Friday, March 7, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire Movie Review

Eva Green stars in 300: Rise of an Empire

300: Fall of an Empire

Actions speak louder than words; yet Noam Murro's disastrously dull 300: Rise of an Empire prides itself on long, drawn-out speeches to get its point(s) across. The result? A far cry from 2007's far superior 300; not to mention 102 minutes of squinting in the dark. Murro's sequel takes place before, during and after Zack Snyder's original; but trades testosterone-fueled action for veiled promises and hard-to-see combat. Is it any wonder it's based on a Frank Miller graphic novel that hasn't even been published yet?

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Based on Frank Miller's latest graphic novel Xerxes and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster "300," this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield-on the sea-as Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. "300: Rise of an Empire" pits Themistocles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

What’s Best: Not much. Eva Green flashes her breasts (worth a full letter grade, all by themselves) and does a good job of injecting much-needed bravado into a movie, where most everyone else prefers to talk. Ditto for 300 alum Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo, who kills more bad guys per minute than any of her co-stars. Without the two female leads, there wouldn't be enough action to fill an hour on Starz.

What’s Not: Whose bright idea was it, to turn over a $100 million sequel to a first-time feature director, whose lone claim to fame was making a Powerade commercial almost 10 years ago? Murro proceeds to film most of his movie in a dark room, turning "Athenian shock combat" into a good alternative for Ambien. Stapleton's Themistocles doesn't come close to matching Gerard Butler's anything; and his soldiers appear to need a few more hours in the gym. Toss in a gross overuse of super slo-mo, and a ridiculous string of boring speeches; and it's a wonder someone didn't pull the plug on this movie months ago.

Best Line: Artemisia and Themistocles take turns trying to rape each other in a bizarre scene; until the former stops to comment, 'You're no god: You're just a man.' End of amore. At least she's topless when she says it.

Overall: Green's ta-tas notwithstanding, 300: Rise of an Empire is an exercise in futility from the word GO. We're told on two separate occasions that you need, 'Wooden ships and a tidal wave of heroes' blood' to defeat Xerxes and his Persians. Next time, skip the ships and find a real director... preferably someone who doesn't drown his audience in Powerade.