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Jay Hernandez ………. Erali
Dilnaz Akhmadieva ………. Hocha
Ling Bai ………. Gaukhar (voice)
Kuno Becker ………. Mansur
Azis Beyshinaliev ………. Ragbat
Mark Dacascos ………. Sharish
Jason Scott Lee ………. Oraz
Ayana Yesmagambetova ………. Gaukhar
Doskhan Zholzhaksynov ………. Galdan Ceren
Erik Zholzhaksynov ………. Barak
When it comes to the country of Kazakhstan, which many people somehow think is a figment of Sasha Baron Cohen’s imagination, the rich history and inspiration behind its inception has largely been overlooked in a day and time where some think it’s most famous export is Potassium. Formerly a member of the Soviet Union, and the last country in it to declare its independence from the Communists in 1991, it has a celebrated warrior history. Their battles with invaders would galvanize the tribes of the country to form together to repel the invaders and is now captured in the film Nomad the Warrior.
An epic film in the tradition of Gladiator and 300, the film is perhaps the most expensive film to ever come out of the country at $40 million. And every single dollar was used in this production, as the one thing the film gets right is that it has an innate understanding that it is an epic film and period piece. The costume work is great, the film’s cinematography has a flair for big epic shots and the film has large epic battle scenes.
The film’s cinematography is perhaps some of the best seen so far in 2007. It doesn’t hurt that the film was actually shot in the same country it’s supposed to have taken place, as one wonders now if a film about the American Revolution would be shot in Hungary because it’s cheaper to do so, so the film as an authenticity that’s hard to match. It also features some gorgeously shot battle sequences and has great use of different camera work as well. The tandem directing crew of Sergei Bodrov and Ivan Passer have the grasp of how this sort of epic film about to feel like. They don’t have a grasp, though, on making anything but the action sequences into engaging film-making.
That’s the film’s weak point, its story. It’s not a good one, cluttered with weak dialogue, and makes the time between action sequences rather unbearable. There’s a love triangle and a tale of two warrior brothers, but most of it is rather boring until the action starts. There are some great action sequences but not enough heart to make us care about them except in a more rudimentary way. When the film’s blood-soaked finale comes about there’s no emotional attachment to it. It’s engaging, yes, but only viscerally.
A/V QUALITY CONTROL
Presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround in both English and Kazakh with a widescreen format, the film looks and sounds great. The film itself takes advantage of the Kazakhstan landscape with beautiful shots that come through wonderfully as the film’s epic score pushes the format to its limits.