A superpower invades a distant undeveloped land and is continually
thwarted by guerrilla fighters whose unconventional savagery flummoxes
the superpower's ordinarily triumphant troops. As one soldier puts it,
“This is a new kind of war, a war without honor, a war without end.”
No, not Afghanistan: this is 2nd century Northern England, where the
Picts are resisting the Roman Empire with great success. Actually, I'm
not certain the filmmakers were intent on drawing parallels with
modern times — because after a suggestive set-up, most of the rest of
the film is pure action. And what action! Some of the best hand-to-
hand combat scenes ever filmed, with a gore factor that uses blood in
an almost Abstract Expressionist way: swords, arrows and lances
inflict wounds that explode and splatter like a Pollack. The period
feel comes and goes — now archaic, now modern — but this is bang-up
entertainment for sure. — Jeff Schultz

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