Today’s movie is one of those movies that I remember seeing a trailer for in the theaters and thinking it looked interesting, but then never saw it in the theater when it came out. It would be a while before I would think about the movie again and decided to try ad find this movie. To be honest, I still don’t know why I wound up owning the movie. Probably just some random spur of the moment idea that stuck in my head. Whatever the reason, I own this movie so today I am going to watch Pathfinder.
The plot: In early North America, a Native American woman is walking through the snow carrying some firewood when she sees a white horse running through the woods. Following after the creature, the woman finds a wrecked viking ship, with everyone inside dead except for a young boy. The boy is brought back to the woman’s tribe and a council is held, with most of the men saying he is a demon and wanting to cast him out into the cold but the woman argues that if they do so, they would be the monsters and the chief says that the boy has a destiny with the tribe and he should stay. That night, the boy has a dream about when his father and his crew attacked a native tribe and slaughtered everyone, and the boy was whipped when he refused to kill a small child. 15 years later, the boy, named Ghost because of his pale skin, has grown up as a man and is helping his tribe gather supplies to trade with a neighboring tribe. When the neighboring tribe shows up, Ghost’s adopted father, the tribes chief, is surprised to see the Pathfinder accompanying them. Pathfinder speaks with the chief and says that the man that was to replace him as Pathfinder was killed in an avalanche and so a new one must be chosen and he also says that the prophesy will soon come to pass. During a ceremony to select who will be the new replacement, Ghost attends the ceremony but Pathfinder says he hasn’t earned the right, as he is still haunted by the demons of his past. Ghost leaves, saying he will find his own path, and as he is practicing with his father’s sword, his adopted father approaches him and Ghost questions what he is supposed to be. The next day, the neighboring tribe leaves and as Ghost watches them, he catches sight of Pathfinder’s daughter Starfire, who he has a romantic interest in, and watches as she notices him and “accidentally” knocks loose some of the feathers she had in her hair. Later, Ghost goes hunting and is joined partway by a small girl who is going to collect some eggs. As the girl wanders the woods, she encounters a viking army and runs back to the village but the vikings follow her and begin killing the tribe. Ghost hears the viking horns and as he heads back to the village, he sees it in flames. Making his way across the smoldering remains, Ghost finds the bodies of most of his tribe and weeps as he sees his mother’s body, as well as the doll that the young girl owned. Hearing a commotion, he sees the vikings gathered around and watching as one of them battles with the tribe’s chief. As the viking leader kills the chief, Ghost bursts through the viking ranks and the leader comments about Ghost looking different from the other natives. When another viking challenges Ghost to a fight, Ghost refuses at first until they try to take his father’s sword, and Ghost manages to kill one of the vikings and cut the eye out of another before making his escape. Ghost makes his way back to the hunting lodge, killing several vikings along the way, but as he tries to gather supplies, he is attacked by some more vikings and injured before he manages to get away. Ghost manages to catch up to Pathfinder’s tribe and warns them to run before he passes out. After saving Ghost from a bear, he is taken to their village, where Pathfinder and Starfire tend to his wounds. The next day, Pathfinder says that the vikings, who the call the “dragon people”, are hunting Ghost and when someone asks what will happen if they follow him to their village, Ghost tells them that they will all be killed and should run. The village prepares to leave and Pathfinder tells the people that will lead the evacuation to take the Eastern path at the fork, as the Western path has too high of a chance for avalanches. Starfire tells her father that they can’t let Ghost go off on his own but Pathfinder says that his heart is too full of vengeance. Ghost sets off to face the vikings but he is accompanied by Jester, a mute member of the tribe that refuses to leave his side, in spite of Ghost repeatedly trying to get him to go with the others. Meanwhile, Pathfinder’s tribe continues to head away and when they reach the fork, they discover that Starfire is no longer with them, one of the braves chooses to lead a group of men to bring her back and