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Awesome: 35.04%
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8 reviews, 89 user ratings

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by Dawn Taylor

"Just in time for Christmas -- Disney's "Mayan Vivisection Adventure!"
3 stars

With his recent alcohol-fueled, anti-Semitic kerfuffle with the Malibu police, it’s difficult to separate Mel Gibson’s real-life shenanigans from his work as a director. Given the themes of faith and a civilization’s ultimate downfall in his latest picture, perhaps one shouldn’t watch the Mayan thriller “Apocalypto” without remaining mindful of Gibson’s radical Catholic beliefs.

And yet, this is a surprisingly mainstream action picture – albeit a really freaky one with a whole lot of gore – with moments of real beauty and suspense scattered amid the almost non-stop violence.

Shot in the jungle on digital video and cast with a collection of indigenous natives, Hispanic actors and Native Americans who speak their lines in the Mayan tongue (the film is subtitled), the story focuses on a village chieftain’s son, Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), who serves as an analog for Gibson’s Passion of the Christ version of Jesus – an almost superhumanly strong hero who endures the destruction of his village, the slaughter of his father and a near-miss with a temple priest’s knife to run through the jungle and ultimately turn the tables on his captors.

The film is drenched with Gibson’s unique brand of crazy, with Apocalypto coming off as a sort of a fantasy in which Jesus, after suffering the more brutal lashings and beatings at the hands of the Centurians, is able to escape into the jungle and turn into Rambo.

His view of the Mayans is laid out at the beginning of the film with a quote from Will Durant – “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” The beatings, scalpings, stabbings and gushing buckets of blood that accompany the attack on Jaguar Paw’s village are merely a prelude to the set-piece atop the temple steps when the captured men are served up for sacrifice and their still-beating hearts are cut from their chests.

The journey through the teeming Mayan city to that point could be used as footage for anti-immigration propaganda films, as thousands of brown-skinned people butcher animals in the streets, cough up blood as they’re forced to mine rocks, and enthusiastically cheer each severed head that’s bounced down the temple stairs. The Mayans may have had an impressively advanced civilization for their time, but Gibson presents it all as an unsanitary trip through a Third World version of Gomorrah.

Gibson indulges his love for pornographic levels of violence throughout, and the historical accuracy of it all is questionable, but one can’t dismiss “Apocalypto” entirely. As with “Passion,” this is a film made by someone who’s seriously disturbed, but not without talent. It’s all quite fascinating in the same way that one slows down to look at a particularly gruesome multi-car collision – you don’t really want to see it, but you can’t look away.

You may not agree with Gibson’s politics or with his view of ancient cultures, but one thing’s for certain – it’s sure to be the best R-rated Mayan adventure film with graphic depictions of vivisection that you’ll see this holiday season. Just don’t eat a big meal first.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15289&reviewer=413
originally posted: 12/08/06 14:03:53
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2006 Fantastic Fest series, click here.

User Comments

8/31/20 morris campbell brutal & boring sorry 2 offend any fans 1 stars
8/04/14 sara ausome movie 5 stars
10/05/11 TC Lol its not history. there is no historical account of a man named jaguar paw 5 stars
5/16/11 sam bonner apoalypto is an amazing, one of a kind movie and no honest person could deny it 5 stars
8/22/10 Stephen O'Donnell This film is an epic in every respect. The Academy is disgraced!!! 5 stars
8/03/09 Steve Hock Great movie! Great Kukulkan! 5 stars
9/04/08 Bob Uninspiring. The chase scene is well done, however a bit overkill timewise. 3 stars
8/26/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome storyline! 4 stars
6/03/08 ASH I thought this movie was excellent 5 stars
5/12/08 Dion Kay Get educated & lrn d history! This is NOT fiction or Star Wars, this IS HISTORY, u idiots! 5 stars
4/18/08 Karrie Millheim An amazing movie, i liked learning more about the Mayans 5 stars
3/07/08 Pamela White gripping story, filming, location and acting makes you forget subtitles 5 stars
2/12/08 Lorenzo Electrifying. A veritable masterpiece. 5 stars
12/16/07 gibson' alter ego got it too. a nutcase making crap & butchering history for his friend Mr jesus. hallelujah 1 stars
11/28/07 Dee "I got it", if you believe in Christ, (and I do) you are thankful he is your God. 5 stars
10/29/07 Double M I kept wondering what the point is till the 'end'. should've known better(signs). Tyvm, Mel 1 stars
10/15/07 beau a very upbeat movie, well made on a low budget, actors took good direction from mel 4 stars
8/17/07 Jubei A well filmed movie with very little research on Mayan culture.Entertaining. 3 stars
8/12/07 Annonomiss Brutal violence, endless chase. Really tough to watch. 2 stars
8/08/07 EZ $$ Great movie a little strange but still great 4 stars
7/28/07 Charles Tatum Solid, but not nearly the gorefest you are led to believe 4 stars
7/17/07 Indrid Cold Skillfully made, but about as deep as a frisbee. 3 stars
7/11/07 TreeTiger Excellent movie ... Braveheart in the Jungle. 5 stars
7/06/07 adam review the movie, not the director. you seem to have trouble with that (see:transformers) 5 stars
7/04/07 Piz Great Cinematic Adventure, a little gratuity but a great central character to root for 4 stars
6/18/07 sam bonner much better than people were expecting. A violent view of a lost world. 5 stars
6/15/07 mr.mike much better than expected 4 stars
6/05/07 tracey chambers beautiful movie. very violent but still a great movie 5 stars
6/02/07 fools♫gold People who charted the stars had no sanitation? I dunno... 5 stars
5/31/07 the wizz don't eat before watching. quite gory and intense. good movie 4 stars
5/14/07 matt Very enjoyable but not very deep. Hugely violent so basic Gibson fare 4 stars
5/08/07 Cindy awesome 5 stars
3/17/07 Alice Good work mel ! Great actors, visually perfect. 5 stars
2/24/07 Regina George didn't really survive the school bus accident Drags at first, then suspense mushrooms, then overkill at end. 4 stars
2/21/07 Beau extremely compelling, cant stop thinking about it!!! 4 stars
1/30/07 cherrian eecen an empty cinema at 9pm on Tuesday cheap night. A wonderful feeling of disquiet as I left 5 stars
1/24/07 tony L THE BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!! Action Packed! Symbolic. 5 stars
1/16/07 subba Daring and bold direction from Mel and a worth watch on big screen. 4 stars
1/15/07 Sumixam Fantastic movie - Very enjoyable 5 stars
1/08/07 MP Bartley Bold and vivid, if just more of Gibson's obsession with naked men being tortured. 4 stars
1/08/07 daveyt A touch predictable plot-wise with gratuitous gore decent movie none the less 4 stars
1/03/07 DINA unexpected plot, but worth of seeing... 4 stars
12/31/06 norman grant it's about the humility each civilization should have of itself. 4 stars
12/27/06 Agent Sands Though I don't stand for the animal violence, it's directed with intense realism. 3 stars
12/27/06 Jim Accomplishes the rare trick of making the Spanish conquistadors seem maybe not so bad. 4 stars
12/26/06 Mauro the best! 5 stars
12/26/06 Brian Great Movie, its harsh critics are exposed as narrowed by their bias. 5 stars
12/25/06 Man out 6 bucks Eye candy, pointless story. A Mexican 1st Blood Pt. 1. Jaguar Paw is Mayan illiterate. 3 stars
12/25/06 John M. Best movie I saw so far this year (which is over now). Go see it!! 5 stars
12/21/06 Joe Historically flawed, but a superb action film and bold cinematic experiment. 5 stars
12/18/06 Sam as much as I didn't want to like this movie it won me over 4 stars
12/18/06 Criddic2 Nicely photographed, exciting and entertaining. 4 stars
12/18/06 Barry I gave it a C minus until the Christians came to save the day. Final grade: D+ 1 stars
12/16/06 Dave Good film, great action, good acting. Gibson does it again! 5 stars
12/15/06 Sylvia True story. Loved it! 5 stars
12/15/06 Quigley Not as gory as people say, but still pretty gruesome. Mel's direction is good. Wait for DVD 3 stars
12/15/06 Brian Mckay Last of the Mohicans - without Whitey. Watchable, but not much of a story. 3 stars
12/15/06 Ole Man Bourbon Bad film, ridiculously great movie. Lots to digest from this product of Mad Mel 5 stars
12/14/06 Roger Ebert If you guys keep reading shit like this, you will smell of shit..Mel Gibson sucks 5 stars
12/14/06 shaun lawton Narrowminded, simplistic, thoroughly UNoriginal, give it up Mel 2 stars
12/14/06 christina whatever,he displayed the mayans pretty accurately,and they were violent.still some errors. 5 stars
12/14/06 orpy mixture of Predator & Last of the Mohicans! Laughable! 2 stars
12/14/06 Dave C Good Movie - more gore in the first five min of Private Ryan than in the whole movie. 5 stars
12/14/06 La Mancha Those who don't like it are hystrical wusses. Loved it! 5 stars
12/14/06 Jeremy best movie of 2006 5 stars
12/12/06 excitement lover mel gibsond rules!!!!! apocalypto the way to go!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/12/06 jdean62 Not a Gibson fan !! However I was surprised i loved the movie... 4 stars
12/11/06 Ray Lanthier pathology + lotsamoney + racism+ historical inaccuracies = Apocalypto 1 stars
12/11/06 john D dumb movie but pretty. Would bo ignored if it wasn't for Gibson 1 stars
12/11/06 Tiffany awesome movie!! 5 stars
12/11/06 Timothy Wilken Important Film for all adults. Much to think about. Masterpiece!!! 5 stars
12/11/06 Luisa great movie, great actors...unforgettable 5 stars
12/11/06 margo this movie kicks ass 5 stars
12/11/06 Chuck Banner More like ridiculoso. Another history from Mel based on heresay. 1 stars
12/11/06 John Eaglehawk great film.. Gibson puts it all on the line. tells it like it was.. 5 stars
12/11/06 steph Best movie i seen in years..love jaguarpaw 5 stars
12/10/06 lee Better than most action flicks out today!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/10/06 Nighy Another cinematic masterbation by Mel Gibson- pathetic. 1 stars
12/10/06 Kimberly Lynn Cole FANTASTIC film, visually purely stunning 5 stars
12/10/06 scotty great movie. is not as gory as a lot of reviewers have made it out to be 5 stars
12/10/06 Rob Adcox Outstanding film -and #1 at the box office! 5 stars
12/10/06 ahnold Engaging good vs evil story. Almost 2 much gore/sadism. Worth 1 look. 4 stars
12/10/06 Carl Chappell It's very fast. But I thought they ate the corpses? 4 stars
12/09/06 Craig Best movie of the year. "Anti-immigration" propaganda my ass. 5 stars
12/09/06 scott the best and worst of humanity captured in an amazing film. 5 stars
12/09/06 adam g b kyklux tempus, a hollow experiance! faith , no? 4 stars
12/09/06 ed christensen surprisingly excellent. oscar worthy, but given gibson's recent indiscretion, no chance. 5 stars
12/08/06 action movie fan spectacular, stunning brethtaking the naked prey the fugirive--a modern action film set in 5 stars
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  08-Dec-2006 (R)
  DVD: 22-May-2007



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