Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Those in the know have informed me that this movie ‘Pathfinder’ had been finished, sitting on some shelf in cans for well over a year with the distributor, 20th Century Fox, wondering what the hell to do with this mess of a film they have on their hands.  Then a little film, historical in nature and filmed to the brim with brutal violence by the name of ‘300’ came out to bang up box-office success, less critical success -  though this critical cat loved that movie.  Inspiration strikes the execs at Fox who decide to attempt to ride the wave of the success of ‘300’ and market ‘Pathfinder’ as a violent historical epic, with a lot of the focus being on the violence in the marketing campaign.  Yes, ‘Pathfinder’ was plenty violent, but throats being slit a good movie doesn’t make and those execs at Fox would have been doing a large number of us a favor had they left this thing on the shelf for a couple of more years.

Back in the day, I’m guessing 1000AD or somewhere around there, a Native American woman (Michelle Thrush) happens upon a white horse which foretells some mystical prophecy.  She follows the horse to a beached Viking ship filled up with dead bodies, and a real live Viking boy.  She takes the boy back to the village and the elders wrestle with what to do with the little bastard since the child does heed from a lineage of the worlds most violent people.  The Indian woman intercedes in the negotiations and convinces the elders to allow her and her husband to raise the boy as their own.

The boy grows into the strapping young man known as Ghost (Karl Urban) who desires to be elevated to a warrior brave but the tribes current Pathfinder (Russell Means), who’s purpose I guess is to help folks find their paths or something, tells Ghost something to the effect of ‘you can’t become what you want until you know

who you are’ or something.  I don’t think that Russell Means said one normal thing throughout this whole movie in that even the simplest questions he answers in parables and allegory.  He’s almost like a Native American version of Pootie-Tang, only using recognizable words, but making less sense.  I’ve decided that I’m going to start doing that too.  The next time some dude asks me the time, I’m simply going to tell him that ‘Your heart beats against the wings of the Raven’.  Or when asked where is the nearest 7-11, I’ll reply that ‘The path of the bear lies at the feet of deer’.  You should give it a try because folks will automatically believe you to be a mystical shaman and give you mad respect.  Seriously. 

Disappointed by the Pathfinder’s cryptic words, Ghost runs out in the woods to sulk just as his entire village is slaughtered in graphic detail by a group of marauding Vikings.  Ghost gets all pissed off and sets about to the process of killing every single Viking he can.  The Pathfinder, who has a daughter (Moon Bloodgood) that Ghost has a liking to, tells Ghost a cryptic riddle about vengeance which he disregards and he sets about killing more Vikings.  This goes on and on for what seems to be an eternity until mercifully the credits roll.

Was this movie any good?  Well, quite simply the horse gallops amidst the swirl of the clouds.  What that means is no, it ain’t.  For a movie to have as much slaughter and mayhem as this one did, how in the hell did director Marcus Nispel manage to make it so incredibly dull and lifeless?  In between the scenes of violence there were long stretches of absolutely nothing going on.  We get to watch Karl Urban’s soulful eyes staring off into the trees looking depressed.  I’m assuming that the story, which was threadbare at best, was to be filled in our lead actors eyes but I’m not real good at reading some dudes eyes so it was lost on me.  The action scenes, which are this flicks main selling point, are shot at such close quarters, lit so darkly and edited so choppily that it was near impossible to make out what the hell was going on.  Also this was the ‘unrated DVD version’ which added 8 extra minutes of, well, I suppose Karl Urban staring off into the trees.

Pathfinder did have some good points though with Clancy Brown as the chief Viking.  You might not know the name but you would know the face.  Not in this movie however, because all the Vikings looked exactly alike but Mr. Brown has been around a while and he was good in this as he’s good in most things he does.  Karl Urban would make a real good hero in a decent movie, though with this and ‘Doom’ before this, some may disagree.  Lastly Russell Means, though he speaks in nonsense riddles throughout the film does make the stuff sound legitimate.  If Frank Drebin was saying that stuff it would be funny, but Russell Means makes that crap sound as if really means something.

‘Pathfinder’ was a HUGE disappointment and complete waste of time.  The only thing I can really say is that he who sits at the head of the eagle, stands at the breast of the butterfly, which I believe sums it all up.

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