Good day to you ladies and gents, time for another fresh film review and this one comes in the form of 300: Rise of an Empire. The 300 was fun at the time of its release but after a while I really started to dislike it and thought it was fairly overrated. Now I had zero interest in watching this film, I thought it was an unnecessary film to cash-in on the original’s former success, plus since every film since 300 has borrowed the same kind of visual style and action sequences I questioned whether it was really worth revisiting this world again. But for better or worse the sequel is here so let’s talk about it.
So the story goes like this:
“After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian Army under the command of Xerxes marches towards the major Greek city-states. The Democratic city of Athens, first on the path of Xerxes’ army, bases its strength on its fleet, led by admiral Themistocles. Themistocles is forced to an unwilling alliance with the traditional rival of Athens, oligarchic Sparta whose might lies with its superior infantry troops. But Xerxes still reigns supreme in numbers over sea and land.”
I thought the story was serviceable as it was neither completely bad or really good either. The film presented some engaging and interesting storylines to check out beyond the plot of the last film. I think it was a neat idea to try and do a non-linear kind of film with multiple character stories taking place before during and after the events of the last film, but the execution isn’t as well done as well as other films that have attempted th same style of storytelling. It also doesn’t help that this film has a LOT of exposition that can become quite tiring at points.
When it comes to the characters only a handful of them are worth mentioning as most of the cast are pretty unremarkable and don’t leave that much of a lasting impression. Firstly Sullivan Stapleton is good as Themistocles, as the main guy in this film he had a lot to live up to because of Gerard Butler’s performance and while Stapleton doesn’t have the same kind of screen presence or charisma as Butler, he is still pretty hardcore. Eva Green as Artemisia is a bit of a mixed bag, while Green is gorgeous, deadly and unforgiving, at the same time she is over-the-top, constantly moody and not as cool as I hoped she’d be. Plus Green’s fight scenes were pretty disappointing, they lacked any proper movement, style or unique traits. Lena Headey is still awesome as Queen Gorgo, I think I’ve really warmed Headey since watching her in Game of Thrones, she has a strong, dominant and awesome screen presence and she carries that over to this film to great effect. She was probably my second favourite character because she was cool, beautiful, courageous and could kick ass too in style. And then there’s Rodrigo Santoro who returns to do a good job as King Xerxes, the character still looks pretty ridiculous, but somehow has a very deep and manly voice.
As for the presentation it is decent enough, though there are some flaws. This film preserves the 300 look pretty well, everything is dark, brown-ish and low in shadows. The film is also full of all the violence and slow motion you remember from the previous film… However the slow motion has increased by like fifty percent! I swear everything is in slow motion, people walking, fighting, turning, jumping, sharpening swords, dripping blood or sinking in water, all of it is in slow motion and it gets really old, really fast. About 85% of the film is in slow motion, it is absurd. The action sequences are pretty cool and is one of the film’s highlights, though the green screen doesn’t look as effective as it did before and the CGI blood just looks bad.
In conclusion 300: Rise of an Empire is alright, as follow-up to 300 it is pretty decent. It basically introduces some new characters and story but keeps everything similar in the tone and atmosphere to the last film. If you liked the first 300 then you’ll have fun with Rise of an Empire, however if you’re overly interested in the last film then you won’t find anything new here.
Rating: 6.5/10 (The film mainly works thanks to its over-the-top fight sequences)
So what did you think of 300: Rise of an Empire? Have you seen it or are you gonna see it? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next film review yo. :)