Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Movies

'Pompeii' explodes with cheesy melodrama

See also

Pompeii

Rating:
Star2
Star
Star
Star
Star

Director Paul W.S. Anderson, known best for helming the video-game-turned-film-series “Resident Evil,” returns to the big screen with the end-of-the-world love story, “Pompeii.”

The mere mention of “Pompeii” conjures the still shocking idea of a region caught unaware by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption, its everyday citizens captured in mundane activities, suddenly trapped beneath an avalanche of ash. But, Anderson seeks not for the audience to truly understand everyday life during Pompeii’s Pax Romana, but rather for us to follow a convoluted gladiator-meets-”Romeo and Juliet” love story while watching an inevitable end-of-the-world spectacle.

“Pompeii” focuses on the story of Milo (Kit Harington), who, in childhood, is the only survivor of his Celtic clan’s slaughter, led by Roman Senator Corvus (Keifer Sutherland). Little Milo is soon picked up by wandering slavers and, over the years, becomes a skilled (almost superhuman) gladiator in arena fighting. His skill set in supreme combat earns him a trip from Britannia to Italy, where he winds up in Pompeii.

Soon Roman slave and super-fighter Milo makes the acquaintance of a fellow enslaved gladiator, Atticus (an appealing Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje of “Lost” fame), and they forge a tenuous friendship based on mutual respect. Milo also catches the eye of Cassia (Emily Browning), a young member of the Pompeiian elite, when he is called upon to render aid to her beloved horse. Cassia, although goo-goo-eyed for Milo, has to contend with another powerful suitor wanting her affections (the return of Sutherland’s evil senator), and all the while the local mountain continues to puff out ominous wisps of smoke.

Ultimately, the soap opera that is “Pompeii” tries to capitalize on the emotional history of the volcanic event in very pulpy, B-movie fashion. Gladiator fights with swords are aplenty, beheadings are the norm, and far too many close-ups are spent on the muscular and ample physiques of its stars. Part “Hercules,” part “Titanic’s” star-crossed lovers, and, strangely, part “The Horse Whisperer” (with Milo’s special ability to commune with the animals), the film attempts to glue together every clichéd happening from both end-of the-world and gladiator films. Nothing really works (or truly makes sense) other than just a base satisfaction in seeing an “artistic” version of how the calamity all went down. While the film is not a total burnout, it would be best seen during some future weekend on the small screen while you half-attend to housecleaning chores. “Pompeii” is rated 2 - of 5 stars.

“Pompeii” is rated PG-13 for “intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content.”

Want to find out more about all the upcoming winter movies, like Liam Neeson’s “Non-Stop?” Subscribe now to new articles at the top of the page. Also, ‘like’ Christine as the ‘San Antonio Movie Examiner’ on Facebook or follow @christinephd on Twitter or @christine0959 on Pinterest. See you at the movies!

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • Mariah Carey
    Mariah Carey requires kittens before a show, but that's not the strangest celebrity rider
    Music Buzz
  • Clayton Kershaw
    Watch Clayton Kershaw throw a ball at Jimmy Kimmel
    Video
    Today's Buzz
  • Jessie J
    Jessie J enlists Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj for her new song 'Bang Bang'
    Music Buzz
  • Journey
    Journey and Steve Miller jam out at the Shoreline Amphitheater
    Camera
    16 Photos
  • Batman
    Batman and Robin Originals reveal comedy secrets at Comic-Con press conference
    Camera
    12 Photos
  • Metta World Peace
    Metta World Peace gets physical during the Venice Basketball League game
    Video
    Sports Buzz

Related Videos: