Saw it, enjoyed it. It’s a formula capture-escape-chase action adventure set in the 16th century Yucatan.
What Mel seems to have done is compress and combine many different things to make it all straightforward. In short, it looks like he took a primitive village on the periphery of the Mayan world, but not actually really part of it, and put it a couple of days’ walk from a city. The city is portrayed as failing socially and economically in the manner of the Maya in the early medieval era, but is depicted at a much later time period, and has a lot of Aztec trappings (such as the production-line sacrifices: The Aztecs could get through 20,000 sacrifices a day). So the film combines the local civs and compresses a few hundred years to get Mayan decline, Aztec brutality and the arrival of a different kind of nasty into a 120 minute movie.
What’s disappointing about it isn’t really the inaccuracy itself, because it’s still beautiful and convincing, but the fact that by abstracting it into a kind of smorgasbord of Mesoamerican cultural trappings, it precludes him from homing in on details. The film really doesn’t have a lot of detail, despire the use of a local language and its unique subject matter suggesting a lot would be offered.
Another thing is, I think, the brutality itself is fun, but not really necessary. This could have been another Braveheart – honestly, a great family action film – were it not for the bouncing heads, flopping bodies with blood squirting from severed necks, rotting mass graves, silly OTT hunting traps, etc etc.