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Centurion reviews 2

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Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:30 pm

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2012731255_mr27centurion.html

Movie review
'Centurion': A handsome Roman war epic that lacks emotional impact

"Centurion," starring Michael Fassbender as a Roman soldier in northern Britain in 117 A.D., is almost charismatic enough to hold this visually dazzling epic together.

By John Hartl

Special to The Seattle Times

Olga Kurylenko, who starred in the 2008 James Bond adventure "Quantum of Solace," portrays a vengeful warrior in "Centurion."

Movie review 2.5 stars

'Centurion,' with Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko. Written and directed by Neil Marshall. 97 minutes. Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language. Varsity.

"This is a new kind of war. A war without honor, without end."

So claims a Roman soldier, Quintus Dias, who's spent two years battling the Picts, a determined guerrilla gang, in northern Britain in 117 A.D.

The central character in "Centurion," he could be referring to Vietnam or Afghanistan — which seems to be the point of director Neil Marshall's contemporary-sounding script. Also making that connection: the self-conscious use of obscenities and the casting of actors who are associated mostly with 21st-century roles.

Michael Fassbender, the charismatic, German-born actor who made a splash last year in "Inglourious Basterds" and "Fish Tank," plays the disillusioned hero, whose first-person account begins with the announcement that "this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story."

He thereby reinforces the notion that there is (to borrow the title of a recent Iraq documentary) no end in sight. Plunging half-naked through the snow, escaping from Pict warriors who can only be called demonic, he seems to be racing in circles. So does the movie, which eventually becomes one long, very bloody chase sequence.

It's up to Fassbender to hold the picture together and lend it a sense of direction. He succeeds as long as the picture focuses on Quintus' attempts to hang on to an idea of Roman fair play, even though it's contradicted by most of what he sees.

Marshall, who directed the Scottish werewolf movie "Dog Soldiers," uses Sam McCurdy's widescreen cinematography to dazzling effect, creating a world that's both lush and forbidding.

The intended emotional impact, however, is missing. Occasionally Marshall provides a back story to fill out a role, but too often that's how it comes off: as filler.

John Hartl: johnhartl@yahoo.com
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:31 pm

http://www.filmcritic.com/reviews/2010/centurion/

Centurion
Reviewed by Jesse Hassenger on Aug 26 2010

Give writer-director Neil Marshall credit: When he dives into hardcore genre waters, which is basically every time he makes a movie, he does so with gusto. His Dog Soldiers bravely imagined a special ops squad ambushed by werewolves; The Descent gave us freakishly mutated bat-men; and Doomsday tried to simulcast every post-apocalyptic sci-fi action movie ever made at twice the volume. For Centurion, he turns his eyes on revisionist pulp-historical action movies like 300 and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, aiming to Marshallize them, which is to add more screaming and gore.

To this aim, he succeeds: Centurion is quite gory and fairly loud, though not so much so as Doomsday. The newer film may follow early-AD Roman Quintus (Michael Fassbender) sneaking a small group of soldiers through the enemy territory of the fearsome Picts and back to safe, sweet mega-Rome, but all of this careful eluding doesn't much limit the amount of violent confrontation and manly bellowing. This is essentially a long chase without the patience for chases; enemies more or less appear at the movie's convenience, as do loyalty-reversing double-crosses, at least one of which occurs so early on that it undermines any functional twisting of the plot.

That first betrayer is Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a Pict working for the Romans who almost immediately returns to her roots as an avenging wolf-woman (her family was destroyed by Roman invaders). Etain is regarded with such fear, and regards her enemies with such menace, that her actual utilization in the field of ass-kickery is, uncharacteristic for Marshall, somewhat muted. Nonetheless, Kurylenko has found her niche as the poor man's Milla Jovovich, which I guess makes Marshall the poor man's Luc Besson, an impresario of European junk food.

This isn't the worst filmmaking position to hold, but it's not a necessary one, either, as Besson already serves the poor man quite well in his own films. Some of Centurion is fun in that recyclable, grab bag way; Marshall is committed to his viscera and amped-up intensity (though it's disappointing to see him continue to spritz chintzy-looking CGI blood over his slurries of entrails), and the showmanship from his previous movies remains. But Centurion, like Doomsday before it, ultimately seems more concerned with its excesses than its characters.

The Picts are depicted as fearsome, ruthless warriors, but they are, in the end, defending their land; the Romans just want to scramble home, but they are, in doing so, attempting to weasel out of the consequences of marauding across the landscape. Once Quintus must lead them, he's a hero by default more than direct characterization. Basically, we're watching a bunch of disagreeable folks scrap and scramble with increasing desperation.

This murky lack of heroism could create a fascinating moral ambiguity if developed with any nuance, but Marshall uses it primarily to make just about everyone in the movie really angry with each other. Actors as good as Fassbender, Dominic West, and David Morrissey have to grapple with a bunch of dialogue about honor, duty, fathers, soldiers. It's supposed to sound impassioned, but without his usual fantastical trappings and underneath the surface bluster, Marshall's work feels strangely clinical. Watching an over-the-top genre pastiche, your dominant reaction shouldn't be to ask what everyone is getting so worked up about.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:32 pm

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129400942


A Sword-And-Sandals Yarn, Emphasis On The Former

by Mark Jenkins
Dominic West
Magnet Releasing

Valuable Player: Dominic West is a captured Roman general who becomes the object of a rescue mission.

