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Reviews and SPOILERS

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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:10 pm

http://movies.sky.com/review/centurion


Director: Neil Marshall
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey
Year: 2010 Running Time: 97 mins Rating: 3 out of 5 3 stars CERT: 15

A bedraggled bunch of Roman soldiers led by Michael Fassbender's resourceful centurion must fight their way through freezing bogs and forests while being pursued by vengeful ancient British warriors. The Descent director Neil Marshall has put together a gripping chase adventure with Bond girl Olga Kurylenko as the vicious local tracker second guessing their every move and Dominic West as a laddish Roman general. Brisk, bloody and occasionally barking, it's not the journey home they would have pict.

Review

"When will people learn not to f**k with the Ninth (Legion)" splutters brawling Roman General Vilinus (The Wire's Dominic West) after the latest ruck has seen him and his boys come out on top.

However, his boastful declaration isn't heeded when the glorious Ninth head north on a genocidal mission to wipe the Picts - hairy warriors with more than an axe to grind - off the face of ancient Caledonia.

Led into a trap by duplicitous tracker Etain (Kurylenko, whose character is missing a tongue so no dialogue required) the ambushed legion is ripped apart by Picts brandishing axes, swords and extremely nasty fireballs.

As dawn breaks, a shell-shocked band of battered survivors led by Michael Fassbender's Quintus, an ex-prisoner of the Picts, opt to go to ground and follow their attackers to the camp where the captured Vilinus is held.

Director Neil Marshall is back on surer ground after the bloated Doomsday with what is essentially a simple chase adventure owing a dramatic debt to the likes of Southern Comfort and Butch Cassidy.

Filmed in cold, steely greys and blues, it's at its best during the numerous action setpieces, particularly close-quarter, hand-to-hand combat where the butchery of axes, knives and spears is shown in all its gory glory (apparently the production kicked off with 200 litres of fake blood and ended up with 25).

Where Marshall isn't so strong is the anachronistic script which sounds like it was lifted from the sort of barrack room banter you might have heard from a National Service sergeant major in the 1950s. Would the Romans ever have used the phrase "behind enemy lines?"

Still, with actors of the calibre of Fassbender, West and David Morrissey all suppressing the giggles and playing it straight, there's plenty to savour, particularly if you like close-ups of throat-slitting, beheadings and arrows being wrenched out of quivering calves.

One for the boys, it's our pict of the week.

Tim Evans
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:30 pm

http://news.scotsman.com/entertainment/Film-Review-Centurion.6248065.jp

Film Review: Centurion

Published Date: 24 April 2010
By Alistair Harkness
CENTURION (15) ***

DIRECTED BY: NEIL MARSHALL

STARRING: MICHAEL FASSBENDER, DOMINIC WEST, OLGA KURYLENKO, NOEL CLARKE
RECOVERING nicely after Doomsday – his misconceived Mad Max 2 homage – Centurion finds the Brit director Neil Marshall back on B-movie form with an unpretentious, straight-up action film set in Roman Britain. The legend of the Ninth Legion, the Roman
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s annihilated after marching into Scotland, is the inspiration for Marshall's survival movie/chase film, with rising star Michael Fassbender playing the fabulously-named Quintus Dias, a soldier who hooks up with the Ninth Legion after escaping the clutches of a rebel Pict tribe intent on eliminating the Roman presence from their land. Olga Kurylenko fulfils Marshall's usual James Cameron-inspired need for a tough female presence by playing a mute Pict tracker who betrays the Romans to hunt them down in brutal fashion. There's juicy support too in the form of Dominic West and David Morrissey as the hunted Romans who not only have to face off against savage locals and wintry terrain, but also some devious face-saving political manoeuvring. Marshall's functional dialogue remains just the right side of ripe, and while some of the blood-spilling action scenes could have benefited from a little more dramatic shaping, it's a mostly satisfying effort.

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* Last Updated: 22 April 2010 9:05 PM
* Source: The Scotsman
* Location: Edinburgh
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:29 pm

http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/170984/Centurion-film-review-and-trailer

CENTURION: FILM REVIEW AND TRAILER

Friday April 23 2010

Legend tells us that in AD117 the Ninth Legion marched into northern Britain and was never heard of again. Elite skills proved no match for the Picts savagery.
Centurion transforms that legend into an unrelentingly violent, blood-sodden movie in which centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) and a brave band of survivors run for their lives through the merciless wintry landscapes of Scotland.

Beautifully shot by Sam McCurdy, Centurion is certainly atmospheric but the brutality and beheadings make it disappointingly monotonous.

REVIEWED BY ALLAN HUNTER

VERDICT 2/5
(Cert 15; 97 mins)
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:31 pm

http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/leisure/8116451.MOVIE_REVIEW__Centurion____/

MOVIE REVIEW: Centurion ***

10:17am Friday 23rd April 2010
* By Matthew Jenkin »

INSPIRED by his time growing up near Hadrian's Wall, Neil Marshall's latest splatter-fest is best watched on an empty stomach and with a pinch of salt.

Set around the 1st century AD, Centurion tells the story of an ill-fated Roman legion – the Ninth - who are ordered to wipe out the savage Pict tribe who are fighting a guerilla war against the imperial invaders.

When the army is ambushed by the vicious natives, centurion Quintus (Michael Fassbender) leads the handful of survivors on a perilous quest to safety.

MOVIE REVIEW: Centurion ***

Like Marshall's previous films – Dog Soldiers, The Descent – Centurion is a curious mash-up of several different genres. Think Braveheart meets Gladiator or Die Hard meets Apocalypto.

But one thing the film does promise in abundance is gore, gore and, ooh, more gore. Heads explode, arms are chopped off and people are burnt and squashed.

Prosthetics designer Paul Hyett proudly claims to have got through about 200 litres of blood only half way through the shoot.

Marshall clearly relishes finding ever more messy ways of disposing characters and justifies the blood bath by saying he wanted to realistically depict the brutality of war.

MOVIE REVIEW: Centurion ***

However, the comic strip violence is more likely to issue forth a chuckle than a gasp of shock from the viewer.

Surprisingly for what has been pitched as a “gripping survival thriller” suspense is at a premium, with the lion's share of attention being given over to the film's battle scenes.

Aside from the film's (literally) gutsy action, the film's biggest failing is its inability to provide a truly likeable or identifiable hero.

MOVIE REVIEW: Centurion ***

Picts and Romans alike are equally despicable and revolting and choosing a character to root for is more agonising than deciding whether you'd prefer Stalin or Hitler on a blind date.

Despite its faults, Centurion's strong cast boost the film from being a barely watchable horror flick to being an enjoyable, but silly, action adventure.

Fassbender more than holds his own as an action hero, while former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is superb as the cold-blooded Pictish warrior Etain, thirsty to avenge the death of her family at the hands of the Romans.

Despite never speaking a word – her tongue was cut out by the heartless Latins – Kurylenko is scarier than Cheryl Cole with a pair of blunt scissors in a footballers' nudist camp.

MOVIE REVIEW: Centurion ***

The impressive cinematography – with its sweeping shots of the Scottish highlands – gives the film an epic feel, despite its obviously limited budget.

With its balls to the walls horror, Centurion may not be for the faint-hearted, but if not taken too seriously, it is a fun and entertaining popcorn movie.

Centurion (15) is out in cinemas today.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:33 pm

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/entertainmentnews/Film-review-Centurion/article-2044564-detail/article.html

Film review: Centurion
Friday, April 23, 2010, 09:00

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Centurion (15)

★★★

IN Neil Marshall's fourth feature film he takes the simple myth of the Ninth Legion and turns it into 90 minutes of muddy, bloody action.

The Ninth Legion is a group of Roman soldiers who entered Scotland in 117 AD and mysteriously vanished, or so the myth goes. With Centurion, Marshall provides us with his explanation, which sees the Romans (led by Michael Fassbender's Quintus Dias) go deep behind enemy lines and become victim to the brutal Picts.

The premise is simple enough once Dominic West's Roman general is captured. The soldiers (David Morrissey, Noel Clarke, Liam Cunningham) must attempt to rescue him.

For anyone who has seen Marshall's previous films it is not a surprise that Scotland/ Caledonia becomes a character in its own right. It is evident the director is proud of his heritage. Shots of sprawling locations give the film an epic quality despite its relatively small £7m budget.

Although violent it is not overly gratuitous, rather a portrayal of the true brutality of war.

This is Fassbender's film; he has slowly been on the rise since his breathtaking performance in Hunger. Here he proves that he can easily lead an action film, playing the thinking man's hero.

There is a subtlety to the performance that hints Dias is a tortured soul rather than a single-minded soldier.

Although visually stunning, with a great lead performance, Centurion lacks a sense of urgency. Even the final battle is lacklustre. If only the plot matched the quality of the visuals and performances.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:35 pm

http://www.metro.co.uk/metrolife/film/822946-centurion-has-lip-smacking-gore-strong-characters-and-surprisingly-interesting-ideas

Larushka Ivan-Zadeh - 23rd April, 2010

Centurion has lip-smacking gore, strong characters and surprisingly interesting ideas
Centurion (15, running time: 97mins) is the latest from Neil Marshall, the Brit writer/director of Dog Soldiers and The Descent.

Centurion film review Etain (ex-Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko) stars in survival thriller Centurion

It’s AD 117, oop North. A small band of plucky Picts are holding out against the Roman invaders.

You know the score: blue-faced warriors with kilts and battleaxes bellowing ‘raaaah!’

The difference being that this latest version of Braveheart is shot from the baddies’ point of view.

So it’s Roman General Dominic West and his merry band of hot Brit acting talent (Michael Fassbender, Noel Clarke, Riz Ahmed) that we’re rooting for as they’re relentlessly chased by the bloodthirsty Picts.

Tumbling fire-balls, lip-smacking gore, strong characters, surprisingly interesting ideas, a delight in genre-blending, laddie banter and ex-Bond Girl Olga Kurylenko hilariously attempting to wield a spear fatter than herself; this entertaining survival thriller has all the Boy’s Own action you’d expect from the Brit writer/director of Dog Soldiers and The Descent, Neil Marshall, who seems to be heading for Hollywood via Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:30 pm

http://www.rachael-stirling.com/press/reviews/2010/04/23/centurion-2/

Centurion

* Source: Radio Times
* Author: AJ
* Date: 23 April 2010

Writer/director Neil Marshall examines the fate of Rome's legendary Ninth Legion in this dull and episodic take on the myth. In Britain in AD 117, the legion are sent to vanquish the Picts and their leader Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), only to face a sustained onslaught under the command of the mute Etain (Quantum of Solace Bond girl Olga Kurylenko). Hero Quintus (a weak Michael Fassbender) and his fast-diminishing platoon must then evade capture as they race for the Roman frontier. Marshall takes the survival template from his previous films Dog Soldiers and The Descent into the sub-Gladiator/300 arena, but fails to invest his core characters with any personality, meaning who lives or dies becomes immaterial amid the grungy battle footage drenched in CGI gore. Though it's technically impressive and has an epic sweep, the lack of suspense and emotional involvement makes this little more than a chase movie in ancient garb.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:46 pm

http://panicdots.com/2010/04/centurion-review/

Centurion – Review

* 24/04/2010 11:50 am
* Andrew Moore
* 0 Comments

Its been a while since I’ve seen a film set around the Roman Empire, surely Ridley Scott’s Gladiator wasn’t the last one was it? Probably not, but I do like to blank those god awful Asterix films out of my mind. Hoping to fly the flag for the, ill fated but never forgotten, empire is the latest movie from Neil Marshall (The Descent, Dog Soldiers), Centurion.

The premise behind the film is set around, the legendary, Roman Ninth Legion whose disappearance still alludes historians and archaeologists to this day. Director Neil Marshall however thought he would take his own stab at conjuring a theory that they were essentially all wiped out by the native Celts, or Picts, save for a few survivors who go on a suicidal mission across harsh enemy territory to get themselves home.

Though sporting an impressive cast list featuring, the ever-versatile, Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Inglourious Basterds), Dominic West (The Wire), Noel Clarke (Kidulthood, Doctor Who), David Morrissy (State of Play, Red Riding) oh and that horrendous excuse for a Bond girl, Olga Kurylenko, the film never really had the chance to suck you into its harsh environment and sheer brutality in the way I was genuinely hoping.

Though I won’t lie, I did enjoy it for what it was – which wasn’t much admittedly – the film suffered greatly from what seemed like a heavily edited script which made the narrative more ill-conceived than it should have been, jumping from one set of bleak circumstances to the next. Due to this, I was left rather disheartened as I never had the chance to truly connect with these characters in the manner I would have liked. But sure who needs complex character development when men and women are being butchered you ask? BLOOD! GORE! GRRRRLS! Which is a fair question, but call me old fashioned in that respect.

That’s not to say Centurion was a complete shambles. Fassbender was brilliant in the lead role – considering what he had to work with, similarly so was West (still playing a little on his character from The Wire), the rest of the cast however never really sparked my interest, though I think the – already much battered – editing of the film also attributed to that. Another highlight for me personally was Kurylenko never opening her mouth, she could kick some ass, looked pretty enough and frankly that’s about all I can take of her.

In a visual capacity I thought the director captured the ferocious settings in a beautiful manner, despite the rather comedic opening credit sequence, however I can’t really fault him for trying something a bit different. The whitewashed effect on the camera lent a minor degree of elegance and class, to a film which, will hardly be associated with both those two words in the years to come.

Final Thoughts
An entertaining and brutal affair which unfortunately lacks a genuine killer edge, suffering from some horrendous editing room choices. Fassbender once again shows his credentials as a fantastic leading man, while Kurylenko shows all she’s good for is to just stand there and never open her mouth, harsh but true. A likely director’s cut upon the film’s DVD release might clear up a few of the ridiculous loose ends but perhaps – to be romantic about it – the disjointed nature of the film lends itself beautifully to the mystery of the Ninth Legion which has alluded historians for centuries since. Suppose I shouldn’t have expected much more from the man who directed The Descent…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

See This If You Liked…
Gladiator and 300
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:47 pm

http://www.shropshirestar.com/latest/2010/04/24/centurion/

Centurion

Saturday 24th April 2010, 8:57AM BST.

British writer-director Neil Marshall appears to have peaked with his riotous 2002 debut, Dog Soldiers, a low-budget horror comedy about a squad of British Army officers under attack from man-sized wolves.

What that film lacked in budgetary muscle it made up for in gore, invention and tongue-in-cheek humour.

His subsequent pictures, The Descent and Doomsday, have remained firmly embedded in the horror genre with an increasing reliance on mindless action to prop up weak scripts.

Marshall’s slow and steady decline continues with Centurion, a survival thriller set in 117 AD Britain which was shot on the mountains of Aviemore in the dead of a Scottish winter.

Audiences will have a similarly icy response to the film.

Opening with the image of a half-naked man running, hands bound, across snow-laden hills, Marshall’s bloodthirsty B-movie barely pauses for breath for such trivial concerns as character development or historical veracity.

Slow-motion fight sequences and the flashing blades of swords are the director’s primary concern, accomplished with a miasma of digitally-rendered blood and guts.

Roman General Titus Virilus (Dominic West) leads the legendary Ninth Legion into battle against the savage Picts and their leader Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen).

During the melee, Virilus is taken hostage and most of his loyal men are slain.

Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) and a splinter group of sword-wielding warriors including Bothos (David Morrissey), Brick (Liam Cunningham), Macros (Noel Clarke), Tarak (Riz Ahmed) and Thax (JJ Feild) survive and they attempt to rescue the general.

Like the rest of the film, their hastily-conceived rescue mission is a disaster and Virilus passes the mantle to Quintus Dias, barking, ‘What’s left of the Legion is yours to command, now go!’ The Romans flee but legendary Pict tracker, Etain (Olga Kurylenko), quickly has them in her sights and she leads a small party of warriors in hot pursuit.

Sprinting over perilous terrain, Quintus Dias and his comrades cannot shake Etain.

They are gradually whittled down by the Picts, and the stragglers seek shelter with the witch Arianne (Imogen Poots) before readying themselves for the final showdown in an abandoned fort.

‘If Etain is hunting you, you may as well be dead,’ professes the witch.

‘That’s comforting,’ reply the Romans.

Centurion has the makings of an excellent comedy except everyone involved in the film takes the trek across the mountains very seriously.

Dialogue is limp, the action scenes become repetitive and the cast aren’t willing to commit themselves completely to their two-dimensional roles.

Fassbender, who was mesmerising as Bobby Sands in Hunger, doesn’t have to engage his brain at any point to play his emaciated hero.

The romantic subplot with Poots’s outcast is rushed, providing Marshall with an unabashedly-cheesy resolution to all of the macho posturing.

* Release Date: Friday 23 April 2010
* Certificate: 15
* Runtime: 97mins
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:54 pm

http://movieblaze.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/blazin-review-centurion/

April 23, 2010
Blazin’ Review: Centurion
Posted by movieblaze under Blazin' Reviews
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Noel Clarke, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrissey

Director: Neil Marshall

Writer: Neil Marshall

Cinematography: Sam McCurdy

Original Score: Llan Eshkeri

Running Time: 97 Mins.

Neil Marshall likes to place his character’s in the bleakest of situations, and locations, take his previous three films, Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday, all see a small group trying to survive in enemy territory against all odds, when I tell you that his fourth film as director, Centurion, concerns the Roman’s attempts to conquer the Picts of Scotland you should now be able to put two and two together and guess what the plot will amount too.

This is the first of two films due this year that look at the infamous Roman’s Ninth Legion (Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle of the Ninth being due in September), Marshall unsurprisingly sees the majority of the garrison obliterated during an ambush and their General captured, low and behold there is a small group of survivors who, led by the heroic Quintus Dias (Fassbender), set out to rescue Virilus (West) pitting themselves against a vengeful Pict, Etain (Kurylenko) and her band of feral, face painted warriors.

There is nothing wrong with a director repeating a formula, especially if said formula works, and it works well enough with Centurion, though Marshall’s last effort Doomsday was not a complete success it at least dared to try something new at times, a saving grace that Centurion doesn’t possess. That’s not to say it’s a bad film just rather devoid of any inspiration or originality of its own, the obvious comparison is Gladiator especially given the hugely similar cinematography and the always snowy vista (as seen in Gladiator’s opening), this though is not the comparison I would take issue with, rather (in the light of re-watching them recently) it is The Lord of the Rings trilogy with Fellowship of the Ring in particular that Centurion bears unflattering homage.

Structural, i.e. story based, similarities are obvious and in truth not really an issue as the charismatic group journeying across mountains and woods in search of a Macguffin is nothing new, rather it is the cosmetic influences that the scope of Centurion becomes somewhat diminished and highlight’s how far removed from the experience of Lord of the Rings rather than providing a favourable memory. Shot’s of the group trekking over mountain tops, sword-fights in woods and the gritty tussle’s against a primitive foe are in their own right not badly handled but when they inspire memories of such a grand filmic achievement the lack of achievement with the film at hand is non-existent.

Aside from unfavourable comparison though there is enjoyment to be found if you can overlook the lack of originality, the casting is top-notch utilising lesser known (but hugely talented) actors to add an air of authenticity. Fassbender adds another string to his ever-growing bow of great character parts that serve the film rather than his star status and Dominic West is, as ever, fantastic especially in the film’s stand out one on one fight with Kurylenko’s Pict warrior. Kurylenko herself also manages to make Etain a worthy foe albeit a little two-dimensional though arguably it would take a much better actress to give a word-less character any more emotion than simple menace or sadness.

VERDICT

Centurion‘s saving grace is ultimately that it doesn’t stop long enough for you to think too much, apart from misjudged romantic interlude, the action is solid if not inspired though it’s unlikely to bear repeat viewing or linger long in the memory.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:59 pm

http://www.eatsleeplivefilm.com/?p=701

Review: Centurion
Posted 23 April 2010

Neil Marshall is back for more overblown awesomeness as his new effort Centurion is released in UK cinemas today. Remember folks, don’t f&#! with the Ninth…

I love the work of Neil Marshall as any regular reader of mine will know. Though he is mostly celebrated for 2005’s The Descent, I am most grateful to him for 2008’s Doomsday, so much so that I wrote a piece defending that film a few weeks back, which can be found here. It is therefore no surprise that I was looking forward to his new effort Centurion which sees him move out of the more horrific styled stuff he has done up until now. Instead the film is a swords and sandals low budget epic of sorts starring a wide range of British talent and also former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko as the lead villain, with the trailer hitting at what essentially boils down to Gladiator meets The Warriors. Though with added arrows fired at cocks.

Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) is a Roman Centurion who has had a fair bit of s$#! thrown at him lately. After his base is attacked by hostile locals the Picts, he is captured by them but set free just in the nick of time by the Ninth Legion, headed up by Virilus (Dominic West), much loved leader of this troop. Quintus joins with them in a mission to take out the Picts “by any means necessary”. However while on the march, they find themselves ambushed and the troop of 300 men are massacred leaving only 8, though Virilus one of these, has actually been captured. The remaining men, led by Quintus go on a mission to get Virilus back and then to get away to safety with their lives intact.

Centurion displays something that I have never seen with a Neil Marshall film and unfortunately its not a good thing. Up until now, he has done what so many others fail at and has had a damn satisfying ending with every film which manages to wrap up the plot while leaving you wanting more. While the plot is indeed wrapped up here, and though you may well want more, I don’t think you can call the last third of this film all that satisfying and this is something that may leave a bad taste in the mouth. Fairly late in the film we are introduced to a love interest for Fassbender’s character and while their relationship is dealt with by the actors well, they have a decent amount of chemistry, though Imogen Poots looks WAY too glamorous for the role, this both stops the film dead in its tracks, opens up one scene to a massive logic hole and also really telegraphs the ending of the film, something that again Marshall has never actually dealt with before. There have been some rumblings that Marshall was not entirely happy with the producers on the film and indeed this cut does feel rather compromised in the final act and I would be interested to see if some sort of alternative cut is made available in the future but for now, the way this disrupts the flow and the focus of the film is a real shame and something that can certainly hurt it in the future.

It is even more a shame that the film doesn’t stick the landing as to be honest, the first 2 acts are absolutely f#%@#&! fantastic and sees Neil Marshall working at his absolute A-game. Though distributed by Warner Brothers, this is a low budget British production and as such you may think that it could have the cheap look which low budget action films are often plagued by but while the film never exactly looks like a $100 million effort, the whole thing looks like a god damn FILM, and a very good looking one at that. Working with cinematographer Sam McCurdy who has lensed all his films, Marshall creates a cold, desolate landscape, indeed the opening titles make fantastic use of the incredible locations and sets this up straight away, and when the action starts it looks bloody, it feels gritty and it is just very cool to watch. I am also somewhat amazed that the film got a 15 certificate as while the violence is never super intense, the sheer amount of it, and the detail in certain shots (make-up effects maestro Paul Hyett also reteaming with Marshall for this project) is sure to lead to some great reactions in a crowd and will also along with Kick Ass, really open up some younger minds to the kinds of arm loppings and beheadings that they can look forward to in many films to come. The scenes are also directed well with clear action and some nice stylised shots making sure that you will remember these sequences long after the credits roll.

As I said earlier, the film essentially plays as a mixture between Gladiator and The Warriors, combining the honour, though also ignorance and foolish pride of the Romans, with an admitedly generic “got to get home from a long way away” type story and while it’s not the most memorable, it is helped a great deal by the performances and also the simple trick of having certain characters picked off at moments you won’t expect. Suffice it to say, not many of the wide range of actors in the film will be making it by the film’s end but with certain actors, you will really feel the pain. Michael Fassbender is already on his way to becoming a real star and this helps with that aim. Looking like he can handle himself but with a nobility which you can see the other men gravitating towards, his character could have been bland but with Fassbender, he becomes a hero you want to root for. Dominic West also plays this but with a bit more of the badass about him and the two make a decent double act. Liam Cunningham (a real “hey that guy”) has a nice arc in learning that his way of looking at things may not be always right and he brings a great amount of warmth and charm to his role. David Morrissey gets less to do than I expected, as do much of the cast if I am honest, but he gets some of the better lines of the film and also looks like he can handle himself. Noel Clarke and Riz Ahmed also make notable splashes though again it feels like their roles, along with JJ Field and Dimitri Leonidas have been cut down a fair bit for this cut. Olga Kurylenko may get no lines at all, her character has no tounge, but she is intense and really quite terrifying in her role and is as stong a villain as you could want, single minded, lethal and animalisitic, she is impressive.

Centurion is not, in my opinion, Neil Marshall’s best film but then I think Doomsday is so what do I know? What it is though is a brutal, bloody and damn entertaining genre film which I think any red blooded male will have a great deal of fun with. My only real criticisms come with some rushed plotting and an anti-climactic feel to the final third, something which I feel may be fixed to a certain extent with a future release of a vision that may be more of what Neil Marshall really wanted. For now though its a solid entry in his filmography which I will certainly be watching again many times which looks fantastic, has some decent performances and has a great deal of dismemberment. Which lets be honest, is all we really want.

