A Roman soldier (Michael Fassbender) leads a small band of troops on a mission to rescue a key Roman general after becoming trapped in the territory of their sworn enemies in this period action-adventure film from director Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday). The year is A.D. 117: despite the growing strength of the Roman Empire, a fierce tribe known as the Picts has prevented Hadrian's armies from conquering northern Britain. The Picts offer a devastating display of their guerilla power when they raid a Roman frontier fort, and Quintus just barely manages to escape with his life. Thirsting for revenge, Quintus joins General Virilus' Ninth Legion as the squadron begins traveling north on a mission to find and kill Gorlacon, the leader of the Picts. That mission is complicated when the Ninth Legion is ambushed and General Virilus is captured, leaving his men stranded behind enemy lines. Now, as the Quintus and the surviving members of the Ninth Legion are hunted from the shadows, they prepare to make one last, desperate bid to save General Virilus and reach the Roman frontier before being captured or killed by the Picts. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Neil Marshall
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey.
Release Date: Aug 27, 2010
Rated R for grisly images, strong bloody violence and language
Runtime: 1 hr. 37 min.
Genres: Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
Neil Marshall’s Gladiator meets The Warriors bloody exercise is a surprising film in many ways. Throughout the run time there are blood spurts aplenty, body parts are cleaved at a amazing rate, Marshall’s ability to keep this interesting and shoot it beautifully elevate this film over the usual genre garbage. Marshall has an exceptional talent to create films that keep genre fans happy (see The Decent, Dog Soldiers & Doomsday) but what’s generally overlooked is his growth as a filmmaker. Marshall gives this film an epic feel with huge expansive landscape shots that gives the audience a real scene of the location. It sounds like a small thing but visually it’s a huge plus for this film that occasionally falters with hackneyed scripting. The cast is all game with only a few hiccups. Michael Fassbender is impressively comfortable in a leading man role. He brings a nice sense of gravitas even when delivering some of the more wooden dialogue. Olga Kurylenko is hit or miss throughout; occasionally she finds the right sense of danger and menace while other times it looks like she’s just playing dress up. Marshall’s wife Axelle Carolyn actually comes off far more menacing in a small role. Dominic West delivers solid work but he’s given a terribly small role. Those looking for a strong history lesson should probably look elsewhere but those looking for a solid piece of genre filmmaking that’s fairly entertaining throughout should find plenty to like here.