Nomad: The Warrior takes a rare look at the nomadic culture of 18th-century Kazakhstan and the warriors who fought for independence from a tyrannical invading force. The movie is about a bunch of Kazakhs, was filmed in Kazakhstan and, at least in one version, is filmed in Kazakh, so why - now, be patient with me for a second - why the f**k does it star two Hispanic actors?
Jay Hernandez (Hostel) and Kuno Becker (Goal!) are two best friends who have grown up since they were little and are now considered to be some of the best warriors in the country (though it's not a country yet). Mansur (Becker) has been prophesied to be the one to unite the Kazakh sultans under one banner and drive the foreigners from their boundaries. They both work under the guidance of Oraz the Wise (Jason Scott Lee), who not only is really smart but seems to be able to see the future, talk to horses and fight like crazy.
Nomad is Kazakhstan's entry for Best Foreign Language Picture for the 79th Annual Academy Awards, so why are the three lead actors people who can't possibly speak Kazakh, let alone look convincing enough to play a native. It is absolutely embarrassing to watch these actors in the movie, especially Hernandez and Becker, who are both Hispanic in origin. It makes no sense whatsoever, but is not the only problem with the movie.
Apparently, two versions of the movie were filmed, one in Kazakh, and one in English. In the DVD that I watched, I feel like I got a mismatch of the two. We started out watching it in Kazakh with English subtitles, but when the American actors were on screen, it appeared as though they were being dubbed. So, we switched to English audio, and suddenly the American actors came out clear (despite having horribly bad accents) while the Kazakh actors turned to dubbing. It was hard to tell what language was the natural language, but either way, I saw plenty of lips moving out of sync with the dialogue. Bad audio tracks, or dubbing for parts of the movie? I'm confused.
Aside from the language issues, there are bigger problems with Nomad. For starters, despite what is clearly a big budget, the movie still has a low budget feel at times, especially in its execution of certain scenes. The cover touts Nomad as having "one enormous action sequence after another", but there really isn't much action. The action sequences that are in the movie are less than exciting, to say the least, and surprisingly toned down in terms of gore, except for a quick and satisfying moment when we get to see a man get pulled apart by four horses. The best action scene has the two leads facing off against one another, but it's hard to get into it when neither side can win.
The screenplay is dreadful, the directing dull, the acting bad, the story cluttered and the casting about as bad as casting can be. Needless to say, Nomad: The Warrior is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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