News

REVIEW: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’

REVIEW: ‘300: Rise of an Empire’

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Action, Drama, War | Run Time: 102 min | Rated: R
Director: Noam Murro | Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey

By: George Wolf

Back in 2006, director Zach Snyder paired a Frank Miller graphic novel with a mostly naked, very beefy Gerard Butler, and ancient Greek history was born. The visually arresting 300 was a stylistic breakthrough, if nothing else. Eight years later, though, it’s tough to understand the point of a sequel.

And yet, 300: Rise of an Empire picks up where 300 left off. It’s less a sequel or a prequel and more of a …meanwhile. That is to say that, while Leonidas (Butler) and his 300 Spartans battle Persian god-king Xerxes on the ground (the previous film’s climax), Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and the rest of Greece takes on Xerxes’s navy, led by the angry Grecian ex-pat Artemisia (Eva Green).

Gone is the painterly quality of the original, an artistic choice that often pays off as it gives the sea battles a little more life. Don’t look for authenticity or gritty realism here, though; the sequel is very definitely cut from the same CGI-laden cloth as Snyder’s epic, but director Noam Murro (Smart People) makes some stylistic alterations here and there.

The sequel is bloodier and rape-ier than its original, all the lurid detail captured in vivid splatter-cam glory. There’s far less exposition and nearly no character development this time around. Murro’s plan of attack seemed to be action sequence followed by rousing speech followed by action sequence overdubbed with rousing speech, and so on.

Given the sheer volume of action (and speechifying), it’s surprising the film becomes so tedious so quickly. To enjoy the full 102 minutes, you might need to have a real itch to see beefcake in battle. (No to shirts, yes to capes in the military uniform? Really?). That is, except for the ferocious presence of Eva Green.

Playing the bloodthirsty naval commander with a grudge against Greece, Green steals every scene and commands rapt attention. She delivers more badass per square inch than the entire Greek and Persian navy combined in a performance that entertains, but also exposes the blandness of the balance of the cast. Even without their shirts.

It’s not the worst waste of time onscreen right now, thanks to Green, but it’s nothing you’ll remember tomorrow, either.

Verdict-2-5-Stars

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Senate Advances One-Month Budget, House Measure Fails

Updated
money

The Illinois Senate has advanced a one-month spending plan that Democrats say will allow critical services to continue as Illinois enters a new fiscal year.

in Local

Illini Women’s Basketball Program Faces Federal Lawsuit

university illinois

The university, the plaintiffs, and their attorneys declined to comment.

in Local

Body Found at Springfield Hotel

local_news_generic

Springfield Police say they do not suspect foul play after a body was found inside a local hotel.

in Local

Texas Congressman Backs Flynn in 18th District Race

7-1-15 Gohmert for Flynn

Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert is on the stump for Mike Flynn.

in Local

Former Treasurer’s Office Employees File Suit

Republican gubernatorial candidate State Treasurer Dan Rutherford participates in a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Springfield, Ill. The four Republican gubernatorial candidates said that they’ll be willing to work with unions if elected but differed on how to approach the relationship during a downstate debate that largely focused on pension reform, taxes and just briefly on personal issues that have dogged some of the candidates.

The suit is the latest chapter in a saga involving sexual harassment claims that undercut Rutherford's 2014 campaign for governor.