News

REVIEW: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’

REVIEW: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’

Sullivan Stepleton stars as Themistokles in "300: Rise of an Empire." Photo: Associated Press/Warner Bros. Pictures

Genre: Action, Drama, War | Run Time: 102 min | Rated: R
Director: Noam Murro | Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey

By: George Wolf

Back in 2006, director Zach Snyder paired a Frank Miller graphic novel with a mostly naked, very beefy Gerard Butler, and ancient Greek history was born. The visually arresting 300 was a stylistic breakthrough, if nothing else. Eight years later, though, it’s tough to understand the point of a sequel.

And yet, 300: Rise of an Empire picks up where 300 left off. It’s less a sequel or a prequel and more of a …meanwhile. That is to say that, while Leonidas (Butler) and his 300 Spartans battle Persian god-king Xerxes on the ground (the previous film’s climax), Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and the rest of Greece takes on Xerxes’s navy, led by the angry Grecian ex-pat Artemisia (Eva Green).

Gone is the painterly quality of the original, an artistic choice that often pays off as it gives the sea battles a little more life. Don’t look for authenticity or gritty realism here, though; the sequel is very definitely cut from the same CGI-laden cloth as Snyder’s epic, but director Noam Murro (Smart People) makes some stylistic alterations here and there.

The sequel is bloodier and rape-ier than its original, all the lurid detail captured in vivid splatter-cam glory. There’s far less exposition and nearly no character development this time around. Murro’s plan of attack seemed to be action sequence followed by rousing speech followed by action sequence overdubbed with rousing speech, and so on.

Given the sheer volume of action (and speechifying), it’s surprising the film becomes so tedious so quickly. To enjoy the full 102 minutes, you might need to have a real itch to see beefcake in battle. (No to shirts, yes to capes in the military uniform? Really?). That is, except for the ferocious presence of Eva Green.

Playing the bloodthirsty naval commander with a grudge against Greece, Green steals every scene and commands rapt attention. She delivers more badass per square inch than the entire Greek and Persian navy combined in a performance that entertains, but also exposes the blandness of the balance of the cast. Even without their shirts.

It’s not the worst waste of time onscreen right now, thanks to Green, but it’s nothing you’ll remember tomorrow, either.

Verdict-2-5-Stars

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Seattle wins US Open Cup, beating Philadelphia

Fresh
New Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, of Switzerland, dives to block a shot during MLS soccer practice, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Tukwila, Wash. The Sounders open the regular season on March 8 with a home match against Sporting Kansas City.

Seattle also won three straight titles from 2009 to 2011

in Sports

Union appeals Rice’s indefinite suspension by NFL

Updated
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice sits on the sideline in the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Thursday, Aug. 7. Rice was suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the regular season, but was cut by the Ravens before he could serve out the suspension. Photo: Associated Press/Nick Wass

Rice was originally handed a two-game suspension in July under the NFL's personal conduct policy after he was charged with assault following a Feb. 15 altercation with his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

in Entertainment

CBS: Rihanna out of NFL telecast

In this Sept. 24 photo, Rihanna performs in Perth, Australia during the first concert of the Australian leg of her Diamonds World Tour. Photo: Associated Press

CBS and Rihanna are splitting up after more fallout from the Ray Rice incident.

in Local Sports

UW basketball TV schedule released

uw university of washington huskies new court

The University of Washington and the PAC-12 have released the television broadcast schedule for the 2014-15 basketball season.

in Sports

Sacramento Kings to retire Stojakovic’s jersey

Sacramento Kings' Vlade Divac, left, and Peja Stojakovic chat on the bench during the first quarter of Sacramento's preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Los Angeles, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2002. The Kings won 115-94.

The Kings announced Tuesday that Stojakovic's jersey will be retired when they host Oklahoma City on Dec. 16