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Reviews and SPOILERS

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:22 pm

2. Centurion

When my sister first fingered the teaser to Centurion, I was unimpressed because it did not seem to be my kind of film. Group of Roman soldiers trapped behind enemy lines, struggling to fight their way to safety while being very, very brutally slaughtered by Picts. Despite popular assumption, I do not automatically buy into any massacre film premise that promises blood and gore. That would mean I like Eli Roth films. I do not like Eli Roth films.

Comparisons of Centurion to that Eli Roth film, Dog Soldiers, did not help its standing in my eyes. What did, however, was my sister's namedropping - namely, Michael Fassbender vs Olga Kurylenko.

Michael Fassbender, for the unfortunates who never watched Inglourious Basterds or 300, is great. He speaks fluent German, looks like a cross between Ewan McGregor and George Sanders, and directed a stage adaptation of Reservoir Dogs when he was eighteen. For charity. And right about now he is landing in tonnes of exciting stuff. In Centurion, he's the lead Roman soldier trying to survive being Picked Off By Picts. He's compared it to Apocalypto, a film once aptly summarised by Lintong as "this man who runs. And runs. And runs."


I like watching films about running people. They're so admirable. Back in school, I could barely pass my 2.4.

Said Picts are led by Olga Kurylenko, the latest Bond girl. Personally I didn't think she bypassed any standards in Quantum of Solace, and her role in Max Payne was just painful. No pun intended. Too many puns have been made about that film title (all well-deserved, though). We've come to the conclusion that she may be better in roles where she doesn't have to speak. Which is great, because in Centurion her character is tongueless! Which leaves her free to unleash buckets of pain without being encumbered by complicated dialogue. Super.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:50 pm

http://andydougan.blogspot.com/2010/03/one-down-one-to-go.html

Wednesday, 31 March 2010
One down, one to go

Centurion is the first of two films out this year taking is their premise the mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Legion in Scotland in the early part of the second century. The other is Kevin Macdonald's Eagle of the Ninth due later in the year. The fact that the 'disappearance' of the Ninth was probably down to a bureaucratic blunder rather than wholesale carnage doesn't seem to make a difference here.
The film is an unlikely choice for Neil Marshall on the back of cracking genre films such as Dog Soldiers and The Descent; however once you get into it the choice turns out not to be so surprising after all.
The period and location give Marshall another opportunity to do what he does best which is essentially a tense drama about a group of people banding together against an implacable enemy. In this case the small group is the remainder of the Ninth Legion - destroyed in a sequence of spectacular carnage - and the implacable foe are the Picts who are hunting them down. Apart from the setting it could just as easily pass as a Western in terms of its genre components.
The motley bunch feature some stirring performances especially from Michael Fassbender in the title role and the cosmopolitan nature of the Roman army is an opportunity to provide roles for Noel Clarke and Riz Ahmed; not the sort of actors you would rush to cast in a historical epic. Historically the film is a joke for reasons too many and tedious to go into here but Marshall's fans don't want historical accuracy.
What they want is gore and he delivers by the blood-filled bucket. All arrow strikes have to puncture eyes or heads; all sword strokes have to sever limbs, all spear thrusts have to transfix the victim, any blow to the head must result in decapitation and so on. Filmed in glorious HD it certainly makes for a very effective piece of genre cinema, if a little relentless.
One thing that does puzzle me are the ' fly through' titles and the extensive use of helicopter shots. I get the sense that someone somewhere might have thought about converting this to 3D but perhaps had a change of heart. Or it may just be that the possibility of an audience becoming used to 3D means directors are changing their visual thinking; either way it is not a welcome development.
Posted by Andy Dougan at 06:28

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:41 pm

http://thefilmsmith.com/2010/04/02/neil-marshalls-centurion-first-review/

Neil Marshall’s Centurion: Early Review

April 2, 2010 at 12:05 am

The last time we saw the Romans in ancient “Britannia” was in The Last Legion or the better known King Arthur. The Last Legion played with King Arthurian legends, as well as the myth of the 9th legion, which is where Centurion comes in.

In the film, the Roman Empire is trying to finish its campaign to conquer northern Britannia, but the local farmers, the Picts, have dropped their plows and picked up their swords to meet the invading forces. Roman soldier Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), is captured after his outpost is ambushed, but escapes from the Picts to report back to the Roman Governor. Dias and the 9th Legion are sent into the North to crush the Picts once and for all. However, when the 3,000 are reduced to 7, the men are pursued by Pict trackers. The men struggle to out-maneuver their hunters, while also battling the elements as they try to get home.

The first 1/3 of the film plays out like most historical epics, tons of men going to battle, lots of shiny armor, but the film becomes lively when it’s 7 men trying to get home. By whittling down the characters, director Neil Marshall can do some character building and focus on individual fight sequences over the blur of large skirmishes – all of which are pouring blood.

The best part of Centurion is when it plays with audience sympathies. Comparisons have often been made between the “empires” of Rome and the U.S., with both invading countries and being met with guerilla fighters – which is the exact setting for the Romans in Centurion and the U.S. in Afghanistan/Iraq.

So when we learn in Centurion that the Pict king assumes his title because the invading Romans have killed his wife (akin to civilians in Iraq taking up arms after purposeful or accidental killings of friends and family by U.S. military), the present is nagging us in this fictional past. These complexities are not avoided (the film makes these points explicit), but they aren’t directly engaged after being presented either. Marshall is obviously trying to do something different with his historic epic, but the subtext is never allowed to take center stage, as frequent battles and an ad hoc romantic sub-plot hog the limelight.

The Descent is the film that has emblazoned Neil Marshall into the hearts of film nerds; we’re always wanting him to repeat that amazing experience. Centurion isn’t as good as The Descent, but where Marshall’s last film, Doomsday, was a mess, Centurion sits comfortably as a good action film.

And compared to other historic epics, it’s well above Troy and near Gladiator* quality. Go see it expecting a bloody war flick and you’ll be alright.

*although I would recommend Gladiator’s inspiration, Spartacus, before anything else

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 05, 2010 1:22 am

http://www.newsinfilm.com/2010/04/04/sxsw-centurion-review/

SXSW: Centurion Review

Published by Jeff Leins on: April 4th, 2010

CenturionCenturion, the latest from genre filmmaker Neil Marshall, is a brawny, fast-paced behind-enemy-lines chase drama running through a slightly predictable piece of historical fiction.

After a credit sequence flyover of some magnificent scenery, the camera descends on Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) fleeing across Northern Britain, bleeding, half naked, and bound at the wrists. He escaped the clutches of the savage Picts, a native race who attacked his Roman military outpost leaving him the sole survivor.

Dias briefly falls into the rescuing hands of the famed Ninth Legion, ordered to march into the empire’s outskirts and quell the Pict guerrilla rebellion circa 117 A.D. History will tell you the infantry unit mysteriously disappeared, but Marshall stages a brutal ambush with giant balls of fire and fierce warriors slaughtering the troops and capturing General Virilus (played by the consistently charismatic Dominic West of “The Wire”).

Only Dias and a half-dozen men survive, stranded deep in Pict territory and pursued by their relentless tracker, Etain (Olga Kurylenko). Since Etain’s tongue was cut out by the enemy she’s mute, but Kurylenko delivers a menacing silent performance with her piercing eyes and deadly beauty alone. At the very least it spares the audience stock antagonist lines like “I’ll get you Quintus Dias if it’s the last thing I do!” Then again, this isn’t Doomsday…

The remaining legionnaires form a Seven Samurai-like squad, except the characters are unevenly fleshed out making it easy to predict who the Pict hunters will pick off first. Fassbender is strong in the inherited leadership role, bringing levels of intensity and a range of emotion you won’t see from go-to action hero Sam Worthington.

CenturionLike the first two battle set pieces, the stop-and-fight encounters are drenched in gore and tightly edited into slicing metal and finishing moves. Disposable characters are skewered on the tips of spears or run through with swords sending fountains of blood spurting out. Those looking for epic action will be satiated until Marshall pauses the violence for a last-minute romantic subplot that only serves the film’s rushed ending.

Expert cinematography captures the rugged conditions with beautiful sweeping landscape shots of mountainous terrain or cameras entrenched in the gritty hack-and-slash action sequences. With its confident visual style and strong attention to detail, you feel like you’re sloshing through the muddy waters or frigid snow banks with the soldiers. If only you cared about more than one of them.