Centurion

* Director: Neil Marshall
* Genre: Crypto-historical adventure
* Running Time: 97 minutes

R for graphic violence and profanity

With: Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West, Noel Clarke
Watch Clips
'It's A Trap'

'What Are You Waiting For?'

'Your Men Are Very Nervous'

August 26, 2010

Tacitus and Xenophon are among the inspirations for Centurion, a bloody anecdote from the Roman Empire's failed attempt to subdue what is now Scotland. But historical purists are unlikely to think much of this headlong movie, which is more concerned with action than with thought.

Essentially a 90-minute chase sequence, Centurion follows Quintus Dias (Hunger's Michael Fassbender) as he attempts to lead the remains of a Roman legion to safety. The casualties are heavy, in part because of the feral skills of "she-wolf" Etain (Quantum of Solace's Olga Kurylenko), a mute tracker in furs and raccoon-style eye makeup.

Quintus is introduced running though snowy Scottish mountains, escaping the people the Romans called "Picts." (Those Celtic warriors drew blue pictographs on their skin, a custom Braveheart imagined was still current a millennium later.) A few scenes later, Quintus tries and fails to rescue a Roman general (Dominic West) from his captors; he then leads a few survivors on a roundabout trek to the nearest Roman garrison. Arrows, battle-axes, wolves and traitors significantly thin the soldiers' numbers as they flee.

Writer-director Neil Marshall is best known for the horror movie The Descent, and Centurion is something of a slasher flick. Blood gushes, heads tumble free, and spears go right through torsos. The British movie is being released in the U.S. as part of the "6-Shooter Film Series" that also includes June's underwhelming Jonah Hex, and the two movies share a preference for visceral sensation over narrative sense.

Following 2004's King Arthur and this year's Robin Hood into the thickets of British pre-history, Centurion roots for Quintus, but not so much for the empire he serves. At first, the Romans appear to be the good guys: They speak English and are multiculti, with recruits from Greece, Africa and the "Hindu Kush." They also seem to have read the latest news from that last land, now known as Afghanistan: "This is a new kind of war," they grouse of their counterinsurgency against the unruly Brits, who speak Gaelic. (It's more likely that their language was a form of proto-Welsh.)

Ultimately, Quintus finds himself without allies, a lone Roman whose best hope is a lone Celt, Arianne (Imogen Poots). She's a pretty blond witch exiled from her people for reasons that — like so much in this movie — are not entirely clear. The mist that wafts through the movie's blue-tinted valleys and peaks also sometimes obscures the script.

Centurion was inspired in part by the Roman army's "lost" Ninth Legion, once thought to have been annihilated by feisty Celts; most historians now think the legion was simply redeployed. But Marshall has also acknowledged the influence of The Warriors, the dynamic 1979 Walter Hill movie that transplanted Xenophon's Anabasis to youth-gang New York.

Marshall's affection for The Warriors may explain Centurion's dialogue, which mixes contemporary street slang with flowery platitudes that might have been written for Errol Flynn. The director probably should have heeded his own characters' four-letter-word outbursts and set the story in modern times. Because in the end, the movie's historical backdrops are just a distraction from its essential business: running, bleeding, killing and dying.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:42 pm

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-centurion-20100827,0,1930599.story

Movie review: 'Centurion'
Neil Marshall's low-budget epic stars Michael Fassbender and Dominic West as 2nd century Romans.

By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

August 27, 2010

"Centurion" begins with the image of a man. Stripped bare to the waist, bloodied, hands still bound, he's stumbling across a vast snowfield, trying to outrun pursuers who will kill him if the cold doesn't get him first. It's an apt opening salvo for this fast-moving, epic-on-a-shoestring tale of one Roman soldier's fight that is by turns heroic, fearsome, funny, fateful and, oh, so brutal, with swords hacking off heads at every turn.

Michael Fassbender stars as Quintus, the son of a legendary gladiator and the man on the move, but as we soon learn it will be a bloody long time before he catches a breath (bloody being the operative word). The wintry and unforgiving Scottish highland is the staging ground for this battle to the death, where guerrilla warfare waged by the indigenous Pict tribe, in their animal skins and ritualistic mud-caked hair, has managed to confound the great Roman army.

What unfolds next is a classic case of a conqueror forced to examine his marching orders and his conscience as he faces down an enemy who refuses to surrender. The film is loosely based on Rome's 9th Legion that went missing in the Scottish mists in the 2nd century. Writer-director Neil Marshall has stepped into that fog, imagining a righteous, rowdy, raucous answer and has sent a lot of body parts flying in the process.

Going back to ancient history seems a clever way for Marshall to move beyond the intelligent horror thriller that has been the British director's bread and butter. But then, Marshall's work has hinted at something more. He's shown a good ear for people-in-crisis dialogue that doesn't descend into the overly cheesy, with "The Descent" among his best. "Centurion" plays off that strength with an uncannily good narrative that manages to freshen up old soldiering tropes by playing around with the best, and worst, of human nature.

Helping greatly is a strong acting ensemble with Fassbender joined by Dominic West ("The Wire," "28 Days"), excellent as an audacious Roman general that Quintus soon joins ranks with, and a raging mute Pict warrior princess, Etain ( Olga Kurylenko), as an undercover agent who could be the Romans' savior or their undoing.

As is the case in all wars, it comes down to individual stories, of the men and, in the case of the Picts, women, who fight, and the lives — innocent and not — that are lost. Without the scale (or the budget, a modest $10 million) of a "Gladiator," the filmmaker is betting on the relative novelty of the story. Like "King Arthur," with Clive Owen, "Centurion" takes a cut at the difficulties the Romans faced in a cold country — hostiles behind every tree picking off soldiers unprepared for trench warfare, unable to weather frigid climes. (Of course, the Romans did ultimately figure it out.)

There are ambushes, flaming arrows and huge rolling fireballs bringing death and disaster, but none of the arena fights or massive fields of combat that usually come with Roman epics. Instead the filmmaker counts on a handful of rich characters to carry the day, with Quintus at the core. Fassbender is a chameleon of an actor who suffuses his leading men with great character traits. As Quintus, he plays broad in the big scenes and is movingly specific in the small ones — an outsider who never aimed to lead, yet picking up the mantle when it's called for, he's the kind of hero we look for in movies like this.

Enemies come mostly on horseback — and so does much of the action — a lot of close-quarters fights with lances and long knives. Philosophical musings about war are handled agilely enough to add some substance. For humor, there are the absurdities and ironies of warAnd for pure comic relief there is an arm wrestling contest gone terribly wrong and all those severed heads.

All in all, an old-fashioned swords and sandals saga that may be small in scale but is a lot of bloody fun.

betsy.sharkey@latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:45 pm

http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/movies/101575743.html?page=2&c=y

Reviewed in brief

Centurion

★★★ out of four stars • Rated: R for violence and language • Theater: Lagoon

Rare among action flicks of any scale, the cut-rate "Centurion" finds British B-movie master Neil Marshall ("The Descent") humanizing both sides in the absurdly ultraviolent war between Pict tribesmen and Roman gladiators circa 117 A.D. Stuffed to the gills with gnarly decapitations and other grotesque savagery, the film rivals even Alexandre Aja's killer-fish opus "Piranha" for wanton gore. Indeed, such is the genre-loving camp quotient here that one half-expects werewolves to start howling from within the fog-enshrouded woods. The actors (including Michael Fassbender and Dominic West) are wonderfully macho, but hardly huge stars, meaning that anyone can die whenever -- and, whoever it is, he generally does. Particularly lovable (and likely doomed) are a mess hall cook-turned-soldier-turned-outward-bound butcher(!), and our sword-swingin' hero, who unsurprisingly happens upon a sexy young lass. (Um ... will they or won't they?) Inevitably, Marshall's Roman wild bunch takes its wicked last stand, allowing the auteur to cast a sideways glance at, of all things, Kubrick's classic "Paths of Glory." Bloody well done.

ROB NELSON
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:17 pm

http://www.thisisbrandx.com/2010/08/film-review-centurion.html

Film Review: 'Centurion': Pict your poison, Romans »
10:00 AM PT, August 26, 2010

Centurion

In "Centurion," Michael Fassbender ("Inglourious Basterds") stars as Roman Centurion Quintus Dias, who is stationed on the northern frontier of the Empire's British territory, ca. AD 117. Frankly, "Dias" doesn't sound much like a Roman name, but it's explained that Quint's father was a freed slave, so maybe he came from the provinces, so maybe it's not historically wrong. On the other hand, our first view of our hero has him running through the snow, wearing some kind of trousers, which is an anachronism of a different order.

Quint is on the run from a group of Pictish resistance fighters, headed by one Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), whose name sounds more like a sci-fi fan convention than anything Pictish. (It's ironic that, in accordance with longtime film practice, the Romans speak modern English, even as the dialogue spoken by the actual historical Brits require English subtitles.)

The good news: Quint is shortly rescued by the troops of Titus Virilus (Dominic West). The bad news: Virilus has just been ordered by Governor Julius Agricola (Paul Freeman) to wipe out Gorlacon's band. Worse news: Their guide for this de-Pict-ion is to be Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a mute hottie with uncanny tracking abilities. Etain is a Pict, and why Agricola thinks she's trustworthy remains a mystery.

Soon Quint is on the run again, this time as one of seven (or so) survivors of Agricola's poor judgment, with Gorlacon once again in pursuit. (I didn't catch all the names of the others, and those I did catch sounded like Botox, Fax and Towelrack. That can't be right.)

If it's not obvious by now, I found "Centurion" silly enough to be worthy of a little mockery. Marshall scrambles many of the historical dates, but that's not the real problem. (The damned trousers are, however, distracting; I kept looking for a zipper.)

More to the point is that the only new thing Marshall brings to the Roman Empire subgenre is gross-out aesthetics. So many limbs are ripped out, arrows jammed into eyeballs, heads routinely lopped off, that the audience becomes numbed. (Decapitations ain't what dey used to be.) At least Marshall cuts away before one of the good guys is torn apart by wolves: a moment of discretion or a setup for the DVD extras?

