`Apocalypto' is merely gruesome

review c-

December 08, 2006|By Michael Sragow | Michael Sragow,Sun Movie Critic

Abandon hope, all ye who enter Apocalypto. As Mel Gibson tells us in the portentous TV ads, the title means "a new beginning," but the movie returns to the beginnings of movie melodrama.

Although it's told in a Mayan dialect, with English subtitles, the movie is just an arthouse film for jocks. Only the surface is exotic: the Mayan empire in its late-decadent phase. Otherwise, it's as if Gibson feels the audience has never seen a film before. The life-or-death jeopardy is so basic, he might as well be filming a good guy trying to stop a train before it hits the damsel tied by the bad guys to the railroad tracks.

Apocalypto (Touchstone) Starring Rudy Youngblood, Raoul Trujillo, Rodolfo Palacios. Directed by Mel Gibson. Rated R. 138 minutes.

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