3.5 out of 5.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 10, 2010 3:13 am

http://www.mixmasterthrowdown.com/wordpress/2010/03/michael-fassbenders-ex-requests-restraining-order/

HKFILMART 2010 Review] Centurion (International Premiere)
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
7 Warriors

I'd admit that the films of Neil Marshall's have been quite right up my alley, with a mishmash of genres all done with an excessively violent treatment, but it does go to show that relying too much on the usual will bring forth a stale feeling, that Marshall may not have anything more to offer other than to pepper his films with plenty of hacked limbs in a straight forward action adventure

Set in 117AD, Neil Marshall's story pits the Roman empire against the guerrilla Picts, who have halted the Roman invasion so much so that Rome decides on a last push. To the organized troops of Roman centurions, the Picts with their unorthodox techniques have the upper hand in a David and Goliath pattern, that it's up to Dominic West's General Virilus to lead an army, and with the help of Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) who has escaped from the Picts, to show them the way. That sets the premise of an otherwise ordinary film that's focused on its battle sequences, and has a very simple, two phase narrative to waltz through.

One of the draws here is of course Michael Fassbender's presence. Of 300 and Eden Lake fame, he brings forth a sense of vulnerability to a warrior's role, bent on trying to keep alive than to go all out to kill. He leads Virilus' surviving men of 6 to a rescue mission, before turning tails and having the next half of the film centered on their escape back to safe haven, all the while being tracked by Olga Kurylenko's Etain, a mute Pict scout who's an excellent tracker.

In some ways, the story had resembled like a distant cousin of the magnificent seven, where a rag tag team of surviving Roman centurions get cobbled together for a mission to rescue their beloved General. And I mean really rag tag since they have a cook amongst their ranks. It's an offensive maneuver first, before going all defensive because of the lack of skills, and numerical advantage and savagery that the Picts pose. Olga Kurylenko chews up her scenes even as she's more clothed than her previous films, and gets plenty of physical action (with weapons that is) to show she's no pushover for action sequences.

Strangely enough, a last minute romantic subplot gets thrown in which sort of spoils the film because it firmly roots itself as a finale plot development point, leaving little surprise for its hurried ending since you know just where and how the film would end. Like a typical Marshall film, there are tons of carefully crafted scenes that are bloody violent, such as smashing someone's head to a pulp against a tree or a full on ugly beheading. There's only one sequence that will stand out in the entire film, and that's a massive ambush against a full battalion of Roman soldiers, which is one-off and the only one done on grand scale, setting the scene for plenty of screen violence with unflinching decapitations of miscellaneous body parts.

Fans will find this an enjoyable action adventure, but it doesn't offer anything much nor new to win over new fans.
posted by Stefan S, 7:05 PM

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:04 pm

http://www.dundeechannel.com/review_7.html

Video review from the Dundee screening.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:04 pm

http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/reviewcomplete.asp?FID=136078

Centurion (15)

Plot
Britain, 117 AD. Tired of constant harassment by the Picts in Caledonia, the Romans send in their toughest legion, the Ninth. However, after things don’t exactly turn out as planned, the few survivors, led by Quintus Dias (Fassbender), have to struggle back to the border before fierce, vengeful warrior Etain (Kurylenko) wipes them all out.

Review
Neil Marshall’s latest involves a small group of people facing overwhelming odds in a hostile environment. Blood is spilled and there is gore galore as they fight their way to safety. Sound familiar? First it was squaddies beset by werewolves in a Scottish forest. Then it was spelunking women swarmed by flesh-eating Gollums in an American cave (the exteriors actually shot in Scotland). Next it was a sci-fi military unit dealing with cannibalistic punks and, er, medieval warriors in post-apocalyptic Scotland. Now it’s a rag-tag group of Roman soldiers hounded by Picts far behind enemy lines in first-century Caledonia, aka Scotland.

Like many filmmakers before him, Marshall evidently finds creative comfort in adhering to formula, and we should at least thank him for settling on one more ambitious than those concerning low-rent gangsters or football hooligans. But while Centurion is a solid entertainment, you can’t help wondering if it’s now time for a change of gears as well as genres. Maybe even — whisper it — direct someone else’s script.
Not that we mean to hurry him south of Hadrian’s Wall anytime soon. Marshall’s attraction to Scotland’s dramatic, storm-blasted landscape has never been so fruitful. Quintus (Michael Fassbender) and his men run a gauntlet of hail, mist and shadow in a land as threatening as it is beautiful, and from the opening scene, in which Fassbender’s hardy legionary scrambles through snow with his grimy torso bare, the land’s cold, hard bite is keenly felt. For Hadrian’s Romans this was the world’s edge, and the Geordie director’s affinity to the country, complemented, of course, by cinematographer Sam McCurdy’s excellent location lensing, makes Caledonia the movie’s most impressive antagonist.

The visuals are, at times, comparable with those of Ridley Scott, and it’s not hard to spot that Gladiator’s opening battle scene exerts a weighty influence, especially on Centurion’s money sequence. Here the Pictish hordes descend on Roman bad-asses the Ninth Legion, hacking the force down to the small group of survivors — a good cross-section of British and Irish talent, including Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, David Morrissey, J. J. Feild, Noel Clarke and Riz Ahmed — who must rescue their general (Dominic West) and get the hell home.

It’s at this point, though, that Centurion becomes less sure-footed, as the frantic chase dynamic sadly pummels the characterisation. Marshall sets up the survivors we haven’t already met with a cursory campfire introduction scene, then gets them running and mercilessly dispatches each in short order before we really get a chance to know them. Quintus and co.’s pursuers aren’t given much longer shrift; making Olga Kurylenko’s wolfish warrior Etain mute reduces her to a collage of scowls — a shame, as the character’s grievance against the Romans (who are, after all, the invaders) deserves better airing. The edit also is merciless and, save for a diversion so Quintus can hook up with a token love interest, the pacing is trapped on the ‘sprint’ setting; some plot details become lost in the blur (such as how, in an early scene, Quintus escapes his captors).

There is, however, no faulting Marshall’s star casting. As the appropriately named Virilus, West has a ball channelling all the irreverent bravado that made his McNulty one of The Wire’s best characters: “When will people learn not to f&#! with the Ninth?” he sighs at one point. Fassbender, meanwhile, brings Quintus essential poise and flinty purpose. It’s going too far to say this role could do for him what Maximus did for Russell Crowe but, if nothing else, Centurion should prove to those who put up tentpoles that Fassbender certainly has what it takes to lead a major action picture.

Verdict
A gritty, brutal chase movie that’s more about swords (and spears, and axes) than sandals — although it could have done with a lot more character-meat on those bones.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:15 pm

http://www.flicksandbits.com/2010/04/13/centurion-review-neil-marshalls-film-starring-michael-fassbender-olga-kurylenko-noel-clarke/

New Film Starring Michael Fassbender & Olga Kurylenko

Centurion Review Neil Marshalls New Film Starring Michael Fassbender & Olga Kurylenko

Make no mistake about it, Centurion is a man’s movie, the type of man that would chuckle if a woman didn’t pick the iron when playing Monopoly, lucky enough I am that sort of man, I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was great fun. Centurion possesses all the key ingredients to tickle a man’s fancy – epic beards, hot dangerous women, swords, dirt, chases, decapitations, a band of brothers spirit, harsh wilderness and excess blood and guts. If you’re stimulated by decapitated heads in particular, this is a must!

Centurion is based on the legend of the 9th Legion, an army of 3000 Roman warriors who vanished without trace, Centurion is the tale of their conflict with their adversary, the Picts. Michael Fassbender is brilliant in the lead role as Quintus Dias a Roman corporal. Quintus is taken hostage by the Pict King, Gorlacon and the 9th are charged with bringing him home and ending Pict domination of Britain. Led by General Virilus (Dominic West – sporting a rather epic beard) and guided by a Pict prisoner and warrior named Etain (Olga Kurylenko – who does a great job as the main protagonist without even saying a word). But as they usually do, things go wrong when the legion is ambushed and Virilus is taken captive. Quintus and a handful of surviving soldiers (which include Noel Clarke, Riz Ahmed, David Morrissey, Liam Cunningham and JJ field) face a desperate struggle to keep themselves alive behind enemy lines, evading the Pict pursuers over harsh terrain, and in an attempt to rescue their General, then finally reaching the safety of the Roman frontier.

centurion olga Centurion Review Neil Marshalls New Film Starring Michael Fassbender & Olga Kurylenko

Neil Marshall has done a great job writing and directing this brutal and exhilarating film, visually Centurion is stunning and the characters are meaty and well developed, I actually felt for them, I felt hungry when they were hungry and I felt cold when they were cold (which looked like pretty much the whole time). I’ve been a fan of all of Neil Marshall’s films (yes even Doomsday – hold back the stones), when watching his work it always comes across to me that he’s a true fan of the genre of film he’s making, Centurion is no exception.