8/10

Ian Loring.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:00 pm

http://www.reelscotland.com/?p=1651

Centurion
April 23, 2010 By ReelScotland Leave a Comment

Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) returns to the big screen this weekend with Roman epic, Centurion.

Set In AD 117, Centurion tells the myth of the legendary Roman Ninth Legion who are on a mission to wipe out the Picts and kill their leader, Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen). The Legion is joined by Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), a survivor from a Roman frontier fort that the Picts raided. After the majority of the Ninth are wiped out, what follows is essentially a chase movie as the remaining members of the Ninth are hunted down by their vicious adversaries.

ReelScotland trio, Ross Maclean, Jonathan Melville and Richard Bodsworth sat down to discuss the film in the second roundtable review.

Ross Maclean: What do we make of Marshall’s other films?

Richard Bodsworth: I’m a massive Marshall fan. Dog Soldiers has become something of a cult favourite while The Descent, for me anyway, is a classic of the horror genre.

Jonathan Melville: I’ll admit to being a Marshall novice having avoided him up to now, though not on purpose – just always managed to miss screenings on Film4 and the DVDs didn’t come my way.

Ross: I loved Dog Soldiers and still do. The Descent I liked when it came out but recently revisited and was disappointed. Doomsday I have little time for.

Jonathan: I’ve wanted to watch Dog Soldiers for years, and have seen snippets, but again it always eluded me. I’ve always expected high concept and low budget.

Ross: That’s about right, but handled with flair.

Richard: People bash Doomsday. It’s not great but it’s not awful either. It seemed to me he just wanted to have some fun, wouldn’t you if you were thrown buckets of cash?

Ross: Doomsday is less a Marshall film and more an exercise in how to badly remake Mad Max.

Jonathan: Would you say you know what you’re getting with a Marshall film? Again, I always have that feeling that he’s probably trying hard with little resources – am I doing him a disservice?

Ross: He does do well with what he has. He’s certainly the only British filmmaker plying his trade in this area.

Richard: It’s nice to see him favour a strong female lead without their tits hanging out.

Ross: Agreed. He writes good roles for women (apart from Dog Soldiers)

Jonathan: Who would you say the ‘typical’ Marshall fan is?

Ross: Typical Marshall fan is really any fan of genre cinema.

Richard: He pays homage to a lot of films, not just in the horror genre, in all his films.

Jonathan: He does seem to dabble in a few styles.

Ross: Many styles but same general genre.

Jonathan: Did your knowledge of his work give you any preconceptions of Centurion?

Ross: Definitely. I wasn’t expecting something too deep, just fun. Roman, without the weight of Gladiator or the like.

Richard: Did you think it was trying too deep and became less fun?

Ross: Nah, I definitely don’t think I could accuse it of being deep. It was a romp.

Jonathan: I don’t think it was trying to be deep as such, but he did try to give some characterisation, only some mind. The set-up was just an excuse to get into the fighting.

Richard: Characterisation? What, the round the fire chat?

Jonathan: Well maybe characterisation is a bit strong then! It was quite surface level.

Ross: It was very laddish. To the extent of seeming incongruous with the period setting. I know many of our swear words hail from Latin but it just seemed like the chat in a Wetherspoons on a Friday night!

Richard: Fassbender is too classy for Wetherspoons.

Filming took place in the Scottish Highlands

Jonathan: So, the cast; a very strong ensemble.

Ross: Individually fine actors – but not convinced by them as a unit.

Richard: Dominic West was awesome. As too was Fassbender, seems like a solid lead actor.

Jonathan: I was impressed with the cast he pulled together, not bad for a low budget British film, though admittedly most of them are seen in many a low budget British film! Fassbender was always the one-to-watch for me, followed by West.

Ross: Liam Cunningham impressed me most. Although Fassbender is a solid leading man.

Jonathan: I got the feeling West was doing a bit of an Ollie Reed here, not taking it too seriously – was that just me?

Richard: Nope, he was rocking OR.

Ross: I’d say West had certainly summoned up a bit of Oliver. Noel Clarke’s accent and demeanour didn’t seem that far removed from his usual screen persona – despite a difference of a couple of millennia. It sounded like he was dissing the Picts from a Grime night in Sarf London.

Jonathan: No, Clarke wasn’t given much direction by the looks of it, very much a bloke from modern day added to a historical setting.

Ross: I like Noel Clarke but his character just seemed way out of place.

Jonathan: That’s the thing with Centurion, everyone seems to be viewing it as a bit of a romp, the script obviously leading the way with its verbal anachronisms. There are some serious elements in there, or at least elements where the cast have to be serious because people are being sent into battle or slaughtered, but overall it’s an excuse to shed a bit of blood.

Ross: It is totally a romp. Period setting, but very little in terms of history going on. It felt about as genuine as Asterix.

Jonathan: If we just take it as that then, it is entertaining. I didn’t ever get bored.

Ross: I was never bored but, even as pure entertainment, it wasn’t world class. It had glaring faults – in particular an early plot hole, or certainly structural gaffe.

Richard: That bloody Fassbender escape!

Ross: The plot hole at the start was badly handled. We never find out how he escapes the Picts in the first place. In the first ten minutes of the film Quintus is escaping twice, at two different times, and the two run together. It’s a bit confused.

Jonathan: True, it lost me within the first 15 minutes or so, I’m glad it wasn’t just me!

Richard: That was an issue for me also. Another was too many characters and not enough screen time but as you said, were we expecting deep characters?

Ross: I just thought the dialogue among the Legion didn’t seem to fit. Some scenes worked really well though – the fiery ambush being the best example.

Jonathan: What did you think of the Romans vs. Picts set-up? Did it side too much with the Romans who were actually invading a country and trying to wipe the Picts out in the process?

Ross: Is it an allegory? Seems to have some modern day relevance!

Jonathan: I suppose it could be seen as one.

Richard: Let’s face it; this was not ever going to be a historical document, it was made for blood-lashing entertainment.

Ross: A lot of Roman-set films are usually labelled epics. What was this trying to achieve in that respect? It seemed to address the issue of feeling ‘epic’ by having every scene transition punctuated with sweeping helicopter shots over mountains or silhouetted figures running across a ridge.

Richard: That’s a tough one. As you can tell from previous Marshall films he does extremely well for the budget, but do you really think he expected it to be a Gladiator-esque epic? I don’t.

Jonathan: I don’t think they could hope to have been epic, but the opening scenes did look impressive while the Roman camp was inhabited by a number of soldiers. Still, that’s not epic, just a good use of extras.

Ross: I don’t either – but then all those grand shots seemed to be suggesting he was aiming for a more than just schlocky trash?

Jonathan: I’d say it was meant to be more than trash.

Ross: Same here, but to label it as just an excuse for blood-letting suggests that. ‘Pulp’ seems a better fit.

Jonathan: Pulp would be more accurate, an action film with togas.

Ross: Predator with sandals?

Michael Fassbender Picts a fight

Jonathan: The cast is one of the signs he was aiming for more. Cunningham, Morrissey and Freeman are a bit more heavyweight than many films of its ilk.

Ross: Although they’ve all done their time in more ‘lowbrow’ stuff before: Dog Soldiers, Basic Instinct 2, Hot Fuzz (to take those three names).

Richard: Freeman?

Ross: Paul Freeman, Belloq!

Jonathan: Sorry, Paul Freeman, Belloq, yes!

Richard: Oh. I must have been busy watching Olga.

Ross: She was actually really impressive.

Jonathan: She did really well here.

Richard: The most interesting of the lot!

Ross: She was perhaps the most memorable character despite being, literally, speechless.

Jonathan: And Imogen Poots?

Ross: Pointless.

Richard: Romantic subplots do not work for me. Always feels like padding.

Ross: Unnecessary and a pretty awful Scottish accent.

Jonathan: It felt really tacked on and obvious.

Ross: Would there even be such a thing as a ‘Scottish’ accent then?

Richard: Ross, they got away with Cockney accents…

Ross: True. True.

Jonathan: And Liverpudlian.

Ross: Okay, I’ll focus less on the intricacies of dialect!

Jonathan: The score was also quite impressive while the fighting sequences were handled well.

Richard: We are picking holes in a pretty cool action film. What did you make of the fights? There were a few nice kills.

Jonathan: I found myself waiting for each new set-piece and wasn’t disappointed by what I saw.

