“Pathfinder,” reviewed by Susan Granger

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If you liked “300,” there’s more violence and bloodshed to be had in this brutal revenge thriller.

Apparently, at least 600 years before Columbus discovered America, the Vikings did.

These rampaging Norsemen raped, pillaged and slaughtered Native Americans in the idyllic New World. Somehow in the savage melee, a young boy was separated from his clan and adopted by sympathetic Wampanoags. Given the name Ghost because of his pale face, this hunter/warrior (Karl Urban) grows up loyal to his tribe, “People of the Dawn,” vowing revenge on the Viking invaders who stage massacre after massacre. Armed only with spears and arrows, the Indians put up a courageous fight. “You must face the destiny of your past to know who you really are,” Ghost is told.

Despite the fact that he not only has a sword but knows how to use it, Ghost is taken prisoner by the lumbering Vikings; he’s not killed because they want him as their guide as they trudge from village to villages, fatally ignorant of the vagaries of spring weather. Why they’d trust him remains a mystery, particularly since he’s lost none of his blood thirst, particularly when his native girl-friend (Moon Bloodgood) is in peril. The Vikings may richly deserve Ghost’s treachery but audiences certainly deserve better these chaotic clichés.

Screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis and director Marcus Nispel (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) revel in grisly gore: macabre whippings, throats cut, limbs severed, spears plunging, reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto.” While veteran Native American actors like Russell Means, as a tribal chief, aim for authenticity, leather loincloth-clad Karl Urban evokes memories of “Xena: Warrior Princess.” On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Pathfinder” is testosterone-propelled 3. Whatever significance the legend had gets lost amid the repellent butchery.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.