As much as I enjoyed the film, it did have a couple flaws, there were parts that were a bit incoherent – how did Quintuis escape the Picts at the start? What bright spark thought it would be a good idea to use Etain as a scout? It started off badly as well, the font used for the titles looked like it was made for a 13 year old’s media project, it completely distracted me from the beautiful scenery, in the scheme of the whole film that’s just nit picking though, Centurion lived up to my expectations and more, it’s a hell of a ride, I can see this having a cult following in years to come, which it comprehensively deserves. Two thumbs up from me.

8.8574574459/10

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:09 pm

http://thewildbore.blogspot.com/2010/04/centurion.html

Thursday, 15 April 2010
Centurion

Neil Marshall takes us back to ye olde England during the beginning of Hadrian's Wall where the locals weren't happy and war was rife. So can the 'Marshall War Movie' as it's being dubbed live up to it's high expectations? There's only one way to find out. When in Rome...

When Neil Marshall came on the scene, I was excited to see another great British director who wasn't afraid to do what he wants. Unfortunately, that's also his downfall. Sure, I enjoyed Dog Soldiers but I didn't think it was as amazing as others did, but then when The Descent was released I was rocked to the core by how incredible it was. To this day, I still think it's one of the best horror films ever made and in my eyes Marshall could now do no wrong. Until Doomsday was released last year. What the hell was that? I still respected it for trying to be an Eighties B-Movie flick and thought that perhaps it just went a little wrong. That is until I saw Centurion, which now makes me think Marshall just had a stroke of luck with The Descent.

Even after my disappointment with Doomsday, I still came in to Centurion dead excited. What's not to like? The Roman Empire in Britain, Fassbender and Dominic West (better known as McNulty) - surely it's got to be a little bit good at least? Well you'd think so...

The problem is that I don't really know what it wanted to be. It begins as some Roman war movie against the savage Picts, then turns to a rescue mission, then a chase movie. It starts off well enough as you get introduced to the characters but then once the Romans are attacked on the road, instead of turning it up to 11, it goes down to a chilly 2. From then on, it's boring as heck. Fassbender wants to recover their general who is at the enemy camp, so after some lying low they get there and whoops, without revealing it, something goes wrong so then they have to run back to safety. There is only three of them at this point, and they are being chased by about four enemies. There's the classic injured party they have to drag along and the kind woman (wasn't she the borderline-legal-yet-amazing daughter from 28 Weeks Later?) who looks after them. That's basically it without giving too much of the predictable plot away.

In it's favour, the acting is great. Fassbender is incredible as always and it's just lucky that it's him as the main character or it would have been Doomsday all over again, West is also clearly enjoying revelling around as a mad Roman General and even, dare I say it, Noel Clarke didn't f&#! me off quite like how he usually does. They even came up with the great idea of having Olga Kurylenko as a mute so she doesn't have to explain her accent or really even act, just stand around looking pretty. But the set pieces and the fact nearly everything is on such a small scale made it look more like a BBC drama than a full-blown cinematic experience. The final big fight is laughable and there is no sense of scale or even a timeframe during the entire film, the whole chase could have lasted less than a week for all I know, maybe it did? There is also not much about the Pict tribe, who are clearly more interesting and I would have liked to have seen more of and there is hardly any sense of danger, or foreboding, or dread when our heroes keep getting caught up with by their enemies. This is mainly due to the fact that Fassbender's character has already been proven to be a great warrior and you just feel like he could take them all on, let alone with the help of the others. Why be so scared of them? Is it because they have horses?

The extremely brief side story of the other two who got separated is completely unnecessary, to the point where I thought they were taking the piss and it was going to explode into some massive thing. Which it didn't. When they get to Hadrian's wall, the rest is utter nonsense. Without giving it away, the idea that Fassbender can do what he did and just walk away is mind-blowing and again, lazy writing.

There is also emphasis on how gory it is and yes, the blood and gore though CG'd to death, is pretty good, but nothing to go crazy about. They also seem to have only two sound effects for swords and the editing during this is horrible, it's literally about a hundred sword swooshes (baring in mind there seems to be only two different ones available) all to a regular beat, which makes it irritating over anything else. You know things are going wrong when during a bar brawl at the beginning, you couldn't have asked for anything to look more fake. Spot as many real-looking punches as you can, and I'd be surprised if you could count them on both hands.

Marshall takes pride in the fact that his shoots are short, but to enter into a film with such ambition is terribly self-destructive. Remember Kubrick would do a thousand takes just for someone to pick up a cup or something as mundane as that and if it's slap-dash to make, it will show on the screen. I respect the fact that he wants to do his own thing, but sometimes you can't be so arrogant to think that every idea you have is a great idea. I really hoped this would be good, but I had a horrible feeling it might be kind of crap and instead it hit even lower than that. It calls itself a Survival Thriller, and I'm sure it will be thrilled if it survives.

Rating: 4/10
Posted by Sam LeGassick at 02:09

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:31 am

http://www.actionmoviefreak.com/actionfest.html#centurion

Daily Journal of ActionFest 2010
THURSDAY
Apr 15

CENTURION world premier @ 7:30 PM
(YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO SEE IT: Friday-tomorrow-at 2:00 PM and I highly recommend it!

RUN, DO NOT WALK, TO CENTURION FOR A BLOODY GREAT SLICE OF ACTION!
For me, all action movies break down into 3 categories: buddy, monster, chase, and Centurion is a great chase story. Loved how even the credits are on the move, which (combined with the music and the landscape) starts the movie off with a sense of urgency and adventure.

WALKING GETS YOU INTO TROUBLE
Centurion definitely delivers as a period piece: the ultra-manly Romans in those costumes we all would love to wear for Halloween but which are too complicated to replicate: the bristle brush Roman helmets, the armor, the leather flapped skirts, chin-protecting sandals, and the swords. Nature plays a large part, especially the forest, in taking us back to a primal state of fear. The misty forest setting of the first big battle gives the movie a mystical feel with danger lurking around every tree trunk. Something as commonplace as soldiers marching a trail becomes dangerous when sounds are heard in the distance and mist and trees hide whatever is lurking. The Roman soldiers hurriedly get into a military square formation and present shields in unison (a sound that should strike fear into an enemy when all that metal hits the ground at one time).

"Whatever comes out of that mist, men, you will hold the line."

You think after you hear the shields hit the ground, they're protected, they're ready, they're Romans, but you haven't met the Picts. The Picts roll enormous fireballs downhill from both sides that crash through the ranks. So much for organization and strategy. The sight of these hurtling balls of flame against shades of blue and green in the forest and the mist, alone, is worth seeing the movie for. With the defensive squares broken up, the Picts attack and the fighting begins. The repetitive sound of striking steel and the squishy sounds of stabbing increase in tempo driving the action and the anticipation to a final beheading. The Picts are vicious savages—its awesome! Awesome is a word that came too mind all too often, if that tells you how AWESOME the movie is.

BLOOD AND BITCHESOlga Kurylenko as Etain in Centurion
We action movie freaks must be a blood-thirsty lot! There is a generous and satisfying amount of just throat slitting in that first big attack scene, as well as lots of other ways to die involving sharp metal objects. A line spoken after the slaughter, when there are so many bodies and so much blood on the ground: "The Gods never get their feet wet" hints at the outcome of the movie, but nothing prepares you for the brutality of the Pict female characters. Centurion features two fearless and ruthless female characters. We have rage, and they know how to use it. They were both convincing in their intensity and brutality.

In the General vs. the she-wolf fight, the character Etain is handy with a spear, and uses it as deftly as a knife and a fork! LOL Her primal scream (!!) after she kills is awesome. There's that word again. I liked how the other Pict warrior girl had yellow hair and yellow teeth. For such a small role, she struck a lot of fear!

LOST IN THE FOREST
"We live united or die divided." A chase movie but with a little of the who-dies-next of the horror film as they are 'Pict' (sorry had to do it) off, or pick each other off. One of those moments action movie freaks live for comes in the form of death by spear to the mouth. As their numbers dwindle [there were only 7 (I think) to begin with], hope and purpose fade: "The Gods have forsaken us, we make our own chances." "[Hopelessness is the stuff of legend, and legends will get you laid.]" If you can stay alive. The chase is a little long (practically the whole movie) and at one point I was wondering where the hell are they? when someone onscreen asked the same thing. How far is too far to run for your life? No such thing. [It was a little like the TV show "LOST:" running around the forest with guns, only they run faster and use knives, swords, axes, and hatchets.]

COLD HARD TRUTH
The sound of striking steel is heard a lot, and the atmosphere and cold feel and fear is unrelenting as a blade. At one point, it seems Centurion might turn into a love story where the good girl shows up just in time to save her man. SO glad they didn't go that way. But it was good that they had a likeable female character to balance the two evil Pict bitches. As the original group running for their lives dwindles, when they are down to three, it's great how each of them gives their all. They show what Roman soldiers are made of as they make their last stand. Olga Kurylenko as Etain is good in the hand-to-hand combat scene. There aren't too many convincing fist fights with a girl. Loved it. And when there are only 2 left, after all that running and all that fighting, the Roman soldiers discover they fought for nothing. (Won't tell you how or why.) The opening ties in verbally with the ending in a poetic way, but in the end, it's die united, live divided.

I noticed in the credits, the 2nd and 3rd unit directors were all women! BOO YA!

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:18 pm

http://pickleloaf.blogspot.com/2010/04/centurion_16.html?zx=a52c71d6750bb4a5

Friday, April 16, 2010
CENTURIO

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1020558/
Synopsis:
A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack.

Bear with any inconsistencies here as I am attempting a review written via email on my phone... so it's all typed out with my two little thumbs. Also, I'm not exactly sure how to post anymore than one photo with each blog entry, so there will probably just be a poster I grabbed off my tiny web browser.

So I just got out of the world premiere (!I'm feckin special!) of Neil Marshall's new film Centurion. As with most of the films showing at Actionfest (http://www.actionfest.com), I did not know much about this going in. s$#!, I didn't even know it was about Roman soldiers specifically, but we can probably attribute that to ignorance or mental laziness on my part. I mean, it is called Centurion afterall.

It's a story that felt like it could have taken place during any war with the trapped behind enemy lines theme, but what made Centurion different was not so much the soldiers themselves, but the enemy they were dealing with.

The Picts.

Not really being up on my history, I don't know much about this particular group of people, but they are essentially barbarians... complete with furs and face paint and scary looking axes to bury in your f@&#$%! neck.

The standout Pict is a mute tracker played by Olga Kurylenko. She literally has zero lines in the film, but is nasty in her multiple action sequences.

The acting is what it is. I really liked Dominic West in The Wire, and I would have liked to have seen him play a larger role than he did here. Michael Fassbender is the star of the show here, and I think he is most convincing in role in moments of anguish... in particular the scene that opens the film with Fassbender fleeing through a stark white snowy field, hands bound, and a gash across his chest. He stumbles and gasps for breath and looks genuinely panicked without saying anything at all. (this scene has Fassbender briefly narrating to set up the story actually.

Other than the standouts, what you get are characters that are fine for what they are but who you will most likely never remember the name of. The overriding characteristics in Centurion aren't a man's future plans (although this is shoehorned into the story fairly early on) but rather if he got stabbed in the dick, slashed in the neck, or devoured in some other way.

Yes, Marshall's film is a wet one. He has some really nice moments, some amazing aerial photography of some incredible and harsh looking environment, but ultimately what you will take from the film is the violence. Beheadings and slashes and stabs and pokes and slams and pierced and crunches and turtles and....

Does he rely on the gore a bit too much? Perhaps. The story honestly did not feel all that unique by the time the credits rolled, but the brutality lingers on.

Personally I've found Marshall's previous films a mixed bag. Well, the two I have seen at least. I loved Dog Soldiers and its gore and claustrophobic action. But I ended up not really liking The Descent because of some turns the story took as it played out.

Centurion had elements of both. It took me awhile to warm up to the Magnificent Seven Dirty Dozen Inglorious BastArds style group of soldiers, but their being chased by these barbarians with a vendetta was interesting and tense. But I didn't like that the soldiers outside of Fassbender really had no individuality and were just meat shields, and I did not like some plot elements added in as the story evolved.

The film looks fantastic, and the fireball scene that you can see in the trailer may be worth the price of admission. But the movie does slow down quite a bit in the third act before the finale(s) and doesn't seem to know exactly how and when to end.

Overall though I enjoyed it. For the genre I thought it was definitely solid. It doesn't get bogged down in the ancient politics and s$#! that always fly over my head anyway, and really gets right to the goods like a good genre film should.

Score: 7 / 10

Posted by pickleloaf at 1:30 AM

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:22 am

http://twitchfilm.net/reviews/2010/04/action-fest-2010-centurion-review.php

Action Fest 2010: CENTURION Review

by Todd Brown, April 17, 2010 2:32 AM

Put aside any thoughts of typical costume epics here. Neil Marshall's Centurion will stomach none of that Gladiator talk. A world away from your typical ancient Rome film, this is lean and hungry stuff, as efficient in its story telling as in its brutality. If Ridley Scott cast Russell Crowe to be the new coming of Charlton Heston then what Marshall has done here is make Michael Fassbender into Steve McQueen - a taciturn, seventies style reluctant hero on the run for survival in a world where all the moral lines have blurred out to gray.

Fassbender is Quintus Dias, second in command of the most northerly Roman garrison of the long, protracted war to conquer Britain. It is not going well. It has been going not well for many, many years. It is going so not well, in fact, that the garrison is overrun by Pictish warriors who kill everyone present and burn it to the ground, sparing only Dias' life when he swears at one of them in their own language. Thinking he may be useful, they take him prisoner and haul him off to their own stronghold as prisoner.

The destruction of the garrison proves the last straw for the local governor who decides to put an end to things once and for all. He sends his strongest legion, the 9th, into the far north in a show of strength to subdue the natives, sending a trusted - and beautiful - native guide with them. They save Dias - good thing - but end up slaughtered themselves when their guide proves to be a traitor embedded in their culture for years to gain their trust and lure them to their death. Only a small handful survive. But, trapped this deep behind enemy lines, how much is that survival worth? And so begins a lengthy race for survival.

Shot in a cold, sparse style clearly meant to mimic the hostile beauty of the natural landscape that Marshall uses to such great effect, Centurion takes a small band of stellar actors - Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko and David Morrissey are all hugely charismatic, though Noel Clarke seems weirdly out of place in this time period - and breaks them down to their most basic components. The entire film is fight or flight, nothing more. Fight and kill when you have to, run away if you think you can escape. Marshall throws you into it immediately, he makes the stakes clearly apparent right from the beginning, and he keeps the pressure on right until the very end. This is bloody, desperate stuff.

The question here is whether fight or flight is enough to make a movie. Marshall's got more than enough technical chops to pull off his set pieces and his cast wear the skins of their characters with total comfort but is there enough story, enough connecting tissue to pull a string of very strong moments into a cohesive whole? At what point does lean become starved? I would say yes, there is enough there, but just barely. In the story department, Centurion is feeling a little bit gaunt with just enough in play to keep the audience invested and caring about Dias and his small band of men.

What is interesting is whether Marshall really thinks we should care about these men. Because on that point he is deliberately murky and there are clear parallels to be drawn here between the scenario Marshall paints of Roman occupied Scotland and the current situation in the middle east. Think about it. Occupying army of vastly superior numbers and wealth stymied by a local population poorly equipped but fierce and employing guerrilla tactics to harry and disorient. A long term spy embedded within the Roman's own ranks to gain their trust and learn their ways and destroy them from within. Sound familiar? Because if you're willing to draw that comparison then Marshall has some hard things to say about the nature of military occupation. Are the Picts nasty, brutal people? Absolutely. But their leader was nothing but a farmer until Roman soldiers killed his wife to make a point. And the traitorous guide? The survivor of a slaughtered village who watched her mother raped before being raped herself and having her tongue cut out. To a great degree the Picts are a problem that the Romans brought upon themselves, or at least a problem that they made far worse than it had to be. On the Roman side, not a lot of nobility to be found. In their quest to gain ground they are unpleasantly prone to turn on one another.

Whether a specific comment on a specific scenario or a more general condemnation of warfare, there is no doubt that Marshall here is picturing a world where there really isn't a good side or a bad side. There is only life and death and a lot of ground to cover without being noticed if one isn't going to be forcibly and violently turned into the other.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:50 pm

http://itwalksamongus.blogspot.com/2010/04/centurion.html

Saturday, 17 April 2010
Centurion

Directed by Neil Marshall
Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Noel Clarke, Riz Ahmed, David Morrisey Axelle Carolyn and Olga Kuryenko.

I remember meeting Neil Marshall ages ago at Memorabilia ages ago he declined to be interviewed but I found him to a quite a pleasant chap. His last film Doomsday didn't go down well with audiences the same goes with the sequel to The Descent in which he shared production duties. I can't really say much about The Descent Part 2 that's because I haven't seen it yet!

This time round he's made a come back with the cream of British acting talent by his side, Centurion is a tale that alleged to be based on fact. Apparently when this country was occupied by the Romans There was a garrision of Roman troops known as the Ninth Legion apparently they all went missing. The film Centurion speculates on what may have happened.

