Published on March 7th, 2014 | by Emmanuel Stratford0
REVIEW: 300: Rise Of An Empire
After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes’ army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by Admiral Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton). Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops but Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.
The original ‘300’ was a stunningly realised movie, a massive calling card for director Zack Snyder and a whole lotta fun to boot. It never screamed out for a sequel so when one was announced a lot of fan-boys shouted ‘cash in’ but this film is far from it as this is better than it ever deserves to be. Set during and after the originals mighty David v Goliath battle, this film takes to the high seas and visually it’s nothing short of stunning.
Newcomer Noam Murro takes over the directing reigns from Snyder and brings his own spin on the brutal speed up and slow down action of the first film, plus the sea skirmishes are innovative and breathe taking. While the movie relies heavily on voice-over and exposition throughout, which can get a little much sometimes, it is needed to explain who is who and propel the movie forward. The action, visual effects and music are all turned to full volume, the blood flows, body parts fly and this is all you want from this type of movie.
Sullivan Stapleton takes over lead duties, while he’s no Gerard Butler; he makes Themistocles his own and brings an air of pathos to his character. Lena Headey returns as Queen of the Spartans and has much more to do here while David Wenham’s return is little more than an extended cameo. Rodrigo Santoro also returns as god king Xerxes but while the movie fills in his back story his character never really grows from what we knew of him in the original film. This is Eva Green’s movie though as her portrayal of Artemisia, the only woman among the Persian army, is a powerhouse performance bringing angst and vulnerability to a role that could have been one dimensional.
If you enjoyed the original then you’ll certainly enjoy this film as it amps up the carnage to 11, well worth a trip to the cinema, especially in IMAX 3D.
‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ is out in cinemas now.
Summary: This sequel to '300' is a lot better than it deserves to be but that's not a bad thing, bask in it's bloody glory.