Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review - 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

Starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Lena Headey.
Directed by Noam Murro.
Runtime: 1hr 43mins.

Synopsis: Greek general Themistokles leads the charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

300: Rise of an Empire is the long awaited sequel/prequel/whatever to Zack Snyder's classic historical epic which was released back in 2007. The story of this film is tied heavily to the first film as we see the association of our primary character Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) to King Leonidas, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and the Persian wars.

The Good?

300: Rise of an Empire has the same gorey visual style of its predecessor so you'll pretty much feel right at home. The action sequences and slow-motion are decently choreographed and not overbearing -- I thought the CGI would look like shit for certain scenes but they actually did a decent job with that. The story of this sequel takes place before, during and after the events of the first movie, which could have been a total disaster but kudos to the director for handling the tie-ins and storytelling aspect decently -- it works as both a prequel and sequel. The movie is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel 'Xerxes' so I did learn a bit more about the God-King and what led to his reign -- to which I appreciated. The character that stood out the most to me was Artemesia (portrayed by Eva Green). She was cruel, convincing and made an excellent villain. Everything else -- not so much.

The Bad?

I am sure director Zack Snyder would have done a way better job than this. This is a sequel driven by style, and god-awful dialogue. 300: Rise of an Empire has basically the same plot as the first movie but the difference is, it was as uninspiring and uncharismatic as its lead character. Say what you want about Gerard Butler as an actor but he was the driving force of the first movie and did so superbly. Sullivan Stapleton did not command the screen at all and for a movie filled with battles and speeches, it all felt rather stale -- even the narration was stale. Eva Green was the only convincing character as far as I'm concerned. Everyone else (even the actors who reprised their respective roles from the previous film) seemed so bored and it rubbed off on me -- I was bored to death. These were some of the little things that made the first movie so memorable and it was quite lacking here.

I like the tie-ins and some of the action scenes but this was a really lacklustre followup.

Rating: 4.5/10


  1. Decent popcorn entertainment and I think that's about it. Nothing weighty or life-changing at all. Good review Shawna.