Rated 3.0

Mel Gibson’s latest spectacular display of adrenalized sadism introduces newcomer Rudy Youngblood as a likable, rain-forest-dwelling family man of pre-Colombian Mexico, captured by a band of marauders and herded off with his neighbors to a Mayan city for human sacrifice. But our hero escapes back into the jungle, dodging his incensed, blood-lusting former captors and meting out incensed, blood-lusting retribution. Gibson’s surety with the material, co-written by him and Farhad Safinia, registers as both an asset and a liability. The action is satisfactorily unrelenting, and characterization is essentially an intuition for the arrangement of compelling faces, blunt but well controlled. Apocalypto is a detail-minding movie with pretensions to significance, but Gibson doesn’t intend the details to add up to any deep understanding. He just wants to lend a little gravity to the blood-soaked bathos of a workmanlike, chase-based thriller. He demands suspended disbelief most assertively, and compellingly.