Director – John McTiernan
Cast – Pierce Brosnan, Lesley-Anne Down, Anna Maria Monticelli, Adam Ant
Release Year – 1986
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I had never had the opportunity to view this debut film from director John McTiernan(Predator, Die Hard, Die Hard: With A Vengeance) until recently, and thanks to my excitement going into this film I wish I had taken my sweet time getting to this one. While the storyline is a unique one focusing on an element I have never seen employed in the genre, it falters as the film progresses and gives us nothing more than an overdrawn uninteresting story that will leave you begging for the ending credits to roll.
Pierce Brosnan stars as Jean Charles Pommier, a French anthropologist new to the city of Los Angeles. Upon arriving in the city he realizes that he is being followed by the spirits of a nomadic group he uncovered years earlier. His curiosity gets the best of him, and it results in a drastic measure that leaves him in a hospital bed. Using his final breath to tell a young doctor about what happened, she as well finds herself in danger when she tries to uncover the meaning behind his words.
The idea of throwing modern day nomads into a horror film was unique to me because I had yet to see that idea employed in the way it was in this film. We have seen this idea before with nomadic cannibals, but these were simply nomads with a taste for reckless activities at the expense of others. While this idea was a positive one, the usage of our main characters, Jean Charles Pommier, the young doctor, and Pommier’s wife was a bit silly and at times it was hard to follow as well. I usually do a pretty good job at following films, but numerous times I was forced to ask myself “so…what’s the point of this?” during this film’s 91 minute runtime, 91 minutes that felt like several hours due to its messy storyline. To make matters worse, the character play between each of the antagonists mixed with the usage of the nomads was uninteresting and was drawn out way too much at times, making this average length film feel like it was much longer than it was.
Director John McTiernan seemed to do the most with what he could at the time, and this being his debut film it was obvious he had a low-budget to work with. His execution during some of the action scenes was very amateurish, and while the majority of this film felt that way there were a few moments of brilliance in the form of pseudo jump scares that definitely made their impact. It is obvious that with his resume McTiernan is a positive director, but this being his debut film it seems he had much to learn at the time, and he obviously succeeded given the awesomeness of Predator one year later.
Overall, Nomads is an underwhelming watch that has a cool premise at first but quickly succumbs to an uninteresting screenplay and mediocre execution throughout most of the film. Despite Pierce Brosnan and John McTiernan involved in this piece, this is obviously not their best work.