Written by / 2/22/2014 / No comments / , , , , ,

PAUL W.S. ANDERSON'S POMPEII

year: 2014 rating: ***
It seems like forever since Kiefer Sutherland played a jerk, something he did quite well before beating time on a television series – and right off the bat he’s the really horrible Roman who kills our future hero’s family… But the kid is much too young to do anything about it, for now…

If this sounds like the opening of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, within the next half hour POMPEII becomes more like THE PRINCESS BRIDE and eventually morphs into a GLADIATOR version of TITANIC… And yet with all these influences, it’s still an original and surprisingly worthwhile motion picture that resembles an epic but thankfully keeps focused on a basic storyline.

Milo, played by Kit Harrington, is the grownup version of that unlucky little boy, and as a slave he’s destined for something much better than trudging around in chains. As fate would have it, after being able to mentally bond with a dying horse, he catches the interest of a beautiful young lady, Cassia.

In the love-interest role, full-lipped Emily Browning is lovely, chaste, and, like most sheltered ingĂ©nues, downright mopey… but not on an annoying level. Her father has a connection with a Roman ruler, Sutherland’s evil Corvus, visiting Pompeii for a gladiator match the following afternoon. And he really wants Buttercup’s… or rather, Cassia’s reluctant hand in a forced marriage.

Meanwhile, in a murky dungeon beneath the coliseum, a battle champion named Atticus, played by a tough, slowburn Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (try reading that five times fast), is set for his final bow… so he’s promised… before being set free. And that death match will be against the newly captive Milo, who might be his only equal: not in strength but cunning agile. 

Beyond the unrequited romance of Milo and Cassia, the real dynamic occurs between these two fighters. With all the threats and bravado, and the eventual kinship, you’ll be anticipating this matchup... only there’s a problem… make that a really big problem in the form of a rumbling volcano, shadowing the entire region, threatening to turn this gladiator flick into a bonafide disaster film.

Thankfully there is one chaotic coliseum battle before the historic volcano goes completely haywire. But how each character remains fighting for their lives while still viciously pitted against each other (ala TITANIC) – even when flaming lava rocks are plummeting to the earth – keeps the story character-driven, trumping the desperately futile situation…

Too bad there weren't more scenes, as Bob Dylan once wrote, “spent inside the coliseum, dodging lions and wasting time.” Because director Paul W.S. Anderson created a pretty neat stage only to let it melt away during most of the second half. And while it really would have been terrific to see the two unlikely friends fight each other… just to see who’d win.... eventually there’s enough closure for every character to make POMPEII a satisfying action-packed melodrama.
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Connected Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

All Time Popular

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Cinema Lists & Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

IN THEATERS OR STREAMING

FOR TELEVISION REVIEWS

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

WEBSITE INFORMATION

WEBSITE INFORMATION
Random Quote: "Death's at the bottom of everything, Martins. Leave death to the professionals." Trevor Howard to Joseph Cotten, The Third Man

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR

Blog Archive

ALL SCIENCE-FICTION

THE SHORTLIST

FAVORITE MOTION PICTURES
1)THE FEARMAKERS 2)JAWS 3)THE CROWDED SKY 4)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 5)HARDCORE 6)HOT CARS 7)THE DAY THEY ROBBED THE BANK OF ENGLAND 8)OTLEY 9)CANYON PASSAGE 10)VIOLENT SATURDAY

TEN FAVORITE ACTORS & DIRECTORS
1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)ORSON WELLES 5)JACK NICHOLSON
6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)ROD STEIGER 10)JAN-MICHAEL VINCENT

1)RICHARD FLEISCHER 2)JACQUES TOURNEAR 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)JOHN LANDIS 7)MAURY DEXTER 8)MICHAEL WINNER 9)SAM PECKINPAH 10)JOHN GUILLERMAN

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

Popular This Month

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE
Take a Glance at DANA ANDREWS Cinema

Blogs of Interest

HORROR TERROR SLASHER

SOARING IN THE SEVENTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE