If you were to cross Ten Canoes with any one of the many revenge-fantasy flicks that Mel Gibson has been involved with over the years (I’m thinking Ransom, Payback, Mad Max, Paparazzi, and even the original Lethal Weapon) you would end up with something approximating Apocalypto.
The marketing, and even the title, of this film hint that it is about the downfall of the Mayan civilisation. It's not. I knew nothing about Mayan society before watching Apocalypto and I now know next to nothing about it after watching Apocalypto. That’s not a criticism of the film, it's merely an observation.
Apocalypto is principally about one man's struggle to protect his family and save his own skin from a brutal regime. It is an engrossing, violent, adventure. However, the 500 year old setting and use of subtitles don't really disguise what amounts to yet another film where Gibson explores his favourite theme of violent retribution as a solution to injustice.