directed by Sergei Bodrov and Ivan Passer
Kazakhstan 2005

 

Apparently a whopping correction is in order. John Ford was widely reported to have died in 1973, but it turns out he is alive and well and still making movies--in Kazakhstan.

That, at least, is what Nomad: The Warrior, a big-budget epic newly arrived from that country, suggests. Two other directors, Sergei Bodrov and Ivan Passer, are credited, and there’s not a cowboy in sight, but the film looks and feels like an old-school American western. Not a great western, but a reasonably good example of that genre. Hats off in particular to the horse wranglers.

The story, set in the 18th century, tells of the nomadic Kazakhs’ hope for a leader who can unite their various tribes and drive out the invading Jungars. It’s a bit odd that a tale of nationalistic pride is told using North American actors in several important parts, but one of those, Jason Scott Lee, makes quite a compelling presence as Oraz, a mystic dedicated to identifying and educating this long-prophesied leader, supposedly a descendant of Genghis Khan. The destined lad is Mansur (Kuno Becker), and he’s a bit scrawny for a warrior king, but when his time to lead comes he proves worthy.

...the actors manage to invest all this predictability with a surprising amount of charm. They don’t get any help from the landscape: Kazakhstan, alas, appears to be one extremely brown country. (The rolling hills? Brown. The houses and walled cities? Brown. The clothing? Brown.) The cast does, however, get excellent support from a huge assembly of horses. The scenes are staged with an impressive (and, one hopes, safe) fearlessness, the horses pulling off stunts that Hollywood films usually reserve for cars. The directors love that theater-shaking favorite scene from the old westerns: first there’s the ominous sound of thundering hooves, then a pack of horses crests a hill, then they seem to gallop directly over the camera. A cliché? Maybe. But it looks great here, all the many times it is used.

Excerpt from Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

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Theatrical Release: 17 July 2005

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DVD Review: Genius Products - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Yunda Eddie Feng for the Review!

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Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 111 min
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.1 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio DD 5.1 Kazakh, DD 5.1 English
Subtitles Optional English, English SDH, Spanish
Features Release Information:
Studio: Genius Products

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• previews for other movies

DVD Release Date: 24 July 2007
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Chapters 16

 

 

Comments:

Video:
The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer enjoys a relatively high bitrate of 7.1 Mbps. Therefore, the picture is very sharp and detailed for an SD-DVD. The mostly golden hues of the impressive vistas are frequently breathtaking.

Audio:
Harvey and Bob Weinstein were up to their old tricks again when they acquired Nomad for distribution in the U.S. They demanded new edits and created an English dub for easy consumption by Americans, though Nomad doesn’t have much appeal to people not interested in Central Asia. Mercifully, the movie arrives on DVD with its original DD 5.1 Kazakh track (though most of the headliners are non-Kazakhs, so they’re dubbed anyway). This is a very active mix with an ever-present music score and thundering galloping. Dialogue is never buried, though it is a bit distracting watching actors’ mouths that don’t quite match what they’re supposedly saying.

You can also watch the movie with a DD 5.1 English dub. Optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles support the audio.

Extras:
Upon loading, the disc plays trailers for other Genius Products releases. Unfortunately, if you want to find out about the movie’s rather tortured production history, then you’ll have to do some digging on the Internet since there are no other extras.

 - Yunda Eddie Feng

 



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CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Genius Products

Region 1 - NTSC




 

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