The story is clearly designed to have contemporary resonance. On the other hand, how can a film about imperial expansion and unprovoked invasion and savage local resistance not have contemporary resonance? We are implicitly asked to identify with the Romans, but they are the aggressors; while the locals are not angels, their actions are more justifiable.

Early on, Quintus says, "This was a new kind of war: a war without honor -- without end." "Centurion" is, in the long run, an antiwar film, even as it revels in its gore effects.

-- Andy Klein

Photo: Dominic West in "Centurion." Credit: Magnet Releasing
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:19 pm

http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2010/aug/26/bc-centurion-movie-review-adv27cc-_-entertainment-/?entertainment&national-entertainment

Centurion'

Originally published August 26, 2010 at 3:14 p.m., updated August 26, 2010 at 4:16 p.m.

By Betsy Sharkey

Los Angeles Times

(MCT)

LOS ANGELES - "Centurion" begins with the image of a man. Stripped bare to the waist, bloodied, hands still bound, he's stumbling across a vast snowfield, trying to outrun pursuers who will kill him if the cold doesn't get him first. It's an apt opening salvo for this fast-moving, epic-on-a-shoestring tale of one Roman soldier's fight that is by turns heroic, fearsome, funny, fateful and, oh, so brutal, with swords hacking off heads at every turn.

Michael Fassbender stars as Quintus, the son of a legendary gladiator and the man on the move, but as we soon learn, it will be a bloody long time before he catches a breath (bloody being the operative word). The wintry and unforgiving Scottish highland is the staging ground for this battle to the death, where guerrilla warfare waged by the indigenous Pict tribe, in their animal skins and ritualistic mud-caked hair, has managed to confound the great Roman army.

What unfolds next is a classic case of a conqueror forced to examine his marching orders and his conscience as he faces down an enemy who refuses to surrender. The film is loosely based on Rome's 9th Legion that went missing in the Scottish mists in the 2nd century. Writer-director Neil Marshall has stepped into that fog, imagining a righteous, rowdy, raucous answer, and has sent a lot of body parts flying in the process.

Going back to ancient history seems a clever way for Marshall to move beyond the intelligent horror thriller that has been the British director's bread and butter. But then, Marshall's work has hinted at something more. He's shown a good ear for people-in-crisis dialogue that doesn't descend into the overly cheesy, with "The Descent" among his best. "Centurion" plays off that strength with an uncannily good narrative that manages to freshen up old soldiering tropes by playing around with the best, and worst, of human nature.

Helping greatly is a strong acting ensemble with Fassbender joined by Dominic West ("The Wire," ''28 Days"), excellent as an audacious Roman general that Quintus soon joins ranks with, and a raging mute Pict warrior princess, Etain (Olga Kurylenko), as an undercover agent who could be the Romans' savior or their undoing.

As is the case in all wars, it comes down to individual stories, of the men and, in the case of the Picts, women, who fight, and the lives - innocent and not - that are lost. Without the scale (or the budget, a modest $10 million) of a "Gladiator," the filmmaker is betting on the relative novelty of the story. Like "King Arthur," with Clive Owen, "Centurion" takes a cut at the difficulties the Romans faced in a cold country - hostiles behind every tree picking off soldiers unprepared for guerrilla warfare, unable to weather frigid climes. (Of course, the Romans did ultimately figure it out.)

There are ambushes, flaming arrows and huge rolling fireballs bringing death and disaster, but none of the arena fights or massive fields of combat that usually come with Roman epics. Instead, the filmmaker counts on a handful of rich characters to carry the day, with Quintus at the core.

Fassbender is a chameleon of an actor who suffuses his leading men with great character traits. As Quintus, he plays broad in the big scenes and is movingly specific in the small ones - an outsider who never aimed to lead, yet picking up the mantle when it's called for, he's the kind of hero we look for in movies like this.

Enemies come mostly on horseback - and so does much of the action - a lot of close-quarters fights with lances and long knives. Philosophical musings about war are handled agilely enough to add some substance. For humor, there are the absurdities and ironies of war. And for pure comic relief there is an arm wrestling contest gone terribly wrong and all those severed heads.

All in all, an old-fashioned swords and sandals saga that may be small in scale but is a lot of bloody fun.

___

Betsy Sharkey: betsy.sharkey@latimes.com
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:20 pm

http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/Centurion.shtml

Centurion Review
By Mark Grady one and a half stars
Show Me The Way to Go Rome

Rome's expansion and domination of the ancient world has provided a rich vein for storytellers for nearly 2,500 years. Such illustrious figures as Polybius, Shakespeare, and Gibbon (to name but a scant few) have created sweeping epics that recount the deeds of the visionary but prideful men and the cunning but spiteful women who created and ultimately squandered one of the mightiest empires in human history.

There is certainly no shortage of source material. That's what makes it such a shame when a screenwriter fails to imbue a project like "Centurion" with any personality or depth.

"Centurion" focuses on Quintas Dias, a soldier in the Ninth Legion, stationed on the frontier between the Romans and the Picts in England. When the Roman army is destroyed during a foray into Pict territory, Dias, accompanied by a small band of survivors, must evade the enemy and make his way back to Roman-controlled lands.

