It was pretty clear to me that this film is a metaphor for a decayed and dying USA which is rotting from within because it kills its children. Mel opens the film with the printed statement, No civilization is ever conquered from without unless it first decays from within" (something to that effect). This film also could be seen as a metaphor for a nation under attack by terroristic outside forces, and the only way to save ourselves is to be strong, as strong as we can be, because only we ourselves can protect our own family.
The characters are very appealing. Respect is shown to aged men and women. Even the villains, vile as they are, are portrayed with a degree of humanity.
Mel has included "religious" themed comments. When the captive Indians are marched away from their village, the youngest children are left behind as unneeded, left to fend for themselves. A woman captive looks back and prays aloud, apparently to their goddess, "Blessed Mother Ochotl, look after them and protect them."
In another scene, the bad guys begin to figure out that a lot of bad luck is coming their way because they've been hurting the hero, a young man named "Jaquar", and one prays to their god, "Father, forgive us for our trespasses against your holy son Jaguar".
This film is a story about a man trying to protect his family. It's very watchable. I had no problem at all following the subtitles.
My only criticism was an unnecessary use of the "f" word in the subtitles, in a phrase "he's f---ed" meaning "his goose is cooked". It got a cheap laugh and I guess Mel did it for his male audience.
Thanks for your personal review of the movie. I just may go see it now!
This sounds like a good vs. evil movie.
(but I'm not happy about the language, either)
Thanks, Ciexyz, for the review and ping.