Customer Reviews


547 Reviews
5 star:
 (148)
4 star:
 (176)
3 star:
 (133)
2 star:
 (48)
1 star:
 (42)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


225 of 242 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Muscular battles in the bitter North.
This is a story set in the time of Roman Britain. It begins with the `myth' of the 9th Legion, which might have been destroyed in battle with the wild Picts of Scotland. The bulk of the story though is concerned with the flight of a small group of survivors and the merciless pursuit of their fierce and vengeful enemies.

Frankly I struggle to understand the low...
Published on August 11, 2010 by John E. Larsen

versus
70 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Technically Impressive Epic That Sometimes Fails The Logic Test
When I first discovered director Neil Marshall, I was an instant fan. In the horror genre, he did some solid work with the satisfying werewolf tale "Dog Soldiers" and the sublimely staged "The Descent" (which I know has its detractors, but for me was one of the most entertaining films of its year). The "Mad Max" retread "Doomsday" was an inevitable disappointment--but...
Published on August 25, 2010 by K. Harris


‹ Previous | 1 255 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

225 of 242 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Muscular battles in the bitter North., August 11, 2010
By 
This review is from: Centurion (Amazon Instant Video)
This is a story set in the time of Roman Britain. It begins with the `myth' of the 9th Legion, which might have been destroyed in battle with the wild Picts of Scotland. The bulk of the story though is concerned with the flight of a small group of survivors and the merciless pursuit of their fierce and vengeful enemies.

Frankly I struggle to understand the low profile of this film and the lukewarm reports. In my opinion it is a perfectly reasonable movie with some exceptional aspects. These include the stunning scenery which really conveys the bracing cold and desolation but also beauty of the far-North. It looks like an ancient land, all rugged and wild and is almost worth the price of admission alone. The Picts are hard as glacial ice, tough and violent and look very impressive too.

With the story itself I had a few quibbles but it was serviceable. The action scenes were generally good, even tense in places but I was annoyed with some battle scenes which featured the modern technique of very frequent and too fast cut-a-ways, making it hard to know exactly what was happening. A note here, it is very bloody - there are flying limbs, very crushed body bits and blood splattering everywhere. This is however what the weapons of the time did. Both sides are shown as the hard cases they were too. The Picts are savage but the Romans were hardly the Red Cross. The characters are adequate, with the Pict King and the deadly female tracker being quite impressive. I enjoyed watching the Roman legion on the match and in battle, though its camp routine seemed different to the acknowledged practice. But the uniforms and armour looked pretty good to a layman like me. There was also some funny soldier by-play to provide some chuckles.

So, it's well filmed, showing the era about as authentically as you can get. The story itself is ok. There are some good twists and at times, some real tension! In all I found it to be very entertaining. It is a muscular film that deserves an audience. If you have interests in ancient warfare, you should find this quite rewarding.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully gritty realism in historical fiction, however unhistoric, November 11, 2011
By 
Robert J. Crawford (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Centurion (DVD)
This is an absolutely excellent historical fiction film, granted with extreme license. OK, I am a Roman history pedant and aficionado of historical novels, so I brought to this a critical eye, but also a hope that I would get enveloped in the narrative, in subtle character, in wonder at the endless varieties of human ambition. At this, it was so successful that I forgot the present with complete delight, even after 2 full viewings.

In terms of history, this is fiction based on speculation about what happened to the 9th Legion, which disappeared from the historical record without a trace - the only way to limn what happened to them is to piece together ambiguous clues, such as the inscriptions on grave stones scattered throughout the former empire. The time is that of the Emperor Hadrian, the golden age of the Roman Empire - the series of good, circumspect emperors who governed judiciously and without the insane excess that is remembered with Nero or Commodus. Rome is one of the largest stable empires the world has ever known, though it has experienced resistance in certain areas, such as the Picts in Northern Britain or the Parthians in Central Asia. Whatever happened, the film that concocts an explanation, and it is as plausible as an other, with plenty of fictional speculation and fantasy thrown in to build a narrative.

To be honest, the film either works for you or it doesn't. All I can say is, if you liked HBO's Rome, this is the same kind of grainy, highly textured portrait, just not in the center (Rome) but on the periphery. I believe this preference is personal and subjective, a pure matter of taste. It is extremely bloody, with realistic battle sequences that are not for the squeamish.

The plot follows a non-commissioned officer (Centurion), acted by the wonderful Michael Fassbender. Long a fighter of Picts (he knows their language), he survives an attack on an outpost and is rescued by the 9th, who are about to make war on the Picts. They are led by the incredible Dominic West (of The Wire), a charismatic general who has led his men to glory in Spain and is now establishing them in Britain; he is a gifted brute, but extremely popular with the men, from whom he rose by talent. Their scout is Olga Kurilenko (yes, a Bond girl), a mute and mysterious young Pict.

After the quick decimation of the 9th, Fassbender and a handful of survivors seek to rescue the general by duty, deep in Pict Scotland. Upon failure and an unfortunate murder, they must flee for their lives while an elite corps of Pict warriors pursue them with a blood oath of vengeance. At their head is a killer of singular talent, whose family was brutalized and executed before her eyes, then she was raped and left for dead. As described, "she is an empty vessel that can only be filled with Roman blood." When you see her, you believe it. I will not reveal what happens, only to say that it is acted to utter perfection.

There has been much criticism of the Romans as "good guys" in this film. I think it is far more subtle than that: no one is good, no one bad, they are all just striving to live the way they want, in accordance with their traditions. The Picts are genuinely savage warriors, but the reasons for their ruthless ferocity are completely clear: the Romans brutilized them in unspeakable ways as demonstrated more than once. For their part, the Romans are simple soldiers, part of a military machine the likes of which the world had never known. They are not good guys, they just are what they are: disciplined killers who will follow their leaders to the death for duty and hopefully glory. They are tougher beyond imagination, with their own codes of honor, though clearly one of the survivors is a sociopath. Another much criticized plot incident is the girl and love story. I suppose you could say it is unrealistic, but what the heck, it is a movie. To me, it was believable and moving (in however a superficial way you might want). Roman political machinations are also surprising, believable, and subtle.

This is not the kind of thing a pedant like me should pick apart. It is just a darn good story that completely absorbed me for 2 viewings. I will certainly watch it again. Warmly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


70 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Technically Impressive Epic That Sometimes Fails The Logic Test, August 25, 2010
This review is from: Centurion [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
When I first discovered director Neil Marshall, I was an instant fan. In the horror genre, he did some solid work with the satisfying werewolf tale "Dog Soldiers" and the sublimely staged "The Descent" (which I know has its detractors, but for me was one of the most entertaining films of its year). The "Mad Max" retread "Doomsday" was an inevitable disappointment--but didn't dispel the notion that, at least, Marshall had a visual flair. I was intrigued to see him wander into "Gladiator" type territory with "Centurion" because the man can stage one heck of a battle. While the film, which is certainly better than "Doomsday," has a lot going for it--sadly, it ends up missing the mark. My guy reaction as I turned to my friend at the end was "Man, I wanted to like that much more than I did!"

I was genuinely and actively rooting for "Centurion" to be more wholly satisfying--so I guess that's a positive comment in and of itself. First off, the film looks absolutely incredible. The sweeping countryside and mountainous terrain as the camera pans across is breathtaking. The battle sequences are alive and bloody--not as dreary as some recent higher profile epics. The film sounds fantastic with a pulsing orchestration that fits the film beautifully. But the film's greatest asset is its star Michael Fassbender. A sensation in the art house favorite "Hunger," Fassbender claims leading man status with ease. His grounded physicality and intelligence shine through--at times, you think that he's smarter than the material he's been dealt.

The film covers the period of A.D. 117 when Roman troops were engaged in a struggle and trying to advance upon the the Picts in the Scottish highlands. The Picts employed guerilla tactics to hold the Romans off for 20 years. I won't, but could, debate historical accuracy in the film, but it is clearly meant to be an adventure yarn and not a historical treatise. However, the film seems to want us to identify with the Romans and brand the Picts as the villains when all they wanted to do was defend their land from being conquered. Not so bad in my book. My main issues with the film is that sometimes the screenplay can be conveniently silly. Several times the Picts don't finish off the stragglers after the epic battle by choice ("oh, just let him bleed"). Their guerilla camp is invaded by not one, but about 6, Romans soldiers in a rescue attempt--not very alert for guerillas! And a tracker who could trail soldiers for hundreds of wilderness miles couldn't find them in a one room cabin! These are but a few examples that had me scratching my head.

I won't even discuss the unnecessary twist ending or the tacked-on romance, I'll just say that "Centurion" ended up losing some of my good will. I'd probably still recommend the film as light entertainment, especially if you put your brain on hold, but I wanted it to be great! But look for Fassbender elsewhere--he's going to be big (I hope)! KGHarris 08/10
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive considering the budget was just $10 million, August 16, 2010
Centurion is your formulaic hack and slash movie, but Michael Fassbender (he played the British leftenant in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds) steals the show here. The movie is set in Britain during Roman rule and just prior to the construction of Hadrian's Wall. Pict tribes and barbarians are constantly skirmishing with Roman troops, raiding border towns and attacking forts. Neil Marshall explores a fictitious version of events to explain the disappearance and demise of Legio IX Hispana. While the real 9th legion may have suffered a defeat by Boudica, queen of the Iceni, we're treated to an interesting version wherein the entire legion (led in a brief appearance by Dominic West) is decimated while fighting the Picts, leaving a few lone survivors who band together to fight guerrilla style in order to maintain their survival.

It is here that Fassbender shines; he is charismatic as the de facto leader of the surviving band of Roman soldiers cum guerrillas. Liam Cunningham is one of the other recognizable actors in the band of soldiers, and he plays the usual gruff veteran soldier, just as he did in Clash of the Titans. The rest of the soldiers are largely unknowns, well, at least to this American viewer. Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later) makes an interesting appearance as a witch, and the witch storyline feels strangely out of place in the movie. The witch is more of an afterthought in an effort to provide some romantic interest to Fassbender. The plot is predictable, but the movie is a guilty pleasure. I'm surprised they were able to equip as many Roman soldier extras as they did in lorica segmentata. Too bad the pila are used incorrectly; it seems Hollywood (I'm looking at you too Gladiator) never gets it right.

For those of you concerned about violence, yes, this movie shows Roman-style warfare in all its brutal, gladius glory. CG blood abounds, heads are bashed, limbs detached, and abdomens disemboweled. One scene with a deer's intestines strangely reminded me of the tauntaun scene from Empire Strikes Back.

Overall, an impressive job for just a $10 million budget.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another twist on the 9th legion, July 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Centurion (DVD)
Good story, good action and battle scenes and a ruthless enemy, you what they say about a women scorned, this one is going to try and exact her revenge.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did Brendan Behan write this?, September 16, 2012
This review is from: Centurion (DVD)
CENTURION (2010, 97 minutes) is a fine endless battle-and-chase-and-battle-and-final-gigantic-showdown-battle Roman-era film. That is, if you like this sort of meaningless tripe action film. Set in 117 A.D., and as always centering on the mysteriously vanished 9th Legion, Michael Fassbender actually gives an unusually riveting performance as Centurion Quintus Dias. That's right, they gave him a Spanish name that probably wasn't even in existence yet, but Romans will be Romans in whatever century they occupy.

Of course, as I translate the only-half-authentic Roman name, it is symbolic: I narrowed its translation to either a literal "Five Days" or the much more humorous, symbolic "Days [are] Numbered". An even funnier way to read it is "How Many Days" and I assume that should end with a question mark. Yep. "Quintus Dias" does it to me every time.

Here, north of Hadrian's then-new wall, Dias and only a few others survive horrific, gore-laced battles with the Picts (who amazingly speak modern Irish Gaelic, right down to the Anglicized mispronunciations, instead of speaking Pictish, which language is a mystery to us anyway).

I began laughing as they were haunted and hunted by a vicious, supernatural Pictish woman called Etaine (wrongly credited as "Etain", a Goth makeup nightmare by the name of Olga Kurylenko). Those ladies were tough fighters but they weren't like this. This lady mows down Romans as if they were Legos.

There isn't much for me to add to this. There are just too many other films running along these lines, such as the equally ghastly King Arthur (2004, see my review), 300 (2006), the excellent family film The Last Legion (2007, see my review) and the equally excellent and underrated The Eagle (2011, see my review). Of these, THE EAGLE and THE LAST LEGION are by far the finest.

I was very impressed by the beautiful Imogen Poots who plays Arianne, the outcaste Pictish witch. Actually she is a healer who got the bad end of the stick - much like Dias will discover he's getting from the Empire after he gets back home. Though here agin a major stumble, since she is altogether far too reminiscent of Sam Neill in Merlin (Special Edition) (see my review).

One thing I can say I am heartily sick of seeing is the set of common refrains running through these films (I back down from 300 because I have no time for a film like that): you can always count on stupid anachronisms galore, phony Celtic peoples ("Hey, why not make 'em all Irish?"), a Roman on a stupid quest, other colorful foreigners fighting with the Roman on his stupid quest, badly spoken Gaelic or Gobbledygook, Ice Age weather, very bad history overall, vast oceans of blood, violent battles that go on too long and finally, Romans deciding Britain is the pure land and defecting from the Empire.

Oh, and let us not forget Hadrian's Wall, which is a bit like the obligatory pratfall in every comedy. It is poetic, a little bit of it is occasionally true - for the most part it is a repetitive bore to see that stuff repeated ad nauseam. Hey! Maybe they should have named Fassbender's Roman soldier Ad Nauseam. Better than Your Days Are Numbered.

My recommendation is you watch the other films I mentioned before you see this one. You may find once you've seen a bit of it that you don't want to waste your time watching regurgitations. Then again, you just might develop a bit of a soft spot in your heart for this thing, as I did.

It was the really good Roman-era Arthurian film (THE LAST LEGION) and the stunning quasi-gay-Roman-plus-Celt-love story (THE EAGLE) that created that soft spot. Only, I hope it doesn't turn out to be a softness in my head!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A VISUALLY STUNNING HUNT, January 28, 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Centurion [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
CENTURION is not really a history lesson. It is however great entertainment. The photography is breathtaking and on blu-ray one of the best in picture quality I have seen so far.
The often mentioned "logical errors" I can live with. This is more of an action movie anyway and there's a lot of very bloody action in it, well deserving the R rating.
Great and well-paced direction by Neil Marshall (Doomsday, The Descent) this is in my opinion his best work so far.
All of the cast (mainly British actors since this is a British production) are excellent in their roles, Michael Fassbender as always, is outstanding, but the best performance is by Olga Kurylenko, who plays the mute pict scout Etain. Playing a character without dialogue can be very difficult, but she is totally believable every second she is on screen.
The director thanks Walter Hill in the end credits, a nod to THE WARRIORS which has some similarities to the story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some thoughts on 'Centurion', December 22, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Centurion (Amazon Instant Video)
I thought this a credible attempt at explaining the mysterious disappearance of the Roman 9th Legion. Olga Kurylenko does a tremendous job...without one spoken word! And, her handling of that spear is really something to see! The film depicts the last days of Rome in Britain as they work on completing Hadrian's Wall; essentially trying to seal off the land of the Picts (Scotland) from the rest of Britain. The film has very good cinematography, amazing scenery, well done battle sequences, slimy politicians, and a very interesting end; who could ask for more! The film depicts the Romans as the heroes, though I feel the Celts are the real heroes of the story of Rome in Britain, and that the soldiers of the 9th Legion got exactly what they deserved.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence...Passed The Suspend Disbelief Test, August 24, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Centurion (DVD)
5 stars because this film excels in all respects; script, acting, directing, editing, and most importantly culminates in great entertainment. The tale and journey of the fate of Rome's 9th legion is credible (regardless of historical accuracy) and action packed from the get go...lots of relevant gore too (it's a realistic Roman soldier film) ...this production is a collectors item. It is why great talent in making motion pictures requires a solid education and experience....and is so obvious in this epic film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars like it, July 31, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Centurion (DVD)
battle scenes were great. good story line natuire scene great.all uniforms were rightn on.i in joy watching it again any time
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 255 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Centurion
Centurion by Neil Marshall (DVD - 2010)
$14.98 $5.00
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.