Rewatched 11th March 2017, originally watched Jan 2007, and I’m left with the same general impression. A lot of action and blood and running around the jungle screaming and shouting. But it really did nothing for me. Skip it.
Okay, that’s a bit harsh. It tells its story competently, and I did like the first quarter or so, the tribe in the jungle doing their thing. But once the evil dudes arrived it just turned a bit boring, imo. Run, slash, despair. repeat. So interesting because of its cast and use of language. Also, I liked that the setting was pre-European contact, but then of course at the end we have the ships arrive, which undoes some of the good for me.
Original thoughts below …
I’m not really too sure what to say about this film, because I came out of it thinking “what was the point?”
The story is a fairly simple one; Jaguar Paw is captured by an evil tribe who want to rip his heart out in sacrifice to the gods. He on the other hand doesn’t want this to happen, especially as he has left his heavily pregnant wife and young son hiding, and now trapped, back near his village.
Yes it looks great, and yes it keeps you interested, but it really isn’t anything more than that. If this had been shot in English I’m guessing that it would have had no more comment than any other action flick. Instead, because it of its setting and the language used it has had all this media hype. But in the end, it is nothing more than an action/adventure film with plenty of blood splattered about the shop. There are no real characters to the film. Jaguar Paw is the hero; okay so at the beginning his father warns him not to have fear, but that is essentially his character, to be the hero. Other characters are similarly lacking in depth. There is the evil sadistic bad-guy, the evil just-doing-his-job bad guy. The comic relief guy, blah, blah, blah.
There are good things about the film, the actors do well in the roles they are given, but they are never overly stretched. The action is gripping, and you’ll be entertained. But in the end I was left with a sense of “and your point is?”
And as for this whole notion that the film is about the downfall of the Mayan empire, it isn’t. Yes, it shows the Mayan’s and their great city, and their cutting the still beating hearts out of their enemies’ bodies, but that is just to provide something for Jaguar Paw to fear and run from. The Mayans here are simply the generic bad guys of any action film.