Monday, June 16, 2014

Pompeii - Review

A sole surviving Celt grows up to be an upstart gladiator nicknamed, well, Celt (Kit Harington). He's still searching to spill the blood of the Roman general (Kiefer Sutherland) who orchestrated the death of his clan and his parents. Opportunity strikes when he arrives in the coliseum of the titled city, where he gets mixed up with the melodrama befalling a free-thinking ingenue (Emily Browning) and her family, who are trying to negotiate for reconstruction funding with said general. As all of this is going on, the camera occasionally focuses on the next-door volcano, slowly awaiting for Mount Vesuvius to go boom and set up the CGI-extravagant finale. POMPEII isn't actually the most original work of popcorn fare; it cribs from GLADIATOR liberally but not as much as a certain other male beefcake flick released this year. Despite the familiar story elements, the movie is satisfactory enough to kick back and enjoy, able to sustain interest with the viewer and allow them to relish in its throwback nature both to the swords-and-sandals epics and the natural disaster movies. The acting is cheesy smooth, particularly with Sutherland's odd inflections, except for Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who is the dramatic center as a brooding arena champion. It hiccups often with its blatant green-screening at the very end but director Paul W.S. Anderson is able to reverse course with a justifiably uncompromising ending.


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