Nic’s Review (23/03/2014):
So, interesting story, I haven’t seen all of the first ‘300’. I watched parts of it and dismissed it as the third of the Zack Snyder films I’ve seen that makes me roll my eyes when the action starts. But perhaps my first impression was wrong and misguided. Perhaps I was looking at it the wrong way. Because, having seen the sequel ‘Rise of an Empire’, I now realize that this franchise isn’t aiming for the very well-defined genre of action movies that Hollywood has made me accustomed to. It is purposefully artificial; a grandiose experiment that turns its use of CGI up to eleven with no shame. And all in the name of a bit of 100-minute mindless fun.
Speaking solely of ‘Rise of an Empire’, the fun is in the nonsensical violence and gore of the battle scenes, which are as epic and exaggerated as everything else in the film. This partly comes down to the awesome choice of naval battles as the focus of the sequel. It sounds hard to pull off but the choreography of these sequences is ‘Empire’s greatest strength.
Another standout is the performance of the main cast, or at least the primary two characters played by Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green. A bit of nudity on the part of the latter doesn’t undermine her powerful commanding stance and although it is perhaps gratuitous, it fits with the exaggeration of everything else in the film. I do hope, however, that Green’s role in this film is recognized beyond this scene for she plays one of the most convincing villains I’ve seen for a while, to the extent that I was almost cheering for her to win.
Obviously, there are no awards to be won here. ‘Rise of an Empire’ is a guilty pleasure, one that will be lost in a sea of better polished films as the year wears on. But for now, count me as utterly surprised. In a good, Greek way.