Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
With the growing popularity of TV shows like Game of Thrones and Spartacus: War of the Damned and films like Gladiator, Troy, and others of this ilk, it is something of a sure bet that we will be seeing more and more “sword and sandal films (can a remake of Ben-Hur or the film Spartacus be far off?) Well, here we have a recreation of perhaps one of the most devastating natural disasters of the ancient world, the destruction of the Roman city of Pompeii by the eruption of the massive volcano, Vesuvius, in whose shadow she lay.
Set in 79 A.D., this purports to be the epic story of Milo, a Celtic lad whose family was massacred by a Roman Centurion named Corvus (Sutherland) who was tasked with opening the northern trade routes. Milo (who escaped death, only to be captured and sold into slavery and (years later) turned into and invincible gladiator who eventually finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia (Browning), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to Corvus — now a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him.
The early part of the film is the set-up giving Milo (played as an adult by Harington — Jon Snow from Thrones) his motivation for wanting revenge against Corvus, then manipulating events so as to put him in proximity of both Corvus and the killer mount at the appropriate time. Once in Pompeii, he is befriended by Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) another gladiator, and the two of them determine to fight their way to freedom. Truthfully, there is not so much new going on here (imagine Dante’s Peak meets Gladiator), but it is a pleasant enough film, with nice 3D CGI SPFX, as well as competent acting.
We wish we could say more about it (it doesn’t end the way we thought it might), but still not great, but so bad either.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.