Saturday, August 21, 2010

Box Office Review - Centurion

The sword and sandal genre hasn't had a good entry since 2000s Gladiator. Neil Marshall attempts to give the genre a boost by making a brutal and bloody story about Roman soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. Unfortunately Centurion does nothing to revive the sword and sandal genre.

There are many problems with this film. At first the story seems rather simple. Michael Fassbender plays Quintus the lone survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman fort. After escaping from the clutches of the Picts he ends up with the Ninth legion. The legion gets massacred and a small group of survivors have to try to get to Roman territory before they are slaughtered by the almost supernatural warrior played by Olga Kurylenko. The movie is almost entirely a chase movie which is cool, but near the end of the movie there are some character reveals that are ridiculous and unnecessary. Plus once the characters do end up in Roman friendly territory there is a weird twist that just comes out of the blue.

This movie gets so caught up in adding layers to its story that the characters never are fleshed out or developed. All the characters whether good or bad are all one note. Quintus is a born leader who never sways from his loyalty to the Roman army. The warrior woman only focus is on catching her prey, and the character has had her tongue cut out, so she basically is the Terminator without any lines. The film never establishes a connection between the audience and the characters. Thus I never cared about their quest.

Along the journey of the characters there are multiple action scenes that fail to thrill. The movie uses cg blood and it looks cartoonish and terrible. All the scenes involve close combat sword fighting and are dark and gritty scenes except for all the bright red blood spewing from the bodies. I have no idea how filmmakers especially ones who specialise in genre filmmaking are okay using computer generated blood. Unless it looks as good as practical effects it should never be used.

Everything about this movie is underwhelming and uninspiring. There is one scene where Quintus is buried in a ditch by freshly killed bodies, which is something I haven't seen before. A movie needs plenty more than a good thirty second scene to make it a worthwhile watch. If only this movie was a five minute short instead of an hour and a half feature.

A Banana Peel

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