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300: Rise of an Empire: Zack Snyder is nothing special

300: Rise of an Empire


Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

300: Rise of an Empire
Image by Warner Bros.

Markus Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Rated R for strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language

Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:

If you’ve ever had an intense want or need to see a poorly choreographed sequence where a man and a woman engage in hand to hand combat while simultaneously having intercourse, then “300: Rise of an Empire” may be right up you alley. “300: Rise of an Empire” pretty much gives fans what they came to see: unrealistic violence, men with no shirts and all around graphic novel inspired visuals. But director Noam Murro (taking the “300” reigns from Zack Snyder) does throw in his own healthy dose of uninspired casting and a few misogynistic visuals (I genuinely feel awful for those women who were dragged to see this).

Aside from violence which repeatedly slipped back and forth between cool violence and stupid violence, another annoyance stems from the fact that these films are predicated on the slow motion effect, an effect so prevalent and overbearing here that even when characters are simply standing around and chatting, there are floating embers (and dust particles during interiors) in the background, in a constant state of slow motion. There is also a term going around called “speed ramping”, which is when a character on screen begins performing an action in slow motion, but gradually “ramps” up to normal speed in order to give more epic emphasis to the action. This is another overdone effect sprinkled indiscriminately throughout.

That said, the story is actually pretty well constructed. At least it kept my interest. “300: Rise of an Empire”, a storyline which interestingly enough occurs simultaneously with its predecessor but in a different location, follows Greek general Themistokles (I hope I spelt that right) as his small army goes head to head with the seemingly endless Persian army, lead by the bloodthirsty, fetish gear wearing Eva Green (yes, she goes topless, but it’s not worth the 11 bucks) and that bald, tan guy with a super deep voice. But again, I don’t feel that most people who go see a movie like this really care about the story. So, if you don’t, you still have the unrelenting, bloody action sequences and buff guys running with swords in slow motion to look forward to (if that’s your thing).

Final Thought: At the end of the day the one fact which is not arguable is how the look and direction of “300: Rise of an Empire” is not dissimilar to Snyder’s “300”. In fact, aside from the absence of Gerard Butler, everything here looks and shares the same forced epic feel. Meaning, Zack Snyder’s style is not hard to mimic and thus he (as a director) is not nearly as unique as “Man of Steel” and “Sucker Punch” apologists claim him to be. So there!

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