Exalted Movie Mondays – Nomad: The WarriorNovember 15, 2010
This movie was recommended to me by none other than Dean Shomshak himself. Due to a small glitch in my planning (i.e. Veteran’s Day and the accompanying lack of mail), I almost didn’t get this film in time to review it today. Fortunately, I managed it, and I’m glad I did. Nomad is an excellent movie, and illustrates a number of excellent Exalted themes.
The basic plot takes place on the plains of Asia, with two peoples, the peaceful Kazakhs and the war-like Jungar, struggling over the land. One man, seeking the heir to Genghis Khan’s legacy, finds a child who is destined to unite the Kazakh tribes. This child and his adopted brother grow together, love together, fight together, and, in the end, must meet their destinies together, whatever those may be. The fate of the Kazakh people rests in the hands of the Ablai Khan.
This struck me as nothing so more than two warring kingdoms set in the Shogunate of Exalted, the time after the Usurpation, but before the Scarlet Empress fought back the Great Contagion and the Balorian Crusade. Oraz, a Sidereal, seeks the fated heir to one nation’s hope, raising and training a pair of Dragon-Blooded to lead the Kazakh people against their war-like neighbors. Mansur and Erali are Dragon-Blooded, sworn brothers, stronger together than either could ever be apart. The remainder of the characters are heroic mortals, caught in the passions of a handful of Exalted and dragged along, some to victorious heights, some to crushing defeat.
There are some issues with the film. Half the characters speak English, while the other half are speaking some Asian dialect, most likely Kazakh (though, since I do not speak Kazakh, I have to presume based on the dubbing options). This makes for some awkward dialogues, where one person is clearly dubbed and the other is speaking natively. It means that, no matter which audio track you use, sometimes people are lip-syncing. Also, the appearance of cannon in the movie is something built up, a major plot point, but in the end, the cannon don’t really make a major difference. The final, climactic battle is… underwhelming.
And yet, despite all that, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. It’s an excellent depiction of a culture that gets entirely too little screen time. While most people make sweeping period pictures about Americans and Europeans (sensible, considering those are usually their target audiences), it was very pleasant to see some of the similarities and differences in Nomad. I have no idea how accurate the piece was, but it was certainly enjoyable.
Despite the movie’s few failings (a wretched waste of Mark Dacascos, for one), I recommend it to anyone who wants more insight into the Shogunate of Exalted, or anyone who likes period movies. It’s an enjoyable historical epic, and both Mansur and Erali are pleasant, likable characters, something seen all too rarely in protagonists these days. It’s not a wuxia flick, but it doesn’t need to be.
Thanks, Dean. I’m glad I watched this.