first place.There are different opinions on how brutal the Mayans were to their own, but if you believe Gibson, the world is probably better off that the civilization became extinct. Even the feel good part of the film, the love story and the faith in family is lost here in a spray of blood and child birth. It is all so unappealing in general. Now the film isn’t all bad, it is actually visiually stunning and well put together, but you have to have a strong stomach and a long attention span. The average film viewer won’t make it the whole way, if they even make it past the Bor killing in the first five minutes of the film where on of the characters eats its balls. Special Features: Crap. That is what you get. There is a supposed deleted scene, that is so miniscule and lame, you feel cheated rather than enlightened with something special. If you listen to the commentary, you would think it was God’s gift to celluloid and thee was no good reason to leave it out. I say there was no good reason to film it. There is a making of as well, but everyone is so stuffed shirted and pompous, it was hard to watch. Mad Max, he isn’t anymore.
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