There's no shortage of pillage in Pathfinder, a Vikings vs. Native Americans tale set in pre-Columbus America. Karl Urban stars as Ghost, a Viking child abandoned during a raid, who's taken in by caring natives. Years later, when a new war party arrives, Ghost must save his adopted tribe from the rampaging Norsemen. Chock full of set-pieces but only about thirty lines of dialogue, this brash, brainless action flick is a poor man's Apocalypto... with added horns.
The comparison with Gibbo's rumble in the jungle is a good one. Like Apocalypto, Pathfinder blends non-stop thrills with ancient languages (the Vikings speak in subtitled Nordic, the Native Americans in, erm, English). But while Apocalypto was a big, dumb but superbly executed chase movie, Pathfinder's just plain dumb. Based on forgotten Norwegian flick Ofelas, this Norse saga plays like a 100 minute trailer. There's no character development, no real plot, just a string of high-concept action sequences - snowboarding on a shield, an ice flow crack-up and a cliff top abseiling session - that look great but bore quickly.
"LIKE A NU-METAL VIDEO"
As the conflicted Norseman, lank-haired Urban doesn't do much except stand around looking like a scrawny fifth member of Metallica. Then he goes all Rambo on the Vikings' asses, fighting a one man rear guard action using homemade pit fall traps. Pathfinder may want to be a post-Middle Earth epic, but director Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) helms it like it's a nu-metal video: swirling dry ice, thundering Dolby sound effects, and oversized Vikings who look like WWF wrestlers. Metal heads will be in Valhalla; everyone else should find a different path.
Pathfinder is released in UK cinemas on Friday 20th April 2007.