Mongol (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/06/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 121 mins

Oscar-nominated epic with some impressive battle sequences and a strong performance from Tadanobu Asano, though there are some dull stretches in the middle and the script is occasionally frustrating.

What's it all about?
Directed by Sergei Bodrov and Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Film, Mongol is essentially Genghis Khan: The Early Years. Born in 1162, young Temudgin (Odnyam Odsuren) becomes a fugitive after the leader of an enemy tribe poisons his father (Ba Sen) and a rival warrior (Amadu Mamadakov as Targutai) vows to kill Temudgin so that he can become tribal leader (or Khan).

As the years pass, Temudgin becomes a skilled warrior (now played by Tadanou Asano), constantly aware of the fact that the day is coming when he will have to face Targutai. However, when his beloved wife Borte (Khulan Chuluun) is kidnapped by the rival Merkit tribe, Temudgin turns to his childhood friend, tribal prince Jamukha (Honglei Sun) for help, unaware that Jamukha has his own plans for tribal domination.

The Good
Bodrov orchestrates some impressive battle sequences and some thrilling fight scenes – Temudgin's spear-chucking skills, for example, are extremely impressive. He also gets terrific performances from his child actors, particularly from Odnyam Odsuren (as young Temudgin) and Bayartsetseg Erdenebat as the beguilingly blue-eyed Borte, who captures Temudgin's heart with her tradition-defying ways.

In addition, Tadanou Asano has a quietly impressive presence as Temudgin and he's ably matched by newcomer Khulun Chuluun as Borte, while Honglei Sun has an intriguing role as Temudgin's friend and rival.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that it drags considerably in the middle section and often feels repetitive, with Temudgin escaping from slavery at least twice and the various battles blurring into each other. Similarly, the script is occasionally frustrating, not least because the story ends just as it's really getting interesting.

Worth seeing?
In short, Mongol is an impressively shot, superbly acted epic that delivers some superb sequences but is let down by an occasionally repetitive script and some dull pacing. Worth seeing, though.

Film Trailer

Mongol (15)
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Content updated: 21/08/2018 17:04

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