Presented 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.

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
From Film Noir to Exploitation: Grinding Facts, Theories & Pop Culture into Every Writeup

FEATURED SPOTLIGHT ON

FEATURED SPOTLIGHT ON
Warner Archive, Creature-Features & More

CINEMA BY JAMES M. TATE

CINEMA BY JAMES M. TATE
Active in Online Cinema Writing Since 2006

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

NEW AND RECENT REVIEWS

NEW AND RECENT REVIEWS
Cult and Current & Retro and Relevant

RANDOM BOOTLEGS & RARE

RANDOM BOOTLEGS & RARE
Bootleg Imports from Sue Lyon to Reb Brown

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR

ETERNAL ART OF FILM NOIR
Classic Crime Gumshoe Gangster & Neo Noir

Blog Archive

CLICK FOR TV REVIEWS

CLICK FOR TV REVIEWS
Columbo to Cable to Television Movies

FLICKS FROM THE SEVENTIES

FLICKS FROM THE SEVENTIES
Disco Exploitation Car Chase Bikini Decade

RADICAL EIGHTIES CINEMA

RADICAL EIGHTIES CINEMA
This Website is Run by a Child of the Eighties

Popular This Month

WEBSITE INFORMATION

WEBSITE INFORMATION
RANDOM QUOTE:"You understand literature, movies, wine... But you don't understand my plight." Thomas Haden Church, Sideways

ODD ENDS & MOVIE LISTS

ODD ENDS & MOVIE LISTS
Connecting All Things Into Film Pop Culture

TALES FROM THE INSIDE

TALES FROM THE INSIDE
"I Certainly Admire People Who Do Things."

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE

OUR OWN CORNERSTONE
Dana Andrews is the Patron Saint 'Round Here

DANA ANDREWS ZONE

THE SHORTLIST

 photo Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 1.15.27 AM_zps1hlh418t.jpg
FAV FILMS
1)THE MAN
FROM
LARAMIE
2)JAWS
3)LAURA
4)CANYON
PASSAGE
5)ANATOMY
OF A
MURDER
6)THE BEST
YEARS OF
OUR LIVES
7)THE
FEARMAKERS
8)COMPULSION
9)LAWRENCE
OF ARABIA
10)JOURNEY
INTO FEAR

FAVORITE ACTORS
1)DANA ANDREWS
2)JAMES CAGNEY
3)GENE HACKMAN
4)MARLON BRANDO
5)ORSON WELLES
6)DUSTIN
HOFFMAN
CULT ACTORS
1)CHARLES
BRONSON
2)TOM
COURTENAY
3)VICTOR
MATURE
4)MALCOLM
MCDOWELL
5)LAWRENCE
TIERNEY
6)TIMOTHY
CAREY

CULT FLICKS
1)THE
CROWDED SKY
2)CURSE OF
THE DEMON
3)CORVETTE
SUMMER
4)HOT CARS
5)THE ONLY
GAME IN
TOWN
6)AIR
PATROL
7)THE
DRIVER
8)ASH
WEDNESDAY
9)KING
OF THE
MOUNTAIN
10)OTLEY

FAVORITE DIRECTORS
1)RICHARD FLEISCHER
2)JACQUES TOURNEUR
3)STANLEY KUBRICK
4)OTTO PREMINGER
5)ORSON WELLES
6)DAVID LEAN
7)ALFRED
HITCHCOCK
8)JOHN LANDIS
9)SAM PECKINPAH
10)JOHN GUILLERMAN

STAR WARS & STAR TREK

STAR WARS & STAR TREK
From Luke to Spock to Tribbles to Indiana Jones

All Time Popular

CLICK FOR CLASSICS

CLICK FOR CLASSICS
Vintage Movies & Shows to Drink to

REVIEWS FROM 2011-2013

REVIEWS FROM 2011-2013
Motion Pictures that were Recently New

Blogs of Interest

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE
By Clicking Kenny Dantley's Corvette