Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 91
    Filmed in long, quiet takes across gorgeous, all-but-empty landscapes, Mountain Patrol feels more like Gus Van Sant's "Gerry" than like the cops-and-robbers thriller its plotline suggests.
  2. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    This is a one-of-a-kind action flick: a tale of triumph tinged at every moment with tragedy.
  3. 90
    Extraordinary on many levels...because Mountain Patrol instead becomes what might be the first Chinese conservationist spaghetti western ever made.
  4. 88
    What is remarkable is that this film is based on a true story, and filmed on the actual locations. These are hard, violent men, risking their lives to save an animal species.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    88
    This largely non-verbal picture uses only as many words (spoken in Mandarin and Tibetan, with English subtitles) as necessary, and draws you in as surely as one of his characters, in an amazing sequence, is drawn into.
  6. Mountain Patrol is breathtakingly beautiful, breathtakingly brutal and simply breathtaking.
  7. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    88
    A fascinating film that also benefits greatly from the stunning scenery of the Tibetan plateau and from a quicksand scene that will leave you gasping.
  8. It is a grimly exciting film that is picturesque and brutal by turns.
  9. 80
    Mountain Patrol: Kekexili is sometimes slow going, yet it builds in power as nature begins to take its toll on the patrol, and its cumulative effects are haunting.
  10. These kinds of merciless conditions lead to a culture that is stoic about life and death and a story that will surprise you by its willingness to embrace that unsentimental natural world.
  11. Films about environmental catastrophes tend to wax preachy, putting pedagogy and scolding above art. This one, for all its sorrow and the throb of righteous anger it provokes (only about 50,000 antelopes remain), is more than anything a work of creative imagination.
  12. Reviewed by: Russell Edwards
    80
    Exquisite to behold and with a stimulating storyline that mixes guns with ecological consciousness, picture is a considerable change of pace for director Lu Chuan.
  13. 75
    The stunning adventure Mountain Patrol: Kekexili is like a John Ford western set, not in the master's beloved Monument Valley, but in remotest China.
  14. Reviewed by: G. Allen Johnson
    75
    Other than raising awareness for endangered wildlife, Mountain Patrol: Kekexili doesn't have anything profound to say, but it has a lot to show.
  15. 75
    Never has a movie so soberingly made the fight to save life and the struggle to hold on to it seem so futile.
  16. 75
    Kekexili is about how human beings, when passionate about something, can put everything, including their lives, at risk for a cause.
  17. Reviewed by: Ethan Alter
    75
    The result is a film that's almost unremittingly bleak, but also consistently compelling.
  18. Reviewed by: Daniel Wible
    70
    Ultimately a complex meditation on this moral conundrum, a raw tale of survival against impossible odds, and a dashing adventure yarn all in one.
  19. For all of its well-schooled orthodoxy and visual splendor, Kekexili remains somewhat off-kilter--the characters' passionate wartime camaraderie and doomed sense of martyrdom aren't quite reflected in the facts of volunteer service and devotion to a balanced ecosystem.
  20. Ford would probably have grumbled about some things in this picture--some moments of confusion about who is who--but he might have been pleased to see that his influence, so marked in many countries' films, had reached China and Tibet.
  21. An intriguing export with crossover appeal.
  22. 67
    In all that empty space, the film gets a bit lost.
  23. The altitude, extreme cold, quicksand, and crushing poverty are potent dramatic elements, but of course there's no mention of China's complicity in the area's economic ills; instead writer-director Lu Chuan frames the story as a showdown between the head ranger and the leader of the poachers.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. JohnG.
    Sep 30, 2006
    6
    Monotonous, depressing, with little redeeming qualities except for some breathtaking cinematography.