"Nomad [The Warrior]" is an action filled film that follows in the footsteps of numerous epic predecessors. In the same vein as films like "Gladiator", "Braveheart", and "Lawrence of Arabia", "Nomad" isn't the classic these films are but it still holds up fairly well. "Nomad" is written by Rustam Ibragimbekov and directed by Sergei Bodrov and Ivan Passer. As far as the direction goes, the movie is well put together as this is not any sort of low budget or independent fare. The cinematography and overall look of the film is very well done. The directing team does a masterful job with the end product as huge films like this are no easy feat. The film also has some legitimate stars including Jay Hernandez ("Hostel"), Jason Scott Lee ("Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story"), and Marc Decascos (who is in numerous films and television).
The story was also a big assist in the positives of this film. Set in 18 th century Khazakhstan (no Borat here), the setting is not exactly very common for most movies. Being a huge advocate for originality, this setting and place in time was instantly very interesting to me. The plot then follows the Kazakhs who are peaceful nomads who roam from pasture to pasture. It is then explained that their peaceful way of life is threatened by marauding invaders called the Jungers.
The Jungers are a barbarian-like culture who is out to simply destroy and conquer anyone who gets in their way. I would also like to mention that the film is subtitled. It is narrated and the dialogue is spoken throughout in the Kazakh language. This actually worked, in my opinion, since it makes for an even more authentic experience. One of the main reasons the Kazak nation doesn't stand much of a chance against their enemies is because their separate tribes can't get along. One of the Kazakh nomads, a prophet named Oraz, heavily believes in a prophecy that claims that a warrior will be born that will unite the Kazakh tribes. The remainder of the film follows the birth of that destined warrior (portrayed by Jay Hernandez) and his journey to fulfilling the foretold prophecy.
"Nomad" is definitely a solid modern day epic. For a film that I do not believe was released theatrically, "Nomad" was a pleasant surprise for this reviewer. Following a very tired plot (a destined warrior, etc.) this film boasts a ton of originality. The time and setting, as I previously stated, are very different from pretty much any film like this that I have personally seen. This kept things interesting. Throw in some cool assed scenes involving Hernandez' character as he dodged a multitude of arrows riding horse back and was forced to fight a masked foe that turned out being someone he truly didn't expect. Finish off with some heavy duty war and fight sequences and there goes some solid entertainment.
In conclusion, I would recommend "Nomad" to any fan of epics, war films, or even action movies. It is nothing most of us haven't experienced before but it displays enough unique flavor to stand out on its own. The performances from the actors are all solid even though it seems like the film was shot in English and then dubbed over in the Kazakh language for effect. Despite its number of flaws, though, "Nomad" was still worth the 111 minutes of my time.
Rating - **1/2