Ross: Was rip-roaring. Definitely an entertaining watch. The fights were well handled and the horse-based stuff was great, really well lensed. The odd character was denied a decent pay-off though – which I found a bit disappointing.

Jonathan: There was an attempt to do something interesting with West’s character, I would have loved to have seen it go a bit more Braveheart at the end as he looked around him for help that didn’t come. It was nearly there. There was an attempt…

Ross: It was obviously formulaic in that the characters are dispatched one-by-one but it flowed quite well. Never felt it dragging.

Richard: No, it was nicely paced.

Jonathan: I went in expecting a fun, low budget, action flick and I got one. The cast did well with the script and it came into its own in the last 20 minutes or so. Don’t expect an epic and you’ll be fine.

Richard: All in all, if you can forgive the slightly under boiled characters there is a lot of fun to be had and lots of blood and lots of limbs.

Ross: Impressive cast but a largely average actioner with a few standout moments. Looked great and the scenery was a definite plus-point. For me the third act was where the film lost it a bit. The most interesting stuff was in the chase section rather than when they were aiming for a specific destination.

Ratings

Ross ★★★★★

Jonathan ★★★★★

Richard ★★★★★
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:04 pm

http://www.filmireland.net/2010/04/23/centurian/

Centurion

Fri, Apr 23, 2010

DIR/ WRI: Neil Marshall • PRO: Christian Colson, Robert Jones • DOP: Sam McCurdy • ED: Chris Gill • DES: Simon Bowles • CAST: Michael Fassbender Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey

I suppose you have to give Centurion’s director Neil Marshall his due – after directing the triple Ds of Doomsday, The Descent and Dog Soldiers, I’m fairly sure he could be Hollywood’s lap dog at this stage and putting his talents to misuse on unnecessary, hollow remakes of horror films. But instead he continues to plough his trade in England. His latest film may not be up to his previous work, but it is mildly entertaining and if this spring sunshine is too much for you, there are worse reasons than this to seek refuge in the cinema.

Centurion is his stab at the sword and sandals genre, telling the story of the alleged mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Roman Legion in Britain in 117 AD. For mysterious, read brutally slaughtered by the Picts – a confederation of Celtic tribes.

Basically, a ridiculous plot is put in place to serve the purpose of a small band of Romans being forced on the run and being picked off (is there a pun possible here?) one-by-one as they are pursued by the painted warriors defying the Roman Empire.

The film chugs along at a frantic pace as the funny-named Roman protagonists, led by Quintus Dias, (spoiler alert!) run and fight, and run and fight…and hide…and then run and fight. Marshall has no intention of exploring any depth of character and motivation here, as simple premises are quickly interjected and disposed off in order to set up the action. As a result it’s pretty hard to actually give a damn what happens to this gang of Romans on the run. Truth be told, I spent the entire film cheering for the Picts. You’ve gotta love them.

Yet in its simplicity there are things to like about the film. The battle choreography is excellent and edited skilfully to provide the necessary thrills. The gore quotient is high and of good quality – there were a lot of ‘eyuch’-type sounds coming from those watching. The production design is top notch and the Scottish landscape is used to great effect; shot in drained steely colours with sweeping camera movements capturing the terrain with a keen eye.

The performances are irrelevant and the dialogue ludicrous. Most of the talent on offer here is wasted. The hardest part of the actors’ performances was probably to deliver their lines without falling about the place laughing. (‘Did nobody tell them never to f**k with the Romans’).

Though visually engaging, Centurion never strays from the template of survival set down in The Descent and Dog Soldiers, With its limp storytelling, superficial characters and repetitive structure, Centurion stubbornly refuses to veer from its basic narrative framework of survival and never extends beyond its one-trick pony of a game of ‘kill-chase’.

Steven Galvin

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Centurion is released on 23 April 2010
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:34 pm

http://www.paisleydailyexpress.co.uk/renfrewshire-news/local-news-in-renfrewshire/paisley-news/2010/04/23/david-is-finally-part-of-the-conspiracy-87085-26295514/

If you prefer a bit more carnage for your cash, then you should check out Centurion – also out today.

Starring Olga Kurylenko, Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and David Morrissey, this adrenalin-pumping historical action thriller focuses on a tiny group of Roman soldiers who run – and fight – for their lives.

It’s the First Century AD, and the Roman Empire has conquered much of the known world.

However, its relentless onslaught has ground to a halt in Northern Britain where its legions face the guerrilla tactics of the savage Scottish tribes known as the Picts.

Quintus (Fassbender), sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with the legendary Ninth Legion of General Virilus (West), with orders to annihilate the Picts.

But when the legion is ambushed and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines.

Hunted over harsh terrain by remorseless Pict pursuers, including ferocious warrior woman Etain (Kurylenko), the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and reach the safety of the Roman frontier.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:38 pm

http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/theatrical-reviews/centurion/

Centurion
Released April 23 2010
Directed By Neil Marshall
Starring Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrissey

After Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday, Neil Marshall continues to confound the rulebook of British cinema. Centurion sees an impressive roster of local actors press-ganged into service as an unruly gaggle of Roman soldiers, caught in an unwinnable war against the hostile Picts in the northernmost reaches of the empire.

It is here that General Virilus (Dominic West) and his Ninth Legion have been sent for the further glory of the motherland, and here they will founder thanks to the scheming of mysterious, mute ‘she wolf’ Etain (Olga Kurylenko). It is here also that centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) will find himself caught between two cultures, in the thick of a bloody battle from which it will take all his mettle to escape alive.

Marshall is an unabashed movie lover, which is to say, he is a borderline plagiarist – his films filled with nods and winks to a raft of other (often better) films, most obviously here in Centurion’s evocation of Gladiator, and the helicopter shots stolen lock-stock from The Lord of the Rings. But Marshall’s strength as a filmmaker is his ability to take the clichés and conventions of Hollywood action and remake them in a peculiarly British idiom. It’s this potent mixture of deference and defiance that makes his transgressions fun, forgiveable – even ennobling.

And Centurion is chock full of transgressions. From Michael Fassbender’s wobbly English accent (“My name is Quintus Dias… begorrah!”) to the toe-curling dialogue to the gleaming golden hair and perfectly painted lips of Imogen Poots’ ‘witch’ Arian (because she’s worth it), Centurion commits a litany of crimes, any one of which should be enough to land it in the movie slammer.

There are other, more fundamental problems, too. With the Ninth Legion routed, the narrative switches course, becoming a band-on-the-run thriller as the surviving Romans are hunted by the merciless Picts. And yet it’s difficult to know who to root for. With their mad eye shadow and grubby clothes, the Picts are presented as conventional movie bad guys; but it’s the Romans who are the murderous occupiers of this foreign land, as we’re often reminded. Is this a political film in disguise, then? A contemporary comment through ancient mouths? Hardly. Marshall is too busy laying on the claret to interrogate the movie’s central ambivalence.

But even as the ‘f***’s fly, the accents creak and the audience groans, Centurion just about stays afloat. Because for all that it suffers from Marshall’s customary weaknesses, it benefits from his signature verve, his mad ambition and wilful eye for violence. It may be cheese, but it’s of a fine vintage.

Matt BochenskiAnticipation:
Looks like one for the boys. Anticipation Score 3
Enjoyment:
It is one for the boys. And the drunker they are, the more they’ll enjoy it. Enjoyment Score 3
In Retrospect:
Marshall makes another grandiose British action film to add to the very short list. In Retrospect Score 3
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:32 pm

http://www.bombedoutinspace.com/2010/04/25/centurion-2010/

Centurion (2010)

After the phenomenal success of The Descent (2005), Neil Marshall earned himself a reputation as one of the brightest young horror directors in the world, with this success brought associations with the so-called ‘Splat Pack’ of new generation horror filmmakers. As well as this somewhat dubious association Marshall was awarded a higher budget for his follow up; Doomsday (2008). This greater monetary clout did not have the desired effect for Marshall as the film received mixed reviews and a lukewarm reception at the box office. As a result of this Centurion is a crucial film in terms of the direction which Marshall’s career will go in the next few years.Centurion tells the story of a group of Roman soldiers, lead by Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender). Who are fighting to get out from deep behind enemy lines after their legion is massacred by the brutal Pict tribe. While being pursued by the fearless Pict warrior Etain (Olga Kurylenko). The film is an unashamedly gory and enjoyable piece of British cinema, but the film is not a complete success.

The main issue which I have with the film is its plot. Which I felt that, although well developed, was a little formulaic and predictable. This caused the film to be slightly less of an edge of the seat experience than I had hoped for. Another issue with the film was the depiction of the Pict tribe; Despite the fact that the Picts are supposed to be the natives and the Romans the invaders, Marshall constructs them in a way that makes the audience feel that it is actually the other way round, most notably by having the Picts speak in a very strange ‘native’ tongue which makes them seem foreign and invasive.

Despite these issues, Centurion has many positive points. Most notably the superbly constructed and fantastically gory death scenes, the massacre sequence in particular and the performances of the central players. Particularly David Morrissey as Bothos and Michael Fassbender as Quintus Dias. Fassbender in particular gives a performance of typical Marshall exuberance and fantastic intensity. It is these intense performances which make the viewer really care about their fate and gives Centurion an edge on many modern action blockbusters. As I said at the top of this review, Centurion is a very important film for Neil Marshall and it is a film which solidifies his position as one of the best British filmmakers of his generation.

three stars
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:40 pm

http://droidslog.blogspot.com/2010/04/centurion-neil-marshalls-of-descent.html

Sunday, 25 April 2010
centurion , Neil Marshall's of descent ,doomsday and dog soldiers fame directs this tale of the roman empires last dashed attempts to rule the Pict's with great aplomb,Michael Fassbender as the leading man is as always very watchable and given good support by Liam Cunningham, a Marshall favourite ,Dominic west,noel Clarke and David morrisey in fact everyone puts in a good turn this movie will be tagged cult because of the director ,and it does have that feel but also plays like an old fashioned action flick with buckets of blood and a lot of limbs being severed i also liked the photography showing Scotland to be a harsh but beautiful land lots of slate grey and steel for the daytime scenes and lovely yellow,brown copper notes for the inside night time scenes all in a very entertaining couple of hours.
Posted by andy at 08:58
4/5
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:44 pm

http://chrisnthat.blogspot.com/2010/04/would-you-adam-and-eve-it-constant.html

Sunday, April 25, 2010
Would you Adam and Eve it Constant Reader? I've only gone and seen another film!

On Friday I accompanied Andrew to BAFTA to see a screening of the new Neil Marshall film CENTURION.

This is my second 'Roman' film in as many weeks - AGORA was the other - and I am discerning a definite trend, mighty Empire unable to cope in occupied territories with either, religious fundamentalism or insurrection from indigenous population.

Ringing bells at all?

One definitely gets the whiff from CENTURION - a generic band-of-brothers-caught-between-enemy-lines actioner - that to film it in present day circumstances would be viewed as distasteful so the safety cloak of the Roman era is thrown on.

Goodness knows there is no real attempt to distance it from today, from the opening line of a Roman soldier looking out from a sentry post that "this country is the arsehole of the world" you know what you are going to be in for - thick-eared film-making at it's most unrelentingly grim. The audience mostly consisted of people flinching from the graphic axe-meeting-head, spear-meeting-gonads footage or people tittering at the absurd "oi-oi" script.

Poor the Dominic West having to growl as the legion's just-one-of-the-men General "When will people learn not to f&#! with the 9th?" Please...Yes, the film covers the mystery of what happened to the Roman 9th Legion that allegedly vanished while stationed in England. There is a second film due out this year based on THE EAGLE OF THE NINTH by Rosemary Sutcliffe which uses this as it's jump-off point too - you wait years for a 9th Legion film to come along etc...

Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) is taken captive when his company of soldiers is wiped out when their fort is ambushed by Picts. The only reason he too is not killed is when he shouts out in the Picts language. He somehow manages to escape - don't ask why, it would get in the way of the plot - and makes it back to the 9th. Just in time to learn that they are setting out for the dreaded North to kick Pict arse once and for all. They are to be led by the statuesque and Amazonian tracker Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a Pict who has seemingly defected to the Roman side. Oh and she's mute so no tricky English dialogue for our Olga.

Needless to say leads our gallant lads into an ambush where they are all but wiped out, General Virilus (West) is captured and seven disparate soldiers are left to fend for themselves.An attempt to rescue Virilus fails but not before the Nasty Cowardly Soldier (J.J. Feld) kills the Pict leader's young son before the survivors flee the camp. When the son's body is found, Virilus is hacked up by Etain who sets out with the Picts to track down the seven soldiers.

So then we sit back and watch off as the Roman Seven are picked off, either by the avenging Picts - or by the Nasty Sneaky Soldier!

Fassbender makes a charismatic hero and by and large the performances of Liam Cunningham (gruff old soldier), David Morrissey (gor-blimey best mate), Noel Clarke (brave but too trusting squaddie) manage to rise above the relentlessly macho script.

Dominic West is dispatched far too soon as does the always reliable Lee Ross. Ukrainian ex-model Kurylenko unsurprisingly does most of her acting with her cheekbones while Ulrich Thomsen and Dave Legeno make you wish their characters were given more to do.

Noel Marshall certainly directs with a brutish heft but it is so relentlessly brutish that it's relatively short running time of 97 minutes becomes an endurance test. His script is also a slog with it's unoriginal plotline and imagery - there was an audible groan towards the end when he utilises the now-standard PLATOON rip-off shot of our hero sinking to his knees in slow-motion at the meaningless death of a buddy.

The colour palette is desaturated so most of the film is icy blues and dull grey. Marshall also overdoes the tired shtick of aerial tracking shots of the tiny band of survivors running across snow-covered mountain tops. Once or twice okay... but here it is used relentlessly - I guess the budget went on the hire of the helicopter!
Posted by chrisv at 3:34 PM
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:50 pm

http://24framez.blogspot.com/2010/04/film-review_25.html

Film Review
Posted by Sam Inglis | Apr 25, 2010

CENTURION
DIR: Neil Marshall
CAST: Michael Fassbender, Olga Kuryelenko, David Morrissey

Even when he has an all female cast (as in The Descent), Neil Marshall is probably best described as a testosterone fuelled filmmaker. Centurion doesn’t see him breaking that mould. It’s based on the legend of the Ninth roman legion which, supposedly, went into Scotland to attempt to finally defeat the Picts and were never seen or heard of again. Marshall imagines the tale of the dregs of the legion (a ragtag group of seven led, after their commander Dominic West is captured, by Fassbender as Qunitus Dias) as a western of sorts, with the Picts (led by tracker and warrior Kuryelenko) chasing down the last of the roman invaders, and like many Westerns, it asks us to invest in and take the side of those invaders.

As you’d expect from the director of such splashy genre delights as Dog Soldiers and The Descent, Centurion doesn’t lack for action. We’re seldom more than a few minutes from arrows and axes flying in a series of brutal and very bloody action sequences. In the past, many films that have dealt with swordplay did so in a rather polite way; actor gets stabbed under the arm, falls out of frame. That’s not what Marshall’s interested in, here rivers literally run red with the blood of hacked off heads and claret arcs across the screen from brutally inflicted stab wounds. This is all rather good fun, or it should be, the problem, which hasn’t previously dogged Marshall, is that the action is often very hard to see. The BBFC have specified that Centurion has a 15 certificate because the violence is often fast cut, and doesn’t, therefore, dwell on detail. Unfortunately, this means that the action sequences can often feel bitty, the camera movement is fast and renders much of the large battle scene that ends the first act a blurry, detail free, mess. When Marshall calms down the action is great; well choreographed and seriously vicious, but it’s a frustrating watch at times.

Some critics have taken issue with Marshall’s screenplay, and especially the fact that his Roman characters speak modern English. The first time someone says “Fuck” it takes a little getting used to, but what Marshall’s doing is actually rather clever. If you want scrupulous authenticity then the only way to do it is to have the roman characters speak classical Latin, that’s not really an option, and so what Marshall does is takes the sentiments - including the vulgar ones - he believes his characters would be expressing and translates them into modern English. It works perfectly well, and is a clever way of making sure a mainstream audience can get close to these rather broadly drawn characters. The character development here isn’t especially brilliant, but Quintus Dias does go on a bit of a journey, and Fassbender puts it across nicely (even if his take on the neutral English accent Marshall has settled on for the Romans sometimes slips into his native Irish). The other performances are also decent. Kuryelenko is effective and genuinely threatening as the mute hunter whose “empty soul can only be filled by Roman blood”. Among the other Romans David Morrissey is the real standout, lending solid support as a man raised by the army and, in a small role, Imogen Poots continues to show that she’s an interesting and versatile rising talent (and contributes a Scottish accent so good I’m astonished to discover she’s a Londoner). On the whole only Noel Clarke lets the side down on a performance level, monotonously growling every one of his mercifully limited lines.

I’m mixed on Centurion overall, because while I was very much taken along on the journey of the remnants of the ninth, engaged by much of the visceral action, and hugely impressed - as ever - by the photography of Marshall’s regular DP Sam McCurdy (really, there isn’t anyone who lights darkness as beautifully) there were also things that consistently bothered me. I’ve mentioned the problems with the action, but there’s also the problem of identification. I’m supposed to be rooting for Quintus Dias and his soldiers, but it’s hard to do that when they are the invaders and when you get the backstory behind the ferocity of Kuryelenko’s Pict warrior Etain. So I was really left with nobody to care about, I had fun watching Centurion, but there’s really not a lot more to it than that. That’s fine, and it will make a great night out for a bunch of male friends who fancy turning their brains off and enjoying a bit of a violent romp, but I had hoped for a little more from Neil Marshall.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:19 pm

http://fandangogroovers.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/neil-marshal-and-his-new-movie-centurion/

Neil Marshal and his new movie Centurion

April 27, 2010 by fandangogroovers

If there is one director who has never let me down it is Martin Scorsese… Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. The two directors who have never let me down are Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino…. and Christopher Nolan. Three directors who have never let me down are Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan…and Kathryn Bigelow. Amongst the directors who have never let me down are Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan and Kathryn Bigelow. (apologies to Monty Python) . Joking aside none of these filmmakers has made a bad movie, even their lesser attempts that don’t come of (like K19 The Widowmaker or New York, New York) are still worth seeing. But these are A list directors, three of then have won Oscars (two for directing) and the other one would have if the academy members had any balls (that’s a story for another day); but there is another director out there who has never let me down. He isn’t a list, he doesn’t get big budgets to work with, he will probably never win an Oscar and he doesn’t make films, he makes movies. Whist a supremely talented director Tarantino makes homage’s, pastiches or just plain copies of exploitation and genre movies, Neil Marshall really makes those movies.

His first movie Dog Soldiers (2002) was a low budget Werewolf movie, an action horror comedy that isn’t afraid to borrow from other movies such as Aliens and The Evil Dead. Next came Marshalls best movie, The Descent (2005), made for around $3.5million it grossed nearly $60million, it came out around the same time as the similarly themed The Cave that cost around $30 million and only just made its money back. The Descent is about a group of woman go on a caving expedition (for fun, are they mad?) and become trapped underground with a some strange humanoid creatures who want to eat them. Then Came Doomsday, a near future Sci-Fi movie set in Scotland after it has been quarantined from the rest of the UK following a deadly virus. The inhabitants are understandably pissed off and live in a world that is something of a cross between Escape from New York, the second two Mad Max movies and the middle-ages. Doomsday was a mess of a film, but it was a really good fun mess! So what does a director like that do next?

Review: Centurion:

Centurion is the story of the legendary Ninth Legion who may or may not have disappeared around AD 117. The Ninth has been the subject of many other movies and books, most recently The Last Legion starring Colin Firth and Aishwarya Rai, and will also be the basis for The Eagle of the Ninth due out later this year directed by Kevin Macdonald and starring Channing Tatum and Mark Strong. In centurion, the ninth are sent north to Scotland to kill the leader of the Picts and wipe out the tribe, they get more than they bargained for! After walking into a trap most of the legion is wiped-out a small group of survivors lead by Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) have to find their way south to safety all the time perused by a bloodthirsty group of Picts led by a skilled tracker.

Interestingly the story isn’t really about the Ninth, it’s a behind enemy lines chase movie that could have been set during any conflict. There is a wonderful ambiguity to the two sides, although the story is clearly told from the Roman point of view it is not clear who are the protagonists and who the antagonists are. Depending on your point of view there are heroes on both sides or there are no heroes on either side. There are certainly villains on both sides. The Romans are an invading army and the Picts are a repelling force of natives. When discussing it on the Mark Kermode, Simon Mayo radio show Neil Marshal didn’t appear to want to be drawn into comparisons between the events of the movie and current world conflicts, the most he would say was “The Parallels are there”. Like with most war there are no winners and losers unless you count the winner as the side that lose the least, even they suffer unimaginable losses.

The supporting cast is filled with recognisable faces mainly from British TV and independent cinema, the main star is Michael Fassbender who following two great performances last year (Inglourious Basterds and Fish Tank) is the real rising star of the moment. Strangely the best performance comes from former Bond-Girl Olga Kurylenko whose mute performance as a warrior and tracker with hawk like instincts and senses. Her visceral performance contains more emotion and nuance than Quantum of Solace, Max Payne and Hitman combined.

The movie is well paced and never gets boring with some great set pieces including what appears to be a homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (speaking of homage’s Marshal uses the same Evil Dead references he has used before, it is becoming something of a trademark for him) as well as some bloody, brutal and violent fight and battle scenes. The photography is excellent, both the gratuitous use of helicopter shots of the Scottish Highlands and the up close and personal fight scenes. The movie as a whole has its problems mainly surrounding its predictability and clichéd plot but it does deliver everything you expect it to. Not a great film but a really enjoyable movie.

Three Stars out of Five

So whats next for Neil Marshall? Aaccording to an interview on BBC radio 5 last week a he is working on a film based on the 70’s TV show The Professionals. It has not been cast yet but he expressed a with to work with Michael Fassbender again suggesting he would be perfect as Doyle. He is also working on a movie a movie featuring exploding people in 3D produced by Sam Raimi and called Burst 3D. Possibly the first movie since the renaissance of 3D that could make good use of the gimmick.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:37 pm

http://hobbits-journal.blogspot.com/2010/04/centurion.html

Monday, April 26, 2010
Centurion

So, it was off to Nottingham today, to Cineworld, a cinema in the city centre I'd never visited before to see Neil Marshall's new movie 'Centurion'. Having loved Mr Marshall's past movie 'Doomsday' and the period of history Centurion was set in, it's fair to say I was looking forward to the event.

Was I let down? Hell no, it was an amazing Romano/British period romp, lashings of action, a simple story and great actors that didn't ham it up. I like Michael Fassbender and Dominic West anyway, but the supporting cast were all damn good. Without any spoilers the story is simple, it's the story of the Roman 9th Legion (legendary handy dudes) that go up into Scotland (Or Pictland as it was then) to kick arse, and basically have their fortunes reversed, leaving a handful of desperate survivors to get back behind their own lines, and safety.

The plot is simple, there's no complicated sub plots which just let's you sit back and enjoy what is a solid little movie, with some amazing visuals, and some very scary (yet sexy) Scots in pursuit of the survivors. It's not often I enthuse about movies these days but this one is bloody good, 'bloody' being a descriptive word for the film. It's all filmed outdoors and no green screen stuff techno stuff, and I believe it was all filmed on location in the north of England/Scotland.

What vexes me is that my local cinema advertised it (Reel Cinema) then it vanished off their playlist for the following week. It also wasn't on locally at Mansfield or Lincoln either, so why are we not promoting great British films? My local cinema would rather have the now jaded Alice in Wonderland on for another week, surely it can't be taking any money by now?! It just doesn't add up, had they shown this 'Centurion' for a week, I am sure they being a multi screen affair would have made on it.

Anyway, great movie, story, cast - and thanks Neil Marshall for another great film.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:38 pm

http://onthebackrow.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/centurion/

Centurion

Heya Guys!

I have just seen Centurion at the cinema which is a British film that I would describe as a historical thriller that is directed by Neil Marshall. The film has a good cast that includes Dominic West, Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko.

The film is based in AD 117 and is about a Roman general called Titus Flavius Virilis (Dominic West) who is ordered to lead his Ninth Legion north to Caledonia to wipe out the Picts. On their journey they suffer a surprise attack, centurion Quintus Dias and six survivors decide they must rescue their captured general before they can head south toward Roman lines.

Overall I enjoyed this film because im a fan of historically based action films. I thought that the story was fairly basic and I felt like I had seen similar films before. The film is visually stunning at times with beautiful scenery and convincing costumes and settings. This film is very gory at times which helped make the battle scenes feel very realistic. I thought that the film’s action scenes were impressive.

I would recommend this film if you liked Gladiator or Apocalypto.

Film Rating: 8/10
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:58 pm

http://www.sound-screen.co.uk/index.php/2010/04/cinema-centurion/

Cinema: Centurion

Posted by alasdairmorton on 26/4/10 • Filed under Cinema Reviews, Movie out this week, Screen

centurion2Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominc West, Olgy Kurylenko

Director: Neil Marshall

Screenwriter: Neil Marshall

With sweeping orchestral music ushering in the credits of Centurion, the latest offering in a resurgence in the swords and sandals genre, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re in for a Gladiator-esque tale of loyalty, honour and triumphant alpha male heroics. It is not long though before it becomes quite clear that Neil Marshall’s latest is a far cry from the Crowe-Scott Oscar-winning tag team; less an operatic awards contender and more a B-movie revenge tale, it’s fun and furious, if a little below par for one of this country’s most reliable genre filmmakers.

Marshall made his name with the horror films Dog Soldiers and The Descent, the former seeing a group of squaddies face off against werewolves in the Scottish Highlands, the latter pitching a gang of cave-diving gals against underground beasties. Both were, comparatively, low budget movies which succeeded on the strength of their dialogue and characterisation. A two-from-two success rate saw Marshall then embark on his biggest project to date with film number three, the ambitious, post-apocalyptic sci-fi-er Doomsday, yet critical reception was lukewarm and box office results poorer than anticipated, both of which were attributed to the film’s lack of narrative focus and one-note characters. Centurion, though, sees Marshall back to painting on the smaller canvass he began with, yet it is not quite the triumphant return to his roots he may have been hoping for. While the budget may be more in keeping with his earlier output, the clunking dialogue, poorly drawn characters and meandering plot have, sadly, more in common with his bigger budget misfire.

On the farthest regions of the Roman Empire in Northern Britain, the “arsehole of the Empire,” as Michael Fassbender’s Quintus Dias describes it, the Ninth Legion is failing in its battles with the Picts, the native clans whose barbaric yet extremely effective guerilla tactics have claimed many a Roman life. After an ambush in which the Picts massacre the Legion, the remaining ragtag band of survivors, led by Fassbender’s Quintus Dias find themselves alone, trapped behind enemy lines and with a fearsome fight on their hands to rescue their captured commander Titus Flavius Virilis (West) and get back south to safety, with Pict tracker Etain (Quantum of Solace’s Olga Kurylenko) leading the barbarians on their trail.

The fight for survival is a bloody affair, and Marshall’s depiction of second century combat is limb-chopping, brutal, and unflinching. It is shot through though with a healthy dose of humour too, the Roman warriors trading jokes and jibes, yet poor characterisation, of both the Picts and the Roman survivors, leaves the film cold and disappointingly unengaging. The cast, particularly Dominic West and Dog Soldiers alumni Liam Cunningham, do their best, but have little to work with and an unnecessary romance, which feels shoehorned in to the plot, fails to enliven the proceedings with any heart or emotion. Marshall’s B-movie love is present but, ultimately, Centurion is that and nothing more. Neither serious enough to be a convincing thriller nor frivolous enough to be an enjoyable romp, it’s a claret-spilling action film, but with no characters to root for it is diverting but never especially gripping.

By Alasdair Morton

Centurion is out now courtesy of Pathe.
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:14 am

http://robinollysays.blogspot.com/2010/04/director-neil-marshall-writer-neil.html

Sunday, 25 April 2010
Centurion 2010 [Pathé.]

"Fast paced battlescenes aplenty, bold characters and an amazing central performance from Michael Fassbender make Centurion a must-see. Once again Marshall is the king of uncomfortable tension"

SYNOPSIS: 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.

REVIEW: Neil Marshall is the British horror mastermind who first thrusted us into the Scottish Highlands, subjecting us to a whole lot of Werewolf splatter in 'Dog Soldiers', he also plunged us many feet underground in the incredibly claustrophobic horror; 'The Descent' and most recently created the insane multi-genre epic 'Doomsday'. Going back to last year I did a feature on Centurion when I started this blog and have been closely following it's progress ever since, mainly due to being a huge Marshall fan (Yes!.. I even love Doomsday, so shoot me, I just thinks its a g*&^%$# genre hoppin' masterpiece).

Firstly, what I've come to love about Marshall is how he creates such bold/fierce characters regardless of gender or typical stereotypes. We all know The Descent was a film purely marketed as 'Chicks with Picks' but what was so great and refreshing was unlike so many horror flicks out there, its in no way objectifying of its lead female characters. Centurion like its predecessors builds on that notion. Which brings me to the central performances; Michael Fassbender does a job short of nothing but his usual sense, he narrates parts of the story as we go along, his performance as a leading character is harrowing aswell as brilliantly told through his narration. Olga Kurylenko (Whom I’m admittingly not a fan prior to this) plays the scared yet strong and bold lead of The Picts. Although she plays a mute her physical presence is daunting enough to believe she is the hellbent revenge-ridden orphan that she is. Dominic West and David Morrissey also star in the film and give great strong supporting roles.

In terms of the action scenes, I particularly liked the flaming ball attack, I found this to be extremely tense. Right up to the point where the leader shouts "Whatever comes out of that mist...." I really did feel such fear to what would happen next. To hear the fireballs were also very much real and had no CGI elements associated was also very pleasing to hear.

The main theme is that of being primally hunted and 'Picted' off one by one. Marshall is the king of tension and fully understands it, what he does here is creates an uncomfortable feeling of not knowing where or when the enemy (The Picts) is going to come out of the mist and strike. This is a truly excellent telling of a story based on what predominantly is a myth. There may not be too much substance but it draws you in enough to keep you interested and after 97 minutes in the cinema you really do feel like it passes too quickly...I always think this is a good thing.

The violence is relentless and extremely fast paced although it doesn’t at all dwell on it. After building myself up (I knew I was in for a splatter-fest) prior to seeing this I was actually surprised it didn’t show that much. There is a few brief flashes of grossness and a particularly a startling and squeamish first kill, which again reminds you again you're watching a Neil Marshall flick, but other than these few moments the blood and gore is probably quite toned down and totally not what I expected. On a technical side the colour grading is a pale blue and is the same as that of The Descent and totally suites the films cold and bleak mood.

So overall I would say Centurion is a great film indeed, considering it was made on a budget which is considered relatively small in comparison to most films, I think Marshall has done incredibly well with this one. It's not quite as good as 'The Descent' but certainly not too far off.
*****
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Re: Reviews and SPOILERS

Post by Admin on Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:56 pm

http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2010/04/27/centurion/

Centurion
By Fence posted in Moving Pictures⋅ April 27, 2010 ⋅

Dir & Writ: Neil Marshall

* Michael Fassbender … Quintus Dias
* Dominic West … Virilus
* Olga Kurylenko … Etain
* Ulrich Thomsen … Gorlacon
* Liam Cunningham … Brick[1]

IMDb ; Wikipedia
Centurion dir. Neil Marshall

I love and adore Dog Soldiers. And The Decent was pretty damn good too[2] Of course Doomsday was utterly preposterous[3] but you win some, you lose some. And I was still prepared to take a chance on Neil Marshall, especially when the story is about Roman soldiers on the run in the second century. I mean it had to be better than King Arthur, right?

Loosely inspired by the missing Ninth Legion Marshall’s story is about a Roman legion that pushes into territory controlled by the Picts in order to win Britain to the empire for once and for all. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way, and the legion are annihilated. This is the story of the small group of survivors who are on the run, and being relentlessly hunted down as they search for the safety of Roman Britain.

The one thing I have to say about Marshall is that he works best with these sort of ensemble casts and although some characters have a lot more to do than others you always get a fairly decent sense of who is who, and I didn’t really have to spend too long trying to figure out who was on screen at the moment, or who had just died.

And speaking of deaths, well, let’s just say that if you are squeamish, or don’t see the point in epic bloodloss in a film that this probably isn’t one for you. There is loads of bloody action here, from the clash of the Roman & Pict armies, to the individual fights and the hunting down of the soldiers. All very well done I have to say.

The one thing that is both good and bad about this film is that in a way Marshall was too sympathetic to his “bad guys”. I know that I, for one, was totally rooting for them, because, well, lets face it, the Romans did come and invade their homes, slaughter their families and try and end their way of living. Who wouldn’t want a bit of pay back. So I never really felt like hating the bad guy as much as a should. Although they were pretty kick-ass.

And the film gets an extra thumbs up from me because of the sex of some of those bad guys. And how the fact that they were women wasn’t really remarked upon, and that they were every bit as blood-thirsty and capable as the men they hunted with. More so in some cases.

All in all a more than enjoyable violent trip to the cinema was had. It isn’t going to win any oscars, but damn it if it won’t get the adrenaline pumping.
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