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You get what you pay for!
on March 18, 2014
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, knew right from the start exactly what it wanted to accomplish, and did so with a minimum of substance and a maximum of style. Now, for some viewers, this will be completely satisfying...and other viewers may find the film lacking in key areas. It's time to find where you lie.
If you like: hyper-stylized, slo-motion violence, flying bodies, spewing blood, epic music, giant battles, buff actors, sexy actresses, shouted speeches, stylized cinematography, battle scenes of dubious historicity, Eva Green chewing the scenery, earnest performances from a ripped cast, dastardly villains, blood, sweat, and rain, heavy R-ratings, and relatively simple-minded, stylish and macho war movies...
Then congrats, 300: Rise of an Empire is for you!
But if you like: historical accuracy, a strong plot, subtle acting, practical effects, morals, and an accurate depiction of ancient combat...I suggest you pick up Gladiator or read Herodotus. Rise of an Empire isn't the type of film for you.
If you saw Zack Snyder's visceral, testosterone-packed 300, then you know much of what you're getting in it's sequel. Now, Rise of an Empire isn't as good a film as 300, and I think we know why that is: the story of 300 Spartans fighting to the last man against terrible odds... is a much stronger story than a leader building a bunch of ships to go fight other ships. Secondly, Sullivan Stapleton, while suitably buff and a capable actor, just doesn't have the gravitas of Gerard Butler.
Thankfully, our returning cast - the amazing David Wenham, the strong-willed Lena Headey, and the insanely over-the-top Rodrigo Santoro as the eight foot god-king Xerxes - all give surprisingly good performances. Sullivan Stapleton holds his own, and his deep voice is the voice of a born leader. But it is Eva Green - scary, subtle, ruthless Eva Green that steals the scenes as Artemisia, the Persian commander of thousands of ships.
You know much of the rest: flying buckets of blood, sloooooow thenreallyfastmotion! gravity-defying leaps, flying arrows, swinging swords, sweaty six-packs, a drained color palate, flowing robes, and stylized gore. Zack Snyder pioneered it all in 300, and his style is borrowed for better and for worse by director Noam Murro. As I said before, know where you lie with this sort of film, and it will fulfill all it sets out to do!
My rating? 3.5 blood-drenched stars, rounded up to 4!
P.S. If this review was helpful in your decision, please give it a like. Cheers!