Nomad Movie Review

I get the sense that the story of the making of Nomad is far more interesting than the film itself. Shot in Kazakhstan over the course of two years (weather and funding caused delays) with the urging of the Kazakh president, acquired and doctored by Harvey Weinstein, and starring a cast of Americans speaking Kazakh and Kazakhs speaking English with assorted in-line dubbing all over the place (Bai Ling!), this horse-and-yurt epic is picturesque but baffling. What was behind it all? An attempt to recover the dignity of the Kazakh people after the PR debable of Borat?

As for the end product: Nomad will appeal mainly to two small special-interest groups: those with a fascination for 18th century Central Asian geopolitics, and those with a fascination for costume design. Also, people who like swords and horses.

In this tale of the military victories of a descendant of Genghis Khan, the good guys are the Kazakhs, nomadic tribes who have yet to band together in an effective way, and the bad guys are the Jungars, marauding villains who rape and pillage their way across the steppes. As the film opens, an oracle named Oraz (Jason Scott Lee, who really really really needs a new agent. He deserves so much more. Will someone help him please?) predicts the birth of Mansur, a noble Kazakh baby who will unite the nation. When the enemies hear about it, they set out to kill the baby, but Oraz saves him and sets about raising him in martial fashion so he can live up to his preordained destiny.

Once grown, Mansur (Kuno Becker) and his childhood buddy Erali (Jay Hernandez) are indeed the top horsemen and swordsmen among their clan, ready to protect and nurture the nascent Kazakh state. Naturally, they both fall in love with the lovely Gaukhar (Ayana Yesmagambetova), but the triangle never gets two intense because the two men seem to love each other more than either one loves her. When she gets kidnapped by an especially nasty Jungar called Sharish (martial arts go-to guy Mark Dacascos), it's up them to save her while keeping their wars on track as well.

Nomad is ultimately an eastern western, with lots of sweeping vistas (beautifully shot, it should be noted), horses, and hand-to-hand comment that's rather more elegant than the gorefests of a movie like, say, 300. The only really new things here are the location and the wonderfully lavish costumes. Everything else is derivative of westerns, historical epics, and love triangles that you've seen before. Rent it as a suitable test for your new widescreen TV, but don't expect movie magic.

Aka Nomad: The Warrior.

Scimitar: Very niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice!

Cast & Crew

Producer : , Pavel Douvidzon,

Starring : , , , Ayana Yesmagambetova,


Comments

Nomad Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 2007

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