Fassbender is Roman General Quintus Dias who for his troubles ends up being captured by Picts a warrior tribe who don't take kindly to the Roman occupation. He ends up being tortured but finds a way to escape after running into a legion he's persuaded to join them and with the help of Etain(Kuryenko) a mute warrior they are about to launch an attack on the race when they are ambushed and betrayed by one of their ranks.

The brutal and bloody onslaught leaves few survivors. With their leader General Virilus (West)being captured by their enemy Dias and the remaining few attempt to rescue him but the attempt goes badly wrong when one of the them kills the son of Gorlacon the fearsome ruler of the Pict. Virilus is killed in return Gorlacon assembles his finest warriors to hunt them down.

Dias soon learns that he's out his depth and must find a way to survive in the face of an enemy who will stop at nothing to see them dead. In films like Gladiator and in series like Rome we usually see the Romans as the "good guys" and revelling in their decadence. But in this case they are on the receiving end which makes a change.

Scenes of heads being chopped off with axes and downright blood and gore amidst well executed action sequences Marshall makes it apparent that he’s having more fun than he did on his last film. It’s no wonder why Michael Fassbender is in demand his portrayal as Dias make you sympathise for his plight in fact he'd be great in a big blockbuster action film. Despite a dull middle half, it’s really entertaining I wouldn’t recommend it as a date film, but its perfect viewing for the lads.

Sticking with the lads mag theme here’s a pic of Olga Kuryvenko (even she's good in this film despite the fact she doesn't speak at all) i’m adding just because i can.
N

Posted by Neil Patel at 06:59

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:45 pm

http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/entertainment/Drama/784866/Centurion-18.html

Centurion (18)
Verdict: Top film but hellishly cut ***

By Robbie Collin, 17/04/2010
INSIDE most fat movies, there's a thin movie waiting to get out.

In fact, in the case of 2012, there was about seven of 'em.

But once in a while, you come across a 90-minute wham-bam effort you wish had been given more room to breathe. And Centurion is such a film.

From Neil Marshall (writer/director of the brilliant Dog Soldiers and The Descent), this is a chase movie set in early Scotland.

A few Roman survivors must outrun the Pictish nutjobs who massacred their legion.

"This is the a*sehole of the world," moans centurion Quintus Dias (the ace Michael Fassbender). "Even the land wants us dead."

Of course, Scotland's changed a lot since then. No more Romans.

Fassbender and his troops (too-brief turns from Riz Ahmed, Noel Clarke and JJ Feild) hare across the gorgeously shot landscapes towards Hadrian's Wall, chased by vengeful Pict babe Etain (Quantum of Solace's Olga Kurylenko).

Dominic West channels Oliver Reed as General Virilus; the script is sharp as hell; the digital photography is a great match for the material; and the central ambush scene, complete with mist, fireballs and beheadings galore, is glorious. So what's wrong with it?

That's the question I'd like to ask the chumps in the edit suite. Because with raw material this strong, it's odd more of it didn't end up on screen.

Plus there are big holes that need plugging, like how on earth does Fassbender first escape the Pictish camp?

I'm not saying Centurion needed to be a three-hour epic. But there's editing and there's butchery.

Roll on the director's cut.

OUT FRIDAY

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:44 pm

http://screenjabber.com/centurion-review

Centurion review ★★★★

CenturionReview by Stuart O'Connor
Stars Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, JJ Feild, Axelle Carolyn, Riz Ahmed,
Dave Legeno, Ulrich Thomsen
Written by Neil Marshall
Certification UK 15
Runtime 97 minutes
Directed by Neil Marshall

The history books are as full of myths and legends as they are of facts – particularly when it comes to the Roman Empire. Here we have one of those myths – the disappearance, in northern Britannia, of Rome's Ninth legion in 117 AD – stunningly brought to the screen by horror maestro Neil Marshall.

The Romans are trying to expand their empire, but are meeting resistance from the Picts – a tough, barbaric race of Celts who were the ancestors of the Scots, and who have been successfully repelling the Romans through a prolonged campaign of guerilla warfare. After the Picts raid a Roman fort, Quintus Dias (Fassbender), the only survivor, joins the Ninth Legion. He takes command as the troops set out to rescue their captured leader, General Virilus (West). What follows is an epic of violence and revenge, but also a damned fine chase movie.

Centurion's greatest strength is the old-school filmmaking approach of Marshall and his team. There's barely a whiff of CGI anywhere, and the majority of the film – with the exception of a few interior scenes that were done in the studio – was shot on location in England and Scotland, in often trying conditions. Yes, the scenes atop a snow-covered mountain were actually shot atop a snow-covered mountain. That blue tint to the actors' skin was not make-up, but a genuine hue brought on by the filming conditions. The battle scenes, too, are incredibly realistic – tough and gory, with swords swinging and arrows flying, heads being hacked and limbs lopped off (this really isn't a film for the squeamish). And again, it all appears to be practical effects rather than CGI. Which all means that, moreso than any other recent historical epics of this genre – Gladiator, 300, King Arthur, Troy – Centurion imparts on its audience a real sense of time and place. You really do believe that this is how it could have happened back in the 2nd century.

Also significant is that, again unlike other films of its kind, Centurion is not a tale of "good vs bad". Both sides firmly believe that they are fighting for what is right; the Picts are defending their homeland, while the Romans believe they must expand their empire at all costs. Many who see this film, such as myself, will probably side with the Picts. There's almost a very subtle subtext at play, too, comparing the American "empire" invading Iraq with the events of the film. Performances, too, are first rate. Although there are no huge marquee names involved, this is a film that will sit proudly on the CVs of all invloved. Leading the way are Fassbender and West – both veterans of 300 – but right behind them is former Bond beauty Kurylenko, who manages a stunning turn without uttering a word (her character was raped as a child and had her tongue cut out).

Marshall has built his reputation as a maker of very fine horror films – particularly 2005's The Descent, but also Doomsday and Dog Soldiers. He successfully transfers his horror sensibility to the action genre, imbuing it with a freshness not seen since Paul Greengrass's Bourne movies. Centurion is an unpretentious, gripping, visually stunning, taut, dark and dirty, well-paced action film that is sure to expand Marshall's fanbase.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:54 pm

http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/movies-mark-adams/2010/04/film-review-centurion.html

Film review: Centurion
By Mark Adams on Apr 18, 10 03:11 PM in Film reviews

15, 3/5

If you are looking for another fix of sword and sandals action after the smash-hit blockbuster Clash Of The Titans, then Centurion is just the movie for you.

Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Noel Clarke and David Morrissey star in this actionpacked movie set in Roman Britain.

A team of Roman Legionnaires is being pursued behind enemy lines by Bond girl Olga Kurylenko who plays ruthless Pict warrior Etain.

Directed by Neil Marshall of Dog Soldiers fame, this is a gory movie that will keep most action fans more than happy.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:56 pm

http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/2008-12-6-motion-captured/posts/sxsw-neil-marshall-s-centurion


ActionFest 2010 opens with Neil Marshall's 'Centurion'
Posted on Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 By Drew McWeeny


Michael Fassbender and Liam Cunningham are two of the stars of Neil Marshall's new action film 'Centurion'
Credit: Magnet Releasing

Neil Marshall has proven himself over time to be a filmmaker who is able to move from style to style, genre to genre, and he seems to understand that the films he makes are entertainment, pure and simple. Watching "The Descent" in a dark theater that's completely packed is a great exercise in tension. His "Doomsday" is one of the most remarkable examples of one filmmaker paying homage to the style and technique of another filmmaker I can recall. He has a great sense of camera and energy, and even when I don't love his movies, I respect the craft and the confidence.

"Centurion," his latest, attempts to answer the question of what happened to Rome's legendary Ninth Legion, and it's a bloody, gritty, simple chase film that gives Michael Fassbender a lead role that could easily turn him into a viable action hero in big Hollywood films. So far, he's proven himself to be a gifted and interesting actor in films like Steve McQueen's "Hunger," Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds," and the underseen "Fish Tank" from earlier this year. He's a bit of a chameleon, and he's one of those actors who pushes his body to extremes depending on the role. For "Hunger," where he played an Irish hunger striker, he looked like he was on the verge of death, emaciated and frail. In "Centurion," he's preposterously ripped, and he handles himself like an old pro in the fight sequences. It's an impressive piece of work, and he grounds the film with his performance.

Equally good is Dominic West, known to most (if they know him at all) as McNulty from "The Wire." He plays the general of the Legion, and he's pure action hero charisma here. He's one of those guys who should have exploded based on the work he did on "The Wire," but it didn't happen for whatever reason. In an age when so many of our action leads strike me as kids playacting, West is a real grown-up, a guy who projects exactly the right qualities as a leader of a battle-hardened team of Roman soldiers.

The film takes place in the final days of the Roman occupation of the land inhabited by the Picts, and the Romans are getting their asses kicked regularly. They simply aren't able to compete with the guerilla tactics that the Picts have perfected, and West is ordered to try one last push using a Pict tracker who has agreed to work for the Romans. Olga Kurylenko, the gorgeous Russian star of "Hitman" and "Quantum Of Solace" is one of those performers who is very good on camera, very natural, but she's not particularly good with English. Marshall solves that problem by literally cutting out the character's tongue, so the performance is purely physical, all about the eyes and the body language. When she eventually reveals herself as a traitor, becoming the force of nature pursuing the last survivors of a bloody ambush of the Legion, she's imposing and gives a strong performance.

The movie is essentially a set-up, an ambush, and a chase that just keeps going from about 30 minutes in to the very end. It makes excellent use of the natural landscape of the UK, and one of the virtues of it being an independent film as opposed to a giant-budget Hollywood version of this story, is that most of it appears to have been done in-camera and practical, including the unrelenting bloodshed in the film. What's interesting is that some of the issues I had with the film on first viewing at SXSW evaporated when seeing it a second time. It's a really lean piece of work, and considering how clearly Marshall was playing with the style of John Carpenter and George Miller in his last film, he's managed to make a movie that doesn't have any trace of another filmmaker in it. It's simply a muscular little action film that knows exactly what it wants to do, and in the end, it delivers on the modest promise of its premise.

ActionFest has been a blast this weekend, starting with the Thursday night screening of "Centurion," and I've enjoyed being here in Asheville, North Carolina so much that it's been tough finding time to write. I'll definitely be writing more reviews of what I've seen here, though, because I've seen some things that are worth the attention, including one movie that's going direct-to-video even though it's one of the most preposterously satisfying action films I've seen in a theater in a while.

More on that soon here as ActionFest wraps up on Sunday evening and I head back to LA on Monday afternoon.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:31 pm

http://www.filmshaft.com/centurion-review/

Mon, Apr 19 2010 | Published in FCG, News
Centurion – Review
By: Martyn Conterio

Neil Marshall’s fourth directorial effort is an unusual genre hybrid that offers a great setting for an old-fashioned chase thriller. Against a backdrop of Roman Britain, Centurion follows the escapades of Michael Fassbender’s Quintus – a soldier trapped behind enemy lines and fighting for survival against the dreaded Picts.

It is interesting to note the Roman Empire finally met its match when trying to conquer and suppress the Picts. The Romans found an inhospitable savage race that would not yield to their might. No wonder the Emperor Hadrian decided to build his wall. Better to contain than conquer appears to have been their policy. Interestingly,Marshall used the device of Hadrian’s Wall for his retro fantasy flick, Doomsday. So there appears some fascination with it.

Things get off to a thunderous start after a rather exhilarating credit sequence that shows off the landscape of northern Britain to stunning effect. In fact, things never really settle down. Centurion has a lot to cram into its lean ninety-seven minutes running time.

Michael Fassbender proves he’s one of the best actors with a committed performance in a film that occasionally verges into cliché and silliness. Yet there’s the great chance Marshall is having fun with genre staples and knows full well what he’s doing.

The dialogue is the greatest offender and it can’t seem to decide what period it’s set in. There almost seems no point discussing various anachronisms as the film never pertains to realism. It’s an action adventure film. No more, no less.

Marshall’s ear for comic dialogue remains strong. Upon seeing the Pict tracker and chief villain, Etain (Olga Kurylenko), one soldier quips, “I don’t know whether to fight her or f&#! her,” only for his friend to reply, “she’s mute, not deaf!”

Marshall also brings his horror background to the fore with some vicious and gory battle scenes that are enhanced with heightened sound effects. The battle scene, in which the Picts ambush a Roman legion, is a visual treat. All this highlights what an assured filmmaker Marshall is becoming. There’s the great suspicion this guy’s a couple films away from delivering something very special and iconic. Good things come to those who wait, after all.

The lead trio: Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham and David Morrissey are the film’s strongest assets and their obvious enjoyment of working together imbues the film with a great sense of camaraderie. It also allows the audience to care about their plight, too.

In his brief scenes, Dominic West chews the scenery with abandon and one wishes he could have taken a more central role. He’s another strong asset to proceedings. Olga Kurylenko, too, makes a sympathetic villain and is so brilliant at tracking there’s a supernatural edge to her abilities.

Go and see Centurion if you like great acting, history and high levels of gore. Michael Fassbender is superb and it’s only a matter of time before this guy is considered one of the top talents of his generation. He gets better and better with each film.
Rating: ★★★★☆

UK Release: 23rd April
USA Release: 26th August
Australia Release: TBC

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:24 pm

http://www.seenit.co.uk/centurion/045414/

Centurion

April 19, 2010 by Martin Hoscik · Leave a Comment

Centurion arrives in cinemas April 23rd

Centurion is a historical action movie which sees an elite group of Roman soldiers up ordered to destroy the Picts who are hampering the Roman’s conquest of Britain.

After much of the legion is slaughtered in an electrifying ambush sequence, the survivors press on with their mission, along the way killing the Pict King’s son. Inevitably this prompts him to declare a blood oath against the Romans and he and his followers then hunt them down and slowly whittle down their numbers.

This is a decent enough action film – the fight sequences are fantastically choreographed with enough gore and energy to please even the most demanding of action fans and the costumes feel lavish and credible but the plot is fairly routine and the very modern dialogue is littered with cliches which make it hard to take the film seriously.

In one of the less believable sections of the films, the surviving Romans encounter a female Pictish outcast who nurses and feeds them while telling the pursuing Pictish army she’s never seen them. Ho-hum, we’ve seen the same basic scene a thousand times before in just about every genre which allows one person or group to chase another.

During their refuge with the woman, one of the Romans clearly falls for her and, at the end of the film, returns to live a life of domestic bliss with her despite her home being a short ride form the Pict heartlands and he being the sole surviving target of the Pictish King’s fury. Suspension of disbelief will only cover so much and mine gave up long before this point.

The film runs 97 minutes but I swear it felt at least twice as long, I left the mid-afternoon screening fully expecting night to have arrived while we were inside.

The Centurion hits cinemas on April 23rd

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:28 pm

http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/466580/centurion_review.html

Centurion review

Duncan Bowles

A return to form for Neil Marshall, Centurion boasts characters, blood, guts, violence, and a damned good night out at the flicks...

Published on Apr 18, 2010

Probably the best way to make you understand the adrenalin-charged reaction I had to Neil Marshall's Centurion, is by asking you to imagine me shouting, "I am a soldier of Rome! I will not yield!" in your face, then flailing my arm about making sword noises, followed by some guttural death sounds, before running round in a circle and collapsing on the floor exhausted.

If that sounds like the actions of a slightly deranged adult acting on a youthful whim, then it pretty much sums up Centurion, which I, for one, thought was really good. Just pity my poor girlfriend, who had to suffer the above quote being shouted at her in response to most questions that night. "Have you decided what you'd like to eat?" she asked. "I am a soldier of Rome! I will not yield!" I bellowed.

It's so unashamed in its boy's own-styled, straightforward, adventure roots, taking a simple premise and filling it with some great characters, exciting action and, more importantly, buckets of blood.

If you're a fan of Marshall's previous work (as well you should be), then you'll know that some of his strongest assets as a writer/director are in creating likeable, albeit grim humoured characters, who find themselves confronted with incredibly brutal and violent situations.

Centurion is no exception and shares more than a few similarities with my favourite film of his to date, Dog Soldiers, and is all the better for it. Both films feature strong British casts, predominantly male, stuck out in beautiful and threatening surroundings, being hunted by a superior and feral foe and who are then forced to try and survive with a combination of wits and weapons, while their numbers dwindle.

Michael Fassbender, as Quintus, makes for an immediately sympathetic lead, whose voiceover and actions lead us through the mythic tale, supported along the way by some recognisable faces.

Fassbender is most likely best known of late for making a slight faux pas, in Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds (which I really can't recommend highly enough if you've been putting off watching it. Just forget Death Proof ever happened) and proves to be as adept at sword play as he is at being a comparatively sensitive soul.

From previous experience, I wasn't too sure what I'd make of Dominic West as fellow lead Virilus, having yet to see The Wire (despite multiple recommendations), leaving my last impression of him down to the trashy and mega-violent Punisher: War Zone, but he effortlessly stole every scene he was in. Consider me a convert. I wondered why Marshall would deprive me of a good Sean Pertwee fix in Centurion, but having witnessed an extremely buff West, came to realise that, were both to share the screen at the same time, there would be enough raw testosterone to impregnate a heterosexual man.

The large supporting cast are equally strong and far too numerous to mention in detail, but any concerns about Olga Kurylenko's vocal performance are laid to rest when her character is revealed to have no tongue (following a brutal ordeal told in retrospect), leaving her beauty and fierce skill with a spear to do the work for her. It was also a pleasure to see Liam "Monkey see, monkey do" Cunningham, under Marshall's direction again.

For me, though, Centurion proved to almost be a victim of its own success, with its amazing first act proving near impossible to better what followed, especially when the film takes its inevitable path in the second half.

With its skilful setting up of so many characters, I actually became agitated when the conflict between the Romans and Picts (the barbaric, yet not unsympathetic tribe standing up against Roman invasion) took its toll on the cast list, making the film suffer from what I'll refer to, on a personal note, as Iliad syndrome, which is hardly a criticism, when most films can't even be bothered to make one of their characters worth supporting. It does, however, make for elevated emotions when watching the fight scenes and it was all I could do not to shout, "Get ‘em! Feck ‘em up!" at certain points, which would have revealed me to be the true professional I am.

It's not my fault, though, as the on-screen violence in Centurion really is brutally beautiful. Limbs are severed, heads decapitated, eyeballs gouged, hearts stabbed, throats cut and faces smashed, all in the most visceral way possible, making for a massively exciting spectacle, though how it passes for a 15 certificate movie is anyone's guess.

I've confessed in previous reviews as to the difficulty in expressing the joy I get from violent cinematic action, without sounding utterly psychotic and Centurion really doesn't help my cause. It's no wonder I was eating rare steak and drinking Stella within 24 hours of watching it.

Of special note was one poor souls' timely encounter with a tree, which made me all too aware of why the Biker Scouts in Return of the Jedi wear helmets.

The lack of CGI only helps matters along, with every effect, shot and action feeling gritty and challenging, especially when combined with the naturally stunning backdrop of Scotland. Between Simon Bowles (no relation, sadly) and Sam McCurdy serving as Production Designer and Director of Photography, respectively, the whole film looks and feels much more epic than most films of a much larger budget.

At times, as the score swells and the cameras flies over picturesque mountains, there is a slight feel of the same breathtaking shots that populated The Lord Of The Rings films, an impressive feat and one to be commended.

Actually, looking at my notes, it appears I scribbled down the line "We travel light" during Centurion, which might hint at the intentional influence of Rings. That said, I also thought Virilus was quoting from Van Damme's A.W.O.L. early in the film, so who knows.

For those Den Of Geek readers who also left comments on the trailer we posted, expressing concern over having to root for the invading Romans, while our sympathies are directed towards a handful of Roman soldiers, the Romans as a whole are not painted out to be heroes. Try not to judge the film as being pro-Rome from a historical stance and remember that, technically, Viggo Mortensen was a Nazi in the superb Good, but strong characters aren't always ruled by their label in time.

Of more concern than any issue raised in the film is the slight dread that, as Neil Marshall and his team get bigger and better, a Hollywood sized hole will swallow them up and deny us more of their inventive and exciting films, especially as budget also tends to dictate length and Centurion (at 97 minutes), as with his other films, demands attention from start to finish.

4 stars

Centurion is in UK cinemas from April 23rd.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:40 pm

http://fanthefiremagazine.com/blog/film/film-review-centurion/

Film Review: Centurion
posted by Sam Bathe
categories: film, reviews
19th
Apr 2010

The golden child of British adventure filmmaking, writer/director Neil Marshall, as he ventured into project with bigger and better budgets, Centurion was meant to be the film to really kick his Hollywood ambitions into gear, but in the end, his £10m story set in the heroic ancient war falls uncomfortably between indie and mainstream, and pays the price.

After escaping from a hellish Pict camp, Roman soldier Quintus Dias (Fassbender) joins the legendary Ninth Legion, renowned for their togetherness and fighting spirit, as he continues to take the fights to their powerful adversaries. However, when the group are attacked in an ambush by the Picts, commander General Virilus (West) is captured, leaving the group splintered, forced to fight a new fight, not only for their lives but keep up the hope they can rescue their lost leader.

In an attempt to infuse Centurion with excitement and vigour, the plot picks a path fairly early on and follows it to the end. There’s no depth to the film, no sub-plots, no side interest, and it leaves Centurion feeling wholly linear, and devout real emotion.

Had Marshall crafted a rip-roaring adventure, filled with energy and excitement, then he would have been excused, a characteristic that saved his last film, Doomsday, but here the pacing is uneven and stutters from scene to scene with nothing keeping it ticking along between set-pieces.

In the central role, however, Michael Fassbender is excellent, and almost single handedly will keep your eyes on screen for the bulky feeling 97-minute running time. Fassbender embodies the passion and drive of the ancient, 117 AD era, equally at home in the actions sequences as in the brief moments of dialogue. Olga Kurylenko, though, is not quite as successful.

Playing a mute Pict warrior, masterful at tracking and a match for any Roman with in battle, the role doesn’t really work. Not all of the blame should be laid at the Bond actress’ feet, it’s written in the tired freakish/revenge ridden vein and only grows boring in time, but she has a vacuous and mindless quality that makes the character Etain feel anything but fearsome, unrelenting villain Marshall intended.

Certainly, Centurion is not all bad; some of the action is well choreographed and the set design and location work is fantastic, but without any real character development, my the time the closing credits draw in, you won’t care less about any of the characters, which for a film with a plot so linear, is a fatal flaw.

★★★★★

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:52 pm

http://browntails.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/centurion-my-review/

Centurion – My Review

* April 19, 2010 – 11:56 am

Like a Lumberjack with no arms, Centurion fails to deliver the killer blow.

“Veronica Corningstone: Oh, well, when in Rome.

Ron Burgundy: Yes? Please, go on.

Veronica Corningstone: Uh, do as the Romans do?

Veronica Corningstone: It’s an old expression.

Ron Burgundy: Oh! I’ve never heard of it. It’s wonderful, though.”

Possibly because it wasn’t set in Rome, possibly because of the direction, possibly because of the seriously under-used cast, possibly because like when I play football, it’s not particularly graceful or pretty and I should just stay in the warm and save people from the embarrassing spectacle, Centurion didn’t tickle me in a way I had would have liked. Sorry. From the director of Dog Soldiers and The Decent, you might have thought that this film would be a perfect opportunity for Neil Marshall to really flex his guns behind the camera. Much to my disappointment he hasn’t really done that. Mr Marshall, you’ve let me down here and allow me to tell you why…

A dangerously long synopsis would look something like this

AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts. Quintus Dias (Fassbender), sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus’ (West) legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon. But when the legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines. Enduring the harsh terrain and evading their remorseless Pict pursuers led by revenge-hungry Pict Warrior Etain (Kurylenko), the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and to reach the safety of the Roman frontier…

…Sounds ok, but it’s a round-about way of saying this follows the same narrative structure as all of Marshall’s other work. An group of people enter into a situation, the s$#! hits the fan and there’s one survivor. Consider Dog Soldiers and The Decent and you can pretty much figure out how Centurion plays out. Yawn.

It really is a case of taking a one way ticket to cliché country with a sprinkling of Olga Kurylenko giving her best silent performance, which could mean anything. It’s the type of film that could be likened to one of the novelty cakes that you might give to a dog on its birthday. It’s odd, slightly weird and at the end of the day the dog doesn’t really care. You did it for yourself. Marshall appears to have approached the creation of Centurion in the same way. The negatives that really stick out are the script which appears to have been roped together by a 4 year old, the fact that nothing really happens other than a bunch of men get schooled by a woman and Noel Clarke pops up to deliver the most curious accent I have ever heard. Rome via Hackney I think. I also took issue with the reparative shots that Marshall used it was like he saved on the budget by filming the same location from about 101 different angles to give the film some padding. If I’m honest by the end of the film I didn’t really care about the fate of the Roman men, I just wanted to have a little cry. Only a little one though.

Let’s not dwell on the negative aspects for a moment. Marshall has shot the film in such a way to really bring out the gritty reality of the barbarism that the Romans suffered at the hands of the Picts. The digital film stock and the emphasis on the blues and greys in the movie give the viewer a real sense of the cold and the dirt that the Romans are forced to deal with as they seek safety. There are some cheeky sweeping panoramic shots and Marshall makes the Scottish highlands, whilst relentless and unforgiving, look beautiful and seductive. The battle scenes are also bloody and horrific, which for any hot bloded male you can’t help but get excited about. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to maintain my enthusiasm for the script that stank of cheese and the vastly under-used Fassbender who is currently by far and away one of the best actors working the acting circuit at the moment.

