"When the only other Kazakhi film on people's minds this year is a Jackass-style pseduo-documentary comedy about a bumbling Kazakhi reporter named Borat, it's probably hard to get people interested in a Kazakhi war epic. Much less one with subtitles. Especially when the cover makes it look like a 300 knockoff or a Gladiator wannabe. But Nomad: The Warrior stands on its own as a sprawling desert landscaped, bloody battlefield epic piece of cinema.
Mostly set in Kazakhstan in 1710, Nomad follows the story of a young man who is born to fulfill the prophecy of uniting the three warring sects of his country to rid themselves of their violent enemies once and for all. Spanning over 30 years, the film never flinches as it uncovers intense hardcore battle sequences staged with Braveheart-esque grandiosity. Heads will roll and warriors will run screaming and flaming off camera, all under the watchful eyes of directors Sergei Bodrov and Ivan Passer. The washed out desert landscapes are reminiscent of Gladiator, and while the story itself never reaches the true epic magnificence of the Ridley Scott movie, Nomad does manage to come close, lacking the singular vision and unique story to truly find its place among the famous period epics.
Each character here has been powerfully created by this strong multi-cultural cast. Kuno Becker (Goal!, Goal II, Goal!3) stars as Mansur, the prophetic warrior of the title. With his mouth set in a grim line he travels from battlefield to battlefield hardly flinching at the various attacks launched against him. As an almost unbeatable warrior, Mansur has the training and determination to rival any warrior in recent cinematic history. And Nomad: The Warrior has the film clips to prove it. Jay Hernandez (Hostel, Hostel II, and Friday Night Lights) comes in a close second as Mansur's equally well-trained, but less prophetic, "brother" Erali. Both of them, along with a small army, have been trained by the wise Master Oraz (masterfully played by Jason Scott Lee) to face the dangerous Jungers in a final showdown battle.
Every scene in the film is carefully crafted and executed, laid out in classic mythical style, but constantly infused with reality-driven character development. Except for its palatable 111 minute running time, Nomad: The Warrior is an epic in every sense of the word: love, betrayal, brotherhood, loyalty, prophecy, and responsibility all make their required appearances, but it never feels typical or unoriginal. The subtitles manage to make the film feel more authentic somehow, and the big budget fight scenes serve as a reminder that the filmmakers were never left wanting. Audiences will find that after watching Nomad, they're not left wanting either. But seeing as the DVD itself doesn't contain any extras at all, not even the standard "making of" featurette, true fans of the film may find themselves asking for more."
PJR | Minneapolis, Minnesota United States | 06/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A beautiful film with a straight forward and sufficient plot. There was even something endearingly sweet and charming about it despite all the fighting.
Thanks for a hero who is strong and is just a nice guy with inner strength and warrior skills and does not have to rub our face in it with bluster and swagger! These visual cliches could have worked too, but it has been done countless times by John Wayne, Bruce Willis, etc. Becker was a refreshing alternative that worked for me given the script. His people had been waiting for a prophesied warrior-leader -- and he was up to his destiny without having to be theatrically charismatic. In fact he was raised learning to conceal his identity and destiny and that helped make his modesty and quiet strength work for me. Of course the deviation from warrior-hero stereotypes and uncomplicated script also offered fresh meat for the critics who apparently expected it to be in competition with other epics and used them as standards.
I don't think the film was over-dramatized or that the blood was gratuitous and this may disappoint some viewers. I am glad that I took some negative reviews with a grain of salt. No, it was not sensational Hollywood or Eisenstein and did not knock me off my feet, but there are lots of standards and various ways in which films can be good.
I googled "kazakhstan mansur" and found interesting comments on the book by Ilyas Yesenberlin and on the film and on the actual historical figure. Not every historical "epic" makes me spend time to learn more about a remote country!"
Nomad: The Warrior
Roland Lemus | 10/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I really liked this movie. One because I am history buff and an epic fighter movie fan as well. This is entertainment with a good source of pride and nationlism for their country "feel" Is it perfect? No, but it does have enough sword play and horse scenes to entice any action appreciation watcher. The pass on a horse through a column of arrows is impressive and nerve racking. Some say this is low budget, I think not, and while it is not a Scott Ridley film, it is worth a see and I bought the DVD because I don't go off what a cover looks like, I go for content. I lucked out on this one. Ask yourself this? Did you want to research the topic more? Where the swordfights impressive? Could you do them? If this movie truly stunk, I would say so, it is far from that, and I really like it. Enough said."
Great Prophecy Movie
Ben Atum | 08/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great Prophecy and Destiny Movie. The action and the story line left me in suspense on how he would fulfil his destiny. I am studying Mythology and Messiahs, and this film delivers an epic storyline that really fits together.
Astrology buffs will appreciate the movie, on how you create destiny if you believe in the stars.
Christians will be reminded on how Herod wanted the baby boys killed when he knew a Messiah was born.
The battle scenes were intense and so realistic that you think you are viewing it back in time."
No Stone Left Unturned | Michigan, USA | 09/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am no expert on the history of Kazhiistan, but, I loved this movie. Fast paced classic story of honor, idealism, and prophecy. Excellent acting, writing, photography. Intriguing, much action, and they chose to do some gruesome killing(not all) offscreen- letting our imagination fill in details(as in past movies)which was just fine and did not ruin the movie, actually allowed us to use our brains. This was a great story, and very well done, not superficial like many American movies."