Friday, 4 July 2008

Mongol Review

Amir, Chaka, The Wrath of, or Genghis? Its hard to say who was the best. The commonwealth lightweight champion would give the best Star Trek film a run for its money in the fight stakes but I think that Grammy Award winning Chaka could take him down with a rousing rendition of I'm Every Woman. When it comes down to it though the main Khan, the king of Khans, Genghis K is gonna take it.

Mongol is the story of Genghis Khan (good job too or that opening paragraph would have been worth less than a shit), or more fittingly the story of the rise of Genghis Khan or Temujin as he was known to his buddies. Its almost like a Genghis: The Early Years film as we watch him become the man of legend, from his fathers mentoring, to his choosing of a wife to a whole host of nasty things that befall him moulding him into the ass kicking, warlord, Bill and Ted befriending mother flipper we all know and love.

And boy did he go through some moulding. His dad gets betrayed and poisoned, he gets placed in stocks twice, his wife is stolen, he's roundly and savagely beaten a number of times, then forced to become a slave where he is caged for years on end. If the film is trying to say a man becomes a product of his environment then its no wonder Temujin grew up a little miffed. Actor, Tadanobu Asano plays him with an amazing degree of humility considering what he goes through and in doing so he carries the film well. Standout scenes are the ones involving him and his 'brother'.

While at times it feels a little Hollywoodised, shades of Gladiator and Alexander creep into the score and the look, its a feral beast of a movie with the blood letting some of the best seen in eons. It doesn't overly sugarcoat the nasty bits either (there being a good chance that Temujin's kids aren't sired from the man himself, are the years of torture driving him insane) and that Far Eastern value of honour and integrity keep the film trucking along until his rise to power is assured. And that is where we leave him, and so for once a sequel would be more than welcomed.

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