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By the Will of Genghis Khan (Tayna Chingis Khaana) - arthouse and international DVD / foreign language DVD / action and adventure DVD review
BY THE WILL OF GENGHIS KHAN (Tayna Chingis Khaana) Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 2 1/2 stars
Featuring: Eduard Ondar, Oleg Taktarov, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Orgil Makhaan
Directors: Andrei Borissov   Distributor: MTI Home Video
DVD release: 07 September 2010   Runtime: 120 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DVD, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.77:1, Audio tracks (Russian - Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital 2.0), Subtitles (English), Trailers

BY THE WILL OF GENGHIS KHAN(Tayna Chingis Khaana)BY THE WILL OF GENGHIS KHAN is an epic war actioner truly in the spirit of Braveheart and Troy. Unfortunately, the film is uneven: though breathtaking in scope and cinematography, it is very thin in terms of plot and character development.

The film tells the story of Temujin, who would eventually become the infamous Ghengis Khan. It starts at childhood, as he becomes sworn brothers with Jamuka, who saves young Temujin from drowning. Years later, a tragic incident occurs: as young Temujin ascends to power, one of his men kills the blood brother of Jamuka for attempting to steal a horse. Temujin had to put the law ahead of friendship, leading to an eventual blood feud between the two former friends.

The clear strength of the film is the cinematography. Shot on location in Russia and Mongolia, the landscape is both breathtaking and fearsome. Many shots involve the camera sweeping down from great heights onto isolated figures. The scenery shifts from barren, windswept plains to mountains that offer views from miles above the earth. The battle scenes are epic in scope, and beautifully choreographed, with seemingly thousands of extras staging elaborate battles on horseback.

Where the film falls short is in plot: it simply tries to cover too much ground. The story hurtles too fast from Temujin's childhood to his young adulthood to his ascent to power. It becomes too confusing to keep track of major characters, or why the audience should care about them. It seems that Temujin almost overnight goes from being a traumatized child to a leader of an army without any true explanation as to how. The film rushes the first act too much in order to hurry to the battles scenes in the second half.

Another weakness: the DVD quality. MTI lacks the finances of the big studios, obviously, but the print the DVD is based on is of poor quality which sadly detracts from the cinematography. A high quality Blu-ray is likely not in the cards, but such a print would greatly enhance the overall quality of the film. Still, fans of epics might enjoy this one as a rental.
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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