News

REVIEW: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’

REVIEW: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’

Photo: YouTube

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

Bells Never Find Footing Against Falcons

bellingham bells pcl logo generic 3

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning, the Kelowna Falcons never looked back and beat the Bellingham Bells 8-1 Saturday night.

in Local Sports

Kah scores 2 goals to lead Vancouver past Seattle, 3-0 

seattle sounders fc logo on ball

Pa-Modou Kah surpassed his MLS career goal total by scoring twice

in Local Sports

Suzuki’s RBI single in 9th lifts Twins past Mariners, 3-2

minnesota twins logo

Kurt Suzuki hit the winning RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning

in Sports

Kershaw extends scoreless streak to 37 innings

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw sits in the dugout before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Kershaw (9-6) struck out seven, walked none and retired his last 15 batters while working on eight days' rest.

in Sports

NBA’s current, former stars put on show in Africa exhibition

NBA Africa 1

The game got serious in the second half: Chris Paul's Team World rallied to beat Luol Deng's Team Africa 101-97.