After a year's worth of post-production monkeying, "The 13th Warrior" has finally come to theaters, and its still a big mess.

The screen adaptation of an early Michael Crichton novel about 10th Century Vikings called "Eaters of the Dead," its an abbreviated and shallow epic that comes off like an over-produced and dead-serious episode of the campy cult TV show "Xena: Warrior Princess."

Antonio Banderas stars in the ethnicity roulette role of Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan, an elegant Arab poet banished (as an ambassador) to northern Europe as punishment for diddling a sultan's wife. This is hurriedly explained in a slap-dash introductory voice-over that seems to substitute for at least 30 minutes of action wisely (but sloppily) pruned from film.

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