A great deal of effort has clearly been made towards creating an authentic representation of the time period (specifically AD 117), but nearly nothing has been done to create characters. The only passing nod that is given to creating back-story for the protagonists is a fireside scene where Dias asks each of his companions, "what's your name and where are you from?" While the majority of the blame for this must be placed on the shoulders of writer-director Neil Marshall ("The Descent"), the actors do little to try and compensate. Michael Fassbender ("300", "Inglourious Basterds"), who clearly has a lot of experience playing one-dimensional characters, does nothing to try and inhabit the role of Quintas Dias, barely even bothering to register facial expressions. Olga Kurylenko ("Quantum of Solace") also opts for a one-note performance as Etain, the huntress tasked with finding (and killing) the Romans. Dominic West ("The Wire") emerges unscathed in the small role of General Titus Virilus (viri, get it?), but that's more through sheer charisma than anything else.

While Neil Marshall should be applauded for his direction and his production team deserves very high marks for research and attention to detail, ultimately the movie fails because there is no investment in the characters. The idea of telling the story of common people making their way in the morally ambiguous world of the Roman Empire (done quite effectively in HBOs "Rome") is compelling, but it is important to remember that it is characters, not settings, that ultimately make a story interesting.

Read other reviews about this film

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Movie title Centurion
Release year 2010
MPAA Rating R
Our rating one and a half stars
Summary In spite of the impressive attention to detail in creating England in AD 117, the lack of compelling characters makes "Centurion" ultimately forgettable.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:21 pm

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/culture/2010/08/354765/centurion-blood-and-designer-sandals

'Centurion': Blood and designer sandals

By Steven Boone

7:56 am Aug. 26, 2010

Centurion is a high-resolution photocopy of every Ancient Rome epic and every pursuit adventure film ever Netflixed, from The Last of the Mohicans to Apocalypto.

That's not the problem. The problem is that it has been mounted on a false premise: that all a big-budget spectacle like this has to do to keep us enthralled is parade the expensive items it bought (Roman Legion winter gear, medieval weapons, severed limbs, British actors) before the camera while letting the musical score we've heard 12,000 times before prod us for reactions like an APPLAUSE sign. What else is new, right?

Except that writer-director Neil Marshall is so much better than that. His horror cult classic, The Descent, also shows the faithful scholarship of a real genre movie student, but without relating the story as if on autopilot.

Marshall seems to have been confident that this film's absurdly high levels of gore and an Iraq War subtext constituted enough of a signature to make it feel new. Like many good genre directors, Marshall misunderstands his appeal.

The Descent is great horror because it builds and sustains tension in methodical, frighteningly subjective steps, then releases it with majestic fury. The female rock climbers trapped in a cave in that film (the ones who survived, anyway) went from trembling prey to fearsome, blood-spattered warriors captured in canted comic book-panel widescreen. Marshall now seems to think his only real talent is for showcasing gore. By my rough estimate, there is a graphic impaling, beheading, decapitation, braining, kneecapping, disembowlment or eye-gouging every six minutes. The special effects makeup team will be able to draw its next decade's worth of customers just by using this film as a show reel.

No real sense of concern for the heroes (led by Michael Fassbender) develops, because Marshall favors pornographic plainness (if color-corrected for an icy blue palette) over mystery. Fassbender is a Roman officer leading a band of battle survivors out of enemy territory at the northernmost frontier of the empire (Scotland circa 117 A.D.). Marshall's story was inspired by legends of a Roman legion that disappeared in Scotland.

"This idea of an entire Roman army marching into Scotland and just vanishing, it immediately conjures up images of supernatural elements," says Marshall in the film's press notes. "But I didn't want to go down that road."

Bad move. "That road" is Marshall's road. A "Centurion" with the otherworldly horror and suspense of his early work sounds thrilling, and a better fit for all the gory excesses on display than a straightforward actioner. So, along with a rip-roaring adventure, Centurion also half-heartedly attempts to be a realistic combat picture, with clinical attention lavished on the effects of brutal cold, fatigue, hunger, and, of course, bloody wounds—but without the kind of subjective rigor that would make the actors' contribution register as more than a whole bunch of yelling and flailing.

The movie's main villain, played by former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, is an enemy tracker as beautiful as she is deadly. (See? The cliches are so pervasive, they're catching!) She glowers as she puts on her war paint, and becomes all the more adorable. Some subwoofer thrums and choral wails are meant to make her seem feral, but this is strictly Xena: Warrior Princess camp. With their spray-painted looks, her fellow tribesmen looked like particularly festive ComicCon attendees.

In the thick of the plot, Marshall rolls out his Iraq War parallels. Fassbender's multicultural group (soldiers of Greek, African and Eastern origin) chats about why they signed up for military duty. Like most modern-day grunts, they enlisted with the vague promise of improving their lives, or to get out from something. Later we will learn that their sacrifices don't mean much to the Roman higher-ups, who are quick to sell them out for political expediency. One of Fassbender's men even says a line that could have come from every other human-interest feature about the war in Afghanistan: "This was supposed to be my last tour..." Another humdinger: "This is a war without honor, a war without end." And in case you went out for Gummi Bears during those: "It's the soldiers who do the fighting, who do the dying. And the gods never get their feet wet."

