MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Kit Harrington, Emily Browning, Keifer Sutherland
Runtime: 1 hr 42 mins
What It Is: It’s first century A.D. and the Roman Empire is as strong as ever. Milo (Harrington) is a slave turned gladiator who is sent to the titular doomed city to battle for his presumed freedom. Also on her way back to Pompeii from Rome is Lady Cassia (Browning) the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Along the way Milo (whose people, earlier all slaughtered by the Romans) helps Cassia with a horse issue. As both arrive in the city their paths change dramatically. Milo is sent to the depths of Pompeii’s arena and forced to fight, he is set to fight Pompeii’s long standing champion Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Cassia is dealing with Senator Crovus (Sutherland), who is part of the reason she left Rome. Corvus and Cassia’s father are doing business with one and other, Corvus is also the man who slaughtered Milo’s entire people.
What We Think: It’s 1997’s Volcano set in the first century. It is a disaster film mixed with Gladiator. The trouble with this film is that it’s terrible. Shot in 3D (which I viewed it in.) there were far too many elaborately shot for 3D. Whether it was a useless set up shot featuring a statue, or some other object in the foreground on purpose it really took you out of the film. That’s where my issues with the 3D end. I think it helped enhance this film. It didn’t have a strong narrative, or particularly incredible performances so it needed the visuals. It is also bogged down by a ridiculous love story that was Jackson 5 (easy as A,B,C) all over. While the setting was period the visual effects weren’t as crisp as should be expected, and the arena scenes came off as a poor mans Spartacus.
Our Grade: D+, I’ve never been a fan of Paul W.S. Anderson i’ll make this abundantly clear. His films are often, as is the case here all style and no substance. At least with fodder like Resident Evil, and Death Race we’re having fun. Here there is no fun just a really lame love story with the backdrop of impending doom. There some interesting stuff like an arena fight reenacting the Battle fought by Corvus against Milo’s people. Akinnuoye-Agbaje is also especially good here, and one of the only tolerable characters within the universe. This film opens February 21st, feel free to judge for yourself, but you’ve been warned!