By Phil Hall | July 3, 2008

Earlier this year, Sergei Bodrov’s “Mongol” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign-Language Film. Clearly, it must have been a pretty weak year for subtitled fare if the Oscar voters sought to praise this inert, inept epic.

The eponymous Mongol is none other than Genghis Khan, but the film only captures his life adventures during the years he was simply known as Temudjin. And these were fairly tumultuous years. During his childhood, his father (a powerful but benevolent khan) was poisoned, his family’s possessions were stolen by his tribesmen, and he was enslaved. As an adult, his attempts to build his own power base were wrecked my military loses, he survived being shot in the back with an arrow, and he wound up being enslaved on two separate occasions.

This may sound interesting, but “Mongol” barely presents any emotional depth to this tale. There’s a lot of running around and fighting, and that’s it. The screenplay leaves out considerable gaps in Temudjin’s odyssey (it is never explained just how he raised his armies or where he learned military strategy). As a result, the film feels as shallow and vapid as a Wikipedia article – just a bare scratch of facts without any sense of humanity behind its telling.

It also doesn’t help that “Mongol” is riddled with dull, clumsy battle sequences. Bodrov’s direction for these sequences appears to be along the lines of “everyone hit each other” – there’s a lot of commotion that quickly becomes dull. The only diversion comes in counting how often a sword-sliced warrior begins squirting blood with garden hose-worthy projectile force.

“Mongol” ends with Temudjin securing his place as the all-powerful khan, with the post-script that more marauding was yet to come when he changed his nom de guerre to Genghis Khan. Hopefully, this won’t be a cue for “Mongol 2″ – one bad movie is enough, thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. LN says:

    I agree with PJ; you must be out of your mind to write a review like this. I saw the movie and it is my favorite of all time now! You must be an idiot or have complete ignorance.. Watch the movie for your enjoynment, not to seek faults! *****

  2. RLN says:

    Agreed with PJ. You obviously did not pay attention very much, as this movie was about the struggles he faced. It made sense that there was a lapse of time between when Temudjin’s leaving his family again and then had a full-scale army. They wanted to focus on the more personal aspects like him facing off against his blood brother and holding his basic laws and honor above all else.

    There was a lot of emotion in the movie… sure there was no stereotypical crying or intense love scenes but that was to show the hardiness and stalwart nature of the nomadic Mongols of the time in contrast to the rest of the world which was much more “soft.” Most emotion was in the eyes and subtle smiles and laughs of the actors and their actions to respect tradition. Also no emotion?! Look what the Khan’s wife did to rescue her husband. Having 2 children with the enemy to save him. Pay attention next time. Sorry it wasn’t the next cheesy “300.”

    Next time don’t write a review, they’re very lackluster and hypercritical.

  3. PJ says:

    From what I can tell of your review you barely watched the movie, or were not paying any attention at all nor did you do any research into the accuracy of the events in the movie.

    you obviously have no appreciation for history, although this movie doesn’t even need that much understanding of Temujins early life to like the movie, I suppose it was too complex, deep and ‘real’ for you.

    Perhaps you should watch something more your level, like Harold and Kumar

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon