“There will be death and destruction!” cries a Spartan warrior. To which Themistokles responds with all the deep rhetoric and heroic speech characteristic of this film, “Yes, [dramatic pause] there will be.” Riveting and spellbinding, it’s not. I found the stilted overly melodramatic dialogue to be eye-roll inducing rather than moving and inspiring. Nowhere near the visually stunning level and gravitas of the original 300 movie, this “sidequel” has little character development and comes off as one dimensional as its original medium of a comic book. 300 was epic, sweepingly dramatic and full of eminently quotable lines, with each frame a piece of artistic genius. It wasn’t perfect and took some serious liberties in the historical accuracy department, but it was still a great movie. About the only thing Rise of an Empire has in common with its progenitor are the endless slow motion shots of blood splatter. There seems to be stuff floating in the air of most every scene, like ash or sparks and if neither of those are appropriate then they made do with highly visible dust motes. Quite a few gratuitous gross-out bits which added nothing to the story, such as a horse trampling a soldier’s head and a crow extracting and eating a dead man’s eyeball. In all fairness, the first movie had a lot of gore in it as well, but most of it served to heighten emotions or enhance the story in some other way. I give this two stars because Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton give excellent performances and therefore I did enjoy the film at least a little bit. It’s not terrible, just kind of a hollow reprise that lacked the impact and stylized drama of the original. – BETHANY
See? Look at all the stuff floating in the air. Blood, dust, ash, you name it!
Don’t they look like you should be stuffing dollar bills in their waistbands?
Eva Green as Artemesia – and wearing armor that might actually protect her in combat!
Photos courtesy of Legendary Pictures, Cruel and Unusual Films, Atmosphere Pictures, Hollywood Gang Productions and Warner Bros. Pictures