kill the leader of the Dragon People, but says that he is only going back because Starfire went to join Ghost. Meanwhile, Ghost and Jester have reached the remains of a village that was already sacked and decide to set a trap there for the vikings. After making preparations, Ghost goes to sleep in a nearby cave and after waking from a dream where Pathfinder kills himself with Ghost’s sword, Pathfinder is shocked to see Starfire there and the two talk briefly before they start kissing. When the vikings arrive, Ghost, Starfire, and Jester, start picking them off one by one, taking their weapons and armor as they do. Ghost has Starfire and Jester hide while he tries to lead the vikings in another trap but the braves show up and, despite Ghost warning them to stop, they charge at the vikings and end up falling into the trap themselves. Ghost manages to rescue his rival but his rival tells him to find Starfire, then he chooses to stay behind and fight the vikings but is killed by an arrow. Inside a cave, the vikings kill Jester but Ghost and Starfire manage to escape. When the vikings try torturing one of the captured braves to draw them out, Starfire stops Ghost from going down there, just as Pathfinder shows up and mercy kills the brave. The three fend off the vikings for a while but are eventually captured and questioned about where the rest of the tribe is but when they refuse to answer, Pathfinder is executed. The viking leader then questions Ghost, saying he knew Ghost’s father, and Ghost says he will lead them to the tribe if they spare Starfire. Heading out, Starfire is angry at Ghost for betraying her people but Ghost says he is simply following her father’s advise on how to defeat them. Leading them on the Western Path up the mountain, Ghost tries to circle around a frozen lake but the viking whose eye he cut out tells him they are not afraid and has his men cross the lake, causing the ice to break underneath them. As several of the vikings drown in the freezing water, Ghost has a vision of Pathfinder telling him he is not done yet, before he makes his way to the surface. Leading the vikings up the mountain, Ghost recommends tying themselves together as the path is dangerous but when they reach the end of the path, Ghost uses that to kill the vikings as he knocks the man on the end off the ledge, and he starts pulling the others down with him. The viking leader realized he was tricks and tries to kill Ghost but they both end up falling over the side of the ledge. Ghost yells for Starfire to run, then starts screaming out, causing an avalanche which kills the vikings but he manages to survive. Finding his father’s sword nearby, Ghost grabs it but is attacked by the viking leader, who had also survived the avalanche, and the two fight on the cliff’s edge, with Ghost eventually killing him and grabs Pathfinder’s necklace from him before he falls off the cliff. At the river below, Pathfinder’s tribe sees the avalanche, then sees Starfire approaching them, who tells them that the vikings are gone. When Ghost arrives at the village, Starfire embraces him and one of the tribe says that the prophecy has come full circle as they see a white horse watching them from a nearby cliff. Ghost is accepted by the tribe while Starfire is made the new pathfinder and the two have a child together while Ghost keeps watch over the coast to make sure the vikings never return.
Pathfinder was pretty much panned by the critics, holding an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “A few rousing action sequences can’t make up for Pathfinder’s non-existent plot and silly dialogue.” Director Marcus Nispel had to cut some of the gore, as well as the sex scene with Ghost and Starfire in the cave, to achieve an R rating for the theaters as well as making additional cuts for timing purposes but these cuts were added back in for the Unrated DVD release. The movie was a flop at the box office, only earning about $30.8 million off of a $45 million budget but did make a profit off of the DVD sales, which added another $22 million to what the movie earned.
I don’t think this was as bad as the critics made it out to be, but I will admit that it is not a great movie. The acting was ok, with Karl Urban doing a good job as Ghost and I liked Moon Bloodgood (Starfire), Russell Means (Pathfinder), and Clancy Brown (Gunnar, the viking leader). The story was honestly pretty basic and parts of the movie were confusing as it would jump from one scene to the next. The action scenes were pretty intense and I can definitely see how some of them would need to be toned down for the theaters. A decent bloody action movie but I there are better ones out there if you are in the mood to watch one.
Rating: 2 out of 5