Viking Action Thriller Epic From Jurassic Park Author Is Being Forgotten And That’s A Crime

By Christopher Isaac | Published

If you didn’t grow up in the ‘90s, you might not be aware of how big of a deal Antonio Banderas was once viewed as. Nowadays people probably know him best as the voice of Puss from the Shrek and Puss in Boots movies. But once upon a time, he had enough star power to headline major action movies, including one that was a movie adaptation of one of Michael Crichton’s (author of the Jurassic Park books) novels: The 13th Warrior.

The 13th Warrior And Antonio Banderas

As a ‘90s kid, The 13th Warrior was a movie that my dad introduced me to shortly after it came out in 1999. It focuses on Banderas’ main character, Ahmad ibn Fadlan, who has been exiled from his people.

In his travels to find a new home, he takes refuge in a Viking village, but his attempt at safety winds up leading him to his worst danger yet.

Attacked By Demons

It turns out the Norsemen are facing nightly attacks by demons that are slaughtering their people. The village oracle warns that this threat can only be defeated by an alliance of thirteen warriors chosen by fate.

The first twelve warriors all volunteer to save their people, but the oracle makes it clear the thirteenth member of the group must be an outsider. The 13th Warrior title refers to Ahmad, leaving him chosen by fate and no choice but to join in the fight against the demons.

A Hidden Gem

The 13th Warrior is actually something of a hidden gem, as when it came out, it honestly was not well-received. In fact, it was the biggest box office bomb of 1999, and critics did not enjoy its simplistic plot.

But I think fans today are much more open to simple, fun action movies than they were nearly thirty years ago, when they still oversaturated the theaters.

A Michael Crichton Story

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From today’s perspective, The 13th Warrior is great for a fast-paced movie filled with cool fight scenes and unique lore from a Middle-Eastern main character adapting to the culture of Norsemen.

Michael Crichton originally published the story in 1976, long before he did Jurassic Park.

The novel was originally titled Eaters of the Dead, but it was later rebranded to match the movie title of The 13th Warrior.

A Good Movie With Good Battles

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The book is presented more as a journal discovered and translated by modern-day historians. However, Crichton was supposedly a fan of the movie adaptation, which leaves out the modern-day lens and focuses on the story as a straight historical epic.

I won’t claim The 13th Warrior is some masterclass in acting filled with intriguing social commentary, but not every movie has to be. Sometimes you are just in the mood to watch some good battles and see some Vikings chop down some demons with swords.

Streaming The 13th Warrior

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For me, I give the movie a 3 out of 5 and still come back to it when I am in the mood for a simple, fun movie that won’t demand my attention.

And if you are interested, it is widely available on many streaming platforms, including YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon. Check it out today and see one of the hidden gems of the action genre you may have missed.