Pathfinder (Review)

pathfinder_2007--711x1024Is it ironic that a film called Pathfinder loses its way so very quickly? Probably not. When your film is headlined by Karl Urban, it’s fair to say it’s more inevitable than ironic.

A ship aground. The crew, dead. Not pleasantly. One survivor. Male. White. A boy.

Here is a film that alleges that North America might have been discovered before Christopher Columbus showed up. Strangely neither Columbus, nor the Vikings as portrayed here, seem to acknowledge that the Native Americans are standing about on this apparently yet to be discovered land mass. The glory goes to those who write history’s pages.

Star Wipe to 15 years later.

Now say what you want about Vikings, but they don’t seem to be quitters. More ships arrive. And being all Viking and stuff they aren’t here for the serenity or the chance to take photos. They are here to conquer, one Native American township at a time.

Only they forgot about that young kid from the first doomed ship. He grew up a Non-Native American warrior, accepted by a tribe and welcome in the tepee, but not really embraced. Let’s just say he is dubbed ‘Ghost’ by his saviours, another fact that kinda makes this paragraph scream ‘reverse racism’.

When the Vikings arrive though, suddenly not truly ‘belonging’ matters a little less, especially once they summarily and bloodily lay waste to almost the entire tribe. And when Ghost pushes back, he finds that Vikings hold grudges, and he is forced to flee with hundreds of burly dudes wearing discarded Slipknot outfits on his tail.

Pausing only to invent snowboarding, Ghost starts a long and graphically violent journey back to mediocrity, accompanied at times by the photogenic Starfire (Moon Bloodgood), who provides moral, emotional, and ‘other’ support.

I can see what they were going for; First Blood era Rambo crossed with Conan the Barbarian, but here the killing is repetitive and tiresome, and frankly hard to see in the dim light the film is shot in. Despite a kill count surely in the hundreds and dozens of ‘signature kills’, not much stands out aside from how lifeless and bland it all seems. Except, that is, for a blackly comical (and hilariously mismanaged) sequence in which Ghost inadvertently aids and abets the slaughter of another Native American tribe who just showed up to lend a hand.

Recent history has shown that Karl Urban can in fact headline a film, but only if he is hidden under a big helmet and a dour personality. A ‘Conan’ type needs a personality of some kind. And therein lies the problem; Arnold had one, Jason Momoa tried hard, I don’t think Karl Urban has sufficient charisma to even feign a personality. At least that’s what a decade or so of cinematic evidence suggests to me.

Add Pathfinder to the pile of meh.

Final Rating – 5 / 10. Not ‘all time’ terrible. Not ‘hilariously’ terrible. Just regular old terrible.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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