Nomad: The Warrior

Rated R 2007

Centuries before Sacha Baron Cohen elevated Kazakhstan to a destination on the Great Silk Road, the Eurasian territory was inhabited by nomadic tribes whose refusal to band together left them vulnerable to marauding invaders. In the early 1700s, the biggest and baddest of the plundering hordes were the Jungars. This sweeping historical drama follows the rough outlines of Kazakh history in presenting the tale of Ablai Khan, who unified the feuding societies just in time to beat back the Jungars. Widescreen cinematography captures the austere beauty of the semi-arid, windswept steppes, the costumes and horseback riding are impressively authentic looking, and the cast of B-picture, handsome Western actors -- Mexico's Kuno Becker and Americans Jay Hernandez and Jason Scott Lee -- convey appropriate stoicism, though not much real emotion. With a commendable sincerity but also an unfortunate Hollywood veneer, Nomad is a poor man's Gladiator.

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