As with every other issue or effect this ambitious film reaches for, the war metaphors click into place neatly and utterly without resonance. Marshall is just the latest talented director who seems to have forgotten himself in a scramble to achieve something visually spectacular.

I'm starting to get the feeling that if the studio-killing flop Heaven's Gate were made today, its bloated budget would be no problem so long as the director put it all up on screen without any trace of personal flair, kept the shot durations down to an A.D.D.-compatible minimum and restricted human interaction to the skin-deep.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:22 pm

http://thephoenix.com/Boston/movies/107210-review-centurion/

Review: Centurion
Veni, vidi, viscera: The Roman Empire gets Pict apart
By BRETT MICHEL | August 26, 2010

Those Romans in the second century sure were a surly bunch. And what pottymouths! If you didn't know any better, you'd have thought they invented the word "f&#!" and its many uses.

Centurion | Written and Directed by Neil Marshall | With Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, JJ Feild, Axelle Carolyn, and Imogen Poots | Magnolia Studios | 97 minutes

That's but one of the anachronistic pleasures of British director Neil Marshall's screenplay for this slimly budgeted epic involving a splinter group of Roman soldiers battling for their lives behind enemy lines in AD 117. Marshall's excessively violent tale is concerned with the Empire's "farthest, most untamed frontier" — which would be Northern Britain, colorfully described here as "the asshole of the world" (or, in Latin, "anus orbis terrarum").

This is an age when the Roman army was encountering fierce resistance from the Picts. These natives — who seem to have borrowed the Road Warrior wardrobes of Marshall's raging lunatics in his equally enjoyable 2008 B-movie, Doomsday (gotta stretch that budget somehow) — employ guerrilla tactics and exploit the unforgiving landscape to ruthless advantage, halting the Roman advance and producing a deadlock that's lasted for almost 20 years when the movie's bloody action kicks off.

And the action keeps on kicking, hacking, slashing, burning, and — especially — spurting for a fast-paced 97 minutes. It's all set in motion when Rome orders General Titus Virilus (Dominic West, previously seen brandishing a sword in 300) to end the stalemate "by any means necessary." That would include hiring the mute, feral tracker named Etain (Quantum of Solace's Olga Kurylenko), a duplicitous, deadly, beautiful Pict whose tongue was trimmed by the Romans some years earlier. Probably not the best person to aid in this last-ditch effort, but at least she won't talk back. Instead, she'll silence many Romans herself with her precision throat slashing. Then she'll rejoin the pesky Picts, whose leader, Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), gets really pissed when his young son (Ryan Atkinson) is caught in the crossfire.

Yes, this is a revenge picture, and an extremely peculiar one. Are we to root for the persecuted Picts, who have a lot to get even for? Or with the centurion of the title, Quintus Dias (Inglourious Basterds' Michael Fassbender, also a veteran of 300), who takes over as leader of what's left of the Ninth Legion when the division is decimated in a fiery Pict trap? Quintus must also rescue Titus, who was captured in that disaster and has been taken to the Picts' fortified forest encampment to be tortured.

And oh, what torture! As Marshall showed in his Night of the Living Dead–inspired werewolf romp, Dog Soldiers, and his spelunker's nightmare, The Descent, he has not only a knack for stretching dollars but also a gleeful talent for gore. It makes sense that he's married to special-make-up-effects artist/actress Axelle Carolyn, who appears here as a gorgeous Pict archer.

Who to root for? In the end, that ambivalence is part of the fun. Even if the film is more concerned with action than with historical fact (love those Romans' colorful . . . English?), you still surrender to Marshall's gleeful orgy of violence, which is let down by only a half-hearted stab at romance. Still, it should come as little surprise that the centurion's love interest (Imogen Poots) is, well, a witch.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:28 pm

http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/centurion/?story=/ent/movies/andrew_ohehir/2010/08/25/centurion

Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010 21:30 ET
Andrew O'Hehir
"Centurion": Trapped in the Roman Empire's Vietnam

Michael Fassbender stars in a riveting action flick set in 2nd-century Britain -- with distinctly modern echoes
By Andrew O'Hehir

When was the first time an imperial power overreached itself and got mired in some remote and seemingly primitive backwater, confronted with a numerically and technologically inferior foe who could not be defeated? It's no good talking about Vietnam or Algeria or the American Revolution; even asking the question is like asking when was the first time some guy lied to his wife about where he'd been and what he'd been doing.

Something comparable probably happened to the Babylonians and the Assyrians and the Egyptians, but British writer-director Neil Marshall's intense period action flick "Centurion" captures the Roman Empire's second-century frontier, in what we'd now call Scotland, as a cautionary example. This is such a well-rehearsed kind of movie — the bloody, filthy, sword-and-sandal epic, customarily starring Russell Crowe or Mel Gibson or some other handsome dude with 'tude — that it's startling to discover how compelling a good example can still be. "Centurion" has its moments of manly cornpone camaraderie and certainly isn't blazingly original, but it offers riveting storytelling, gorgeous cinematography and scenery, loads of gore, and a politically complicated history lesson.

Best known so far for his 2005 gals-versus-troglodytes horror film "The Descent," Marshall belongs to an intriguing new generation of British directors who combine a pop sensibility with a traditional level of craftsmanship. "Centurion" brings him together with Irish actor Michael Fassbender (of "Hunger" and "Fish Tank"), a tremendously good-looking rogue who's going to become a huge star if his intelligence and good taste don't get in the way. Fassbender fills the Crowe-Gibson role here as Quintus Dias, a Roman centurion who leads a small group of comrades deep into the Scottish wilderness after their legion has been ambushed and shredded by a band of bloodthirsty Pictish barbarians.



Except that Marshall never allows us, or even Quintus, to feel anywhere near that comfortable about who the good guys and bad guys are. Like most other soldiers, Quintus is fighting for his personal honor, for his comrades, for a commander he loves and respects. He doesn't care one way or the other about the abstract ideal of the "pax Romana" — bringing order and civilization to a distant, violent land — and he comes face to face with the fact that the Picts, the native Celts of northern and western Britain, don't want any part of it.

Of course we're rooting for Quintus and his men to get out of their ancient-world Big Muddy and come home again. They are decent and honorable soldiers (with one notable exception), and in the grand tradition of war movies, they come from all over the multiracial and multiethnic Roman Empire: There's a Greek, an African, a Middle Eastern tribesman, a Roman street tough and a guy who dreams about buying a farm in the Tuscan countryside if he ever gets out of this shithole.

But as "Centurion" progresses, it's tough to avoid the sensation that these guys are in the wrong place at the wrong time. If we believe the lurid stories told by Pictish king Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), his people have suffered from Rome's rape-and-pillage policies for years, and let's say that as the story unfolds his desire for vengeance becomes highly understandable. He sends his most fearsome warriors after Quintus and his men, led by the Mata Hari-like Étain (Olga Kurylenko), a mute and bloodthirsty female warrior. (Women sometimes did go to war among the Celts, but I don't know how many of them had two-toned hair and Cleopatra-style eye makeup.)

If "Centurion" is a blend of old-school action movie, historical fable and outright fantasy, Marshall handles all those elements ably. Fassbender gives a tremendously demanding physical performance and makes a charismatic hero who is faced little by little with the realization that all the moral certainties of his world have melted away in the British mud and blood and snow. (Quintus is supposed to speak Pictish, but unless my ears deceive me, Fassbender is speaking the Irish Gaelic he most likely learned in school. The Picts presumably spoke a language closer to Welsh or Breton.)

Into the fantasy category falls Quintus' liaison with an exiled Pictish witch named Arianne, played by the gorgeous English actress Imogen Poots (and I really hope she can become a star with that name). It's a lovely but not entirely convincing interlude, suggesting that individuals — Quintus, you, me, Conrad's Mr. Kurtz — have the option of escaping from history. Part of Marshall's genius lies in the fact that you're free to enjoy "Centurion" as a rousing, high-integrity B movie. But I'm afraid he's also preaching an inescapable historical gospel on how the vanity and corruption of powerful empires lead them to learn the same painful lessons, over and over again.

"Centurion" opens Aug. 27 in Boston, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Seattle. It opens Sept. 3 in Atlanta; Denver; New Haven, Conn.; St. Louis; San Diego; Santa Cruz, Calif.; and Washington, with more cities to follow.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:29 pm

http://www.laweekly.com/2010-08-26/film-tv/movie-reviews-piranha-3-d-centurion/

Movie Reviews: Piranha 3-D, Centurion

By L.A. Weekly Film Critics Thursday, Aug 26 2010

GO CENTURION This highly enjoyable action-adventure, set in 117 A.D., tracks a small cohort of Roman soldiers who are trapped far north of their empire's boundary. A triple whammy of abrupt plot twists (I'll let the movie spring them) has these guys being run ragged by a vengeful posse of blue-painted Picts — primordial Brits with Scottish accents and Viking faces. Up to now, writer-director Neil Marshall has specialized in horror movies, but in Centurion he imagines and communicates a remote world with terrific energy and a passion for detail. Michael Fassbender gives a magnetic lead performance here as Quintus, the most stubborn and resourceful of the Roman band. He's backed by a strong ensemble of macho charmers with chiseled faces (Dominic West, Liam Cunningham), as well as Imogen Poots as the Druidic lass who lives as an outcast in the forest. Marshall's excellent direction only becomes rushed when the Picts approach Poots' hut to search for the Romans. Their supposed fear of this beauty's reputation for witchcraft isn't persuasively conveyed, so you're obliged to wonder why these otherwise relentless brutes don't just go busting in. In the end, though, this matters little. Centurion may bring to mind such recent armored entertainments as Pathfinder and the Bruckheimer King Arthur, but (and this is no small compliment) its craftsmanship and freedom from pretension suit it more to comparisons with Anthony Mann's two classic-pursuit Westerns, The Naked Spur and Man of the West. (F.X. Feeney) (Citywide)
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:30 pm

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/26/MVU31F37MQ.DTL

Centurion

SNOOZING VIEWER

Action drama: Directed by Neil Marshall. Starring Michael Fassbender and Dominic West. (R. 97 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)

Michael Fassbender is a Roman centurion who escapes the brutal Picts and runs shirtless through the snow, bound and bloody.

