This sweeping epic explores the formative years of the great Mongolian conqueror Genghis Khan. As a nine-year-old named Temudgin, Khan's life is marked by tragedy after his father is murdered by a rival angered by the boy's decision to choose a bride, Borte, from their clan. A fugitive throughout his youth, Temudgin evades the vengeful Merkits and eventually grows into a defiant man (Asano) determined to claim Borte (Khulan). But fate deals him an ugly hand after a falling out with his blood brother, Jamukha (Sun), leading to a vicious war.
Stunning production design, breath-stealing landscapes, and loads of horse-heaving battle sequences outfit Bodrov's thrilling widescreen epic, which turns Genghis Khan's early life into a screen legend worthy of David Lean. Japanese actor Asano plays his part with steely determination and fierce nerve, but this film is really more about the grandly exotic action and location settings. Hollywood movies have a lot to learn from “Mongol,” an old-fashioned spectacle geared for 21st-century tastes.