By Joan Alperin Schwartz
'300: Rise Of An Empire' is shot in the same breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster '300' which starred Gerard Butler a few years back.
This film, however, is not a sequel. In fact, it runs parallel to the first one, so you don't need to have seen the first movie to follow this one.
'300: Rise of an Empire' takes place long, long ago, in a far off land, which I'm sure you've heard of...Greece...a place big on democracy and philosophy. Unfortunately, if Persia has their way, there won't be much reading or philosophizing going on.
After some back story, we are introduced to, Athenian General, Themistokles (the very well chiseled, Sullivan Stapleton) who heads the Greek Navy and is about to go up against, the Persian Naval fleet, commanded by the awesomely fierce, awesomely hot, Artemisia (the mesmerizing, Eva Green)
The bloodthirsty, super cunning, Artemisia, who was actually born Greek, was betrayed by her countrymen when she was a mere child, and now, her only goal in life, is to wipe out every Greek on the planet. And the lady has the power to do so.
Not only does General Artemisia have the ability to decapitated a small army with one swing of her sword, her brother, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) has gone from being a mere mortal to a God-King.
That's right folks, the dude, who happens to look pretty good in his gold lame loin cloth, took a dip in a lake one day and came out a God.
Added to this mix of warriors...is the Spartan Queen, Gorgo (Lena Headey) who acts as both storyteller and leader. It's her voice that guides us through the story.
Guess the screenwriter, Zack Snyder, was afraid the audience was too dumb to figure out what was going on by themselves.
For me, it was the two women, Eva Green and Lena Headey that elevated the film and kept me interested.
Yes, the 3D is good, but after awhile, having gallons of blood, body parts and heads thrown out you, becomes a bit tiresome.
The film does have some humor that comes in a surprising way...Don't want to spoil it, but it has to do with a visit Themistokles makes to Artemisia's ship to talk truce, but they don't get too much talking done.
'300: Rise of an Empire' opens in theatres Friday, March 8th and is based on the graphic novel 'Xerxes' by Frank Miller.
I gave it 4 bagels out of 5 because in the end, I really did find it great fun.
Check out our Two Jews On Film video for more of my thoughts