(2/11/11; Drama, Adventure)
Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, Tahar Rahim, Denis O’Hare, Douglas Henshall
SCR: Jeremy Brock
DIR: Kevin Macdonald
MPAA: PG-13 for battle sequences and some disturbing images.
1 hour 49 mins
In 140 AD, a headstrong Roman soldier named Marcus Flavius Aquila (Tatum) is severely injured in a battle with Celtic tribesmen and discharged into his uncle’s care. He ultimately attempts to honor his father’s memory by heading into the uncharted lands of Caledonia to retrieve the lost legion’s golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth. He is joined on this quest by his slave Esca (Bell), who proves to be pretty handy in a fight.
I’ll give Macdonald credit for crafting a sword-and-sandal movie with striking widescreen vistas and an old-school sense of gravitas. But without any real rooting interest for moody, hunky Marcus, it all amounts to two hours of swordfights, horses, ashen sunsets and monologues about honor and freedom.
The only one having any fun is Sutherland, who shows up for a few scenes as Marcus’ bemused uncle. While I tend to give movies like this a wide berth regarding accents and cultural accuracy, I’d be will to wager that words like “piss,” “shithole” and “fart” weren’t everyday phrases. (Focus)
— DENNIS WILLIS