There are six standard types of violence in film these days: Tarantino, comic book, Scorsese, martial arts, horror and stupid. For stupid, look no further than "Centurion."

"Centurion" is about Romans getting slaughtered by Picts in the harsh northern regions of Britannia, where, history tells us, the entire Ninth Legion disappeared around 117 A.D. What exactly happened to them no one knows. Probably they were massacred by wild-haired Caledonians with spears, a view assumed by writer-director Neil Marshall in his historically detailed but epically vacant bloodbath of a movie, which devotes herculean effort to splash-happy graphic dismemberment - most major body parts get their turn - but overlooks the little matter of a script.

A preamble explains the grim situation for the Roman Empire, locked for 20 years in a stalemate with the proto-terrorist tactics of the Picts. Cut to Roman centurion and escaped POW Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) as he scrambles through the snow, shirtless, bloodied and bound. In short order we learn that he lives long enough to narrate the movie (unless he's dead and played by Kevin Spacey), that he proudly resists Pict rendition ("I AM A SOLDIER OF ROME! I WILL NOT YIELD!"), and that he often employs four-letter words of Germanic and Anglo-Saxon origin. All the Romans do. The Picts swear less and converse in Gaelic, except when they speak English with a lovely Scottish burr.

Meanwhile, the stout-hearted Gen. Titus Virilus (Dominic West) has received orders to annihilate the Picts. They scotch that plan by annihilating the Romans, whose survivors then spend the bulk of the movie getting chased down by a mute, vengeful Pictish babe with Barbarella eyeshadow (Olga Kurylenko). Most of the carnage in Marshall's film isn't realistic or even imaginative, just unwatchably gross; the one exception is a terrifically staged ambush-with-rolling-fireballs. The acting ranges from obvious to over-obvious, about what you'd expect for a film crammed with doofus chit-chat and sage-like proclamations that might be excerpts from "Lost."

When it isn't getting up close and personal with the mutilation, Sam McCurdy's cinematography is the best thing going in "Centurion," expansive and exact as it rolls over the forbiddingly beautiful Scottish landscape. It makes the puniness of the story seem that much smaller by comparison.

-- Advisory: Sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:34 pm

http://westmemphisthree.typepad.com/blog/2010/08/centurion-best-action-movies-ever-trailer-2010.html

Centurion Best Action Movies Ever Trailer 2010
Indie Genius Best Action Movies Ever Centurion Trailer 2010

Best action movies ever always like a fun action movie like The Expendibles and Centurion, while not great, is sure to fill the bill for some fun blood shedding with their interesting take on history so kiddies you're gonna get some schooling so your parents have to take you!

Here's the lowdown on Centurion best action movies style. Based on the legend of the Ninth Legion, an army of 3000 unstoppable Roman warriors who vanished without trace, Centurion is the tale of their vicious conflict with a murderous adversary, the Picts. Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), a Roman corporal, is taken hostage by the Pict King, Gorlacon and the Ninth are charged with bringing him home and ending Pict domination of Britain. Led by General Virilus (Dominic West) and guided by a Pict prisoner and warrior woman named Etain (Olga Kurylenko), the army marches towards enemy territory and finds itself in the midst of a perilous battle with a mysterious foe. Neil-Marshalls, Centurion. The idea for a good movie is here, but it seems that the director decided to tack on the usual Hollywood studio needs list to make it more internationally friendly so the romantic addition seems about as welcome as Herpes is to a new virgin bride.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:35 pm

http://popcultureninja.com/2010/08/26/centurion-review/

August 26th, 2010 | Featured, Film
Centurion Review

Running time: 97 minutes Rating: Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language. Written and directed by: Neil Marshall

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Imogen Poots, David Morrissey, Andreas Wisniewski, Dave Legeno, Axelle Carolyn

PCN rating:

If Neil Marshall’s Centurion can be believed, than the Celtic tribe of Picts, circa 117 AD, were some quite nasty customers. If your interest runs in the study of medieval weapons and battle tactics, including the way a tribal blade can ruefully tear away at a victim’s esophagus, then this bonzo collection of gore, guts and guerrilla warfare might be right up your alley. Even if those grittier bits don’t take, then fans of the historical epic might still want to get in line. Marshall, ever a canny observer of macho carnage, delivers his tale of a buggered Roman battalion behind enemy lines in bold, bloody strokes that feel immediate and real.

Taking place in Roman occupied Northern Britain, Centurion tells the story of a small handful of Roman soldiers who survive a surprise ambush by Pictish warriors—led by the scout turned traitor Etain (Olga Kurylenko)—and then must make their way across the Scottish hills, evading the Pict hunting party while trying to save their captured commander and themselves. Think of it as The Warriors meets Last of the Mohicans Vs. Gladiator. Marshall is so taken with the details of the time period that often the costuming, set design and cinematography obscure the individuality of his characters. Their fates tied together, the motley group of six survivors are almost indistinguishable from one another. Only Fassbender (Hunger) as the heroic Quintus Dias and Kurylenko as the feral, vengