Runtime: 105 Mins
What To Expect: Blatant Gladiator rip off
This is the second sword and sandals movie I caught this year. The first was The Legend of Hercules, a movie of interest because it was directed by Die Hard 2 director Renny Harlin and starred Scott Adkins – as well as Expendables 3 greenhorn Kellen Lutz. Alas, it was a piece of shit and not only could I not write a review of it, I couldn’t even finish the movie. It happens. This is the second movie from said genre this year. One that I really cannot let fly without comment or ridicule. It is a movie by serial plagiarist Paul W.S. Anderson. And once again we are presented with the question, is this guy fucking serious?
In the movie, ‘that guy from Game of Thrones’ (Kit Harington) plays a Celt kidnapped by the Romans and forced to do PG-13 battle against CGI backgrounds. Before long, say, 12 minutes, the movie runs out of creative juice and resorts to the oldest chestnut in fictional history – lowly scrub/slave starts affair with elite princess while a dickhead elitist jock (played by Kiefer Sutherland, more on him below), is also after her attention. In this movie, Anderson blatantly rips off Gladiator. Both in tone and aesthetics. In one scene, Anderson so blatantly rips off Ridley Scott that you sit there wondering how the man avoids copyright infringement lawsuits. Even the dialogue seems to have been stolen. Having ripped off Gladiator, the movie then sets about ripping off Dante’s Peak. There’s a CGI volcano waiting to erupt, should you stick around long enough to the (bitter) end of this movie to see a few IBM processors at work.
Gladiator looked epic but also had bloody battles. Pompeii has innocuous PG-13 battles. The camera cuts away at ‘those’ moments. Nor does it look epic. In fact in some scenes it looks astonishingly fake, with CGI that is rivalled by the latest PS4 games – most of it crudely set up to accentuate the rip off 3D ‘effects’. It’s no wonder the actors, especially the lead actor, look so deflated. They were probably standing around on scaffold in front of a green screen reciting lines from a shitty screenplay, while a director who doesn’t give a fuck stands around like a tourist. Trust me, that’s what Anderson does, go watch the special feature for Alien Vs Predator.
The only good thing about this movie is Kiefer Sutherland. He plays the baddie. And he’s trolling hard. This is one of those movies where a fine actor realises that he’s in a piece of shit movie and just has fun, winking and nudging the audience. If for no other reason, watch this movie for Kiefer Sutherland’s comedic genius. It’s like his turn in Phonebooth, only amped up a bit. That, and the fact that the movie is so bad, it’s good. It’s a Paul W.S. Anderson movie after all.
The mystery of how Anderson is still finding employment continues. We know how his wife does it, but this guy…