Neil Marshall has been quoted to say, “It’s not meant to be historically perfect. I’m picking up on a legend and exploring it… it’s an action thriller” and to be honest I wish he’d slapped a little more history in there as I may have helped craft the film. I certainly didn’t enjoy it, but I would never say avoid it completely, after all it’s important to have your own opinions about these things. If you manage to see it this weekend please let me know if you think my moan was unjustified.

Centurion arrives at cinemas April 23.

2/5 Stars

Sexy Rob

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:56 pm

http://www.inthenews.co.uk/news/reviews/film/centurion-$1372352.htm

Centurion
Monday, 19, Apr 2010 03:11

Directed by Neil Marshall, out April 23rd in cinemas, starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrisey and Noel Clarke, running time 97 mins.

What's it all about?

Eager to extend the empire's borders Rome sends the legendary Ninth Legion, led by General Virilus (West), to crush the savage Pict natives in northern Britain, with the men joined by Quintus (Fassbender), the only survivor of a violent Pict raid on a frontier fort. But with the Picts attuned to the harsh local terrain and aided by the sharp sense of a mute warrior woman (Kurylenko), the invading Romans find survival will be harder than conquest.

As an example...

"Two years on the frontier. This place is the arsehole of the world. Even the weather wants us dead." - Quintus

"I don't know whether to fight her or... " - Virilus

"She's mute, not deaf!" - Governor Agricola

"Hopeless is the stuff of legend, what they write poems and songs about. And being a legend will get you laid!" - Quintus

"She's Pict and woman. Two reasons not to trust her." - Brick

What the others say

"A fast-paced and action-heavy period piece that focuses on what matters most in a Saturday afternoon matinee: the good stuff." - Scott Weinberg, Cinematical

"A gritty, brutal chase movie that's more about swords (and spears, and axes) than sandals — although it could have done with a lot more character-meat on those bones." - Dan Jolin, Empire

So is it any good?

The laddish tone and explicit gore of Neil Marshall's latest 'people in peril' thriller should be ill-fitting to the film's setting on the outposts of the Roman Empire but for the frankly ludicrous Spartacus: Blood and Sand series aired on the Starz network in the US. But after even a brief glance at the Manga-style violence and frequent sex scenes of Blood and Sand, Marshall's Centurion seems like a measured, restrained study of the roots of Hadrian's Wall.

It's not, of course, and while this survival epic has enough vim to forgive its plot holes and poor characters, it's still unmistakeably a Marshall film. There are savage killings, including stabbed crotches and burning arrow headshots in the opening five minutes, while some excellent sound design makes the audience with every whistling quiver and swiping blade. An arm wrestling contest-turned-mass brawl in the early scenes sparks worries that Centurion will be the Green Street take on sword and sandals action, with a sentry crying a cringeworthy "get stuck in!" as Dominic 'McNulty' West's "ruthless, reckless bastard" of a general metes out punishment. Thankfully, the increasingly impressive Michael Fassbender's on hand to add gravity to a script in which moments of peril are repeatedly ruined by a character's Mockney cry of "Oh s**t!" Ignore some sloppy editing which glosses over Quintus' escape from the Pict camp and with Marshall pulling out his characteristic and close camerawork, Centurion stands a hugely effective and slick slice of masculine pulp. Its frequently two-dimensional characters are also entirely captivating with blokeish support from Liam Cunningham and David Morrissey and Imogen Poots radiant in a brief enchantress role.

If you can handle the blood and guts, and not be put off by the screenplay's combination of classical solemnity and post-office drinks banter, then Centurion remains a superbly shot and brilliantly paced mesh of black comedy, gore and against-the-odds survival.

7.5/10

Lewis Bazley

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:04 pm

http://www.t5m.com/salty-or-sweet/review-centurion-scores-a-violent-and-direct-hit.html

Review: Centurion scores a violent and direct hit
By Clark Hogan-Taylor

19th April

Review: Centurion scores a violent and direct hit

I must admit I had my doubts as soon as I heard the title. All films that feature Roman soldiers in any way are necessarily overlong, inaccurate predictable with laughable scripts where even soldiers of the lowest ranks speak in elliptical prose about honour in battle. They’ve all held the record for highest number of extras and usually culminate in a battle scene that only ever involves either two or two hundred thousand people. They are ‘epic’ in the worst possible way.

Thankfully, Centurion is not what it appears to be. This is, in fact, a very clever film and if I’d given proper thought to Neil Marshall’s back catalogue I would have realised I had nothing to worry about. Centurion’s structure is that of a chase movie superimposed onto a subject matter that usually yields an entirely different genre. As it turns out, turning the story of the unexplained disappearance of the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army into a chase movie is inspired.

The story centres on the Romans’ increasing frustration with the Picts’ resistance to the expansion of their empire by defending what the Romans called Caledonia and Picts presumably called ‘ours’. The action really begins with the Romans’ decision to send the Ninth Legion north, lead by General Virilus (Dominic West), into “the arsehole of the world” to “wipe them from the face of the earth”. The manner in which this mission goes utterly tits up will not be unfamiliar to viewers. Think America in Vietnam, the Soviets in Afghanistan and of the current occupations of the latter and Iraq. Indeed the bumph tells us that the guerrilla tactics of the Picts have been the Romans’ undoing. Given that Virilus alludes to these tactics when he tells his men, “This is a new kind of war, without honour”, it is surprising that the Marshall’s Ninth march loudly into a dense forest in full tortoise formation armed with spears. It was never going to end well, and indeed it doesn’t.

The rest of the film is borne out of this enormous tactical error. Virilus’ capture necessitates his rescue which must necessarily be undertaken by the six sole survivors of the ambush, lead by Quintus (Michael Fassbender). Their sparse number turns them from legionnaires into accidental guerrillas, much more similar to and thus capable of challenging their enemy. Their efforts to rescue the General make Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen) and his Pict army very angry indeed. The chase, as they say, is on. However, it is not a battle of swords but of wits and tracking skills as the band of Roman brothers are pursued across the breathtakingly beautiful Scottish landscape, itself the only suitably epic element in what is otherwise a very concise, focussed and linear film.

Some ingredients gel less well than others however, for while the dialogue is refreshingly witty and, one suspects, quite realistic in the circumstances, the voiceover sounds like something from Lord of the Rings. Its profundity and high-minded pseudo-Shakespearian pronouncements don’t quite match the gritty realism of the action on the ground. Also, since the Pict’s incredible tracking skills are the main threat to the Romans’ escape one would have thought the latter wouldn’t leave helmets and dead animals around to mark their progress. Likewise the ease with which even the Romans are able to lose and find one another does seem rather extraordinary given the absence of satellites and GPS.

But such nitpickings are impossible to sustain in the face of the extreme(ly satisfying) violence and hand-wringing tension that builds to the dramatic climax necessitated by the chase. Like the dialogue, the fight scenes are also reminiscent of other, more modern genre. As in the Bourne Trilogy, every shot is a money shot, every swing a direct hit, and you are left reeling not only at the level of gore but at the fact that this is only rated 15.

One might say, therefore, that Centurion is a hit in more ways than one. None of its ingredients are new but the dish they create most certainly is, and the result is hugely enjoyable. Furthermore, despite the allusions to contemporary neo-imperialism and the failings thereof, it does not fall into the trap of becoming a buttock-numbingly overlong one-sided polemic against the West (I’m looking at you James Cameron. I want my 162 minutes back). Rather it is a variously tense, funny, violent, dark and gripping chase movie set against a stunning backdrop, with all-round convincing performances, particularly from Dominic West, Michael Fassbender and David Morrissey. It was 97 minutes I would happily relive and highly recommend.

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:06 pm

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/04/18/romans-feel-a-bit-pict-on-115875-22193440/

Romans feel a bit Pict on

By Mark Adams 18/04/2010

YOUR MOVIES

Centurion 15, 97mins

Opens Friday, April 23

THE STARS

Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey.

THE STORY

Centurion Quintus Dias (Fasbender) and a few Roman soldiers escape a brutal attack by Picts, but find themselves chased by warriors led by the ferocious Etain (Kurylenko).

THE VERDICT

Neil Marshall's brutal action-packed tale of battle-hardened Roman soldiers being hunted down by clever Picts is stirringly old-fashioned stuff. It might skirt vaguely around Roman politics, but at heart it's a chase movie, with Fassbender impressive as the Centurion (who happens to handily speak a little Pict).

Dominic (The Wire) West has a small role as a Roman general loved by his men, but Bond girl Kurylenko is rather disappointing as the mute Pict fighting machine who is supposed to be a vicious hunter, but in the movie seems barely able to hold her spear let alone fight.

But she does look great though.

FINAL CUT 3

Roman battle epic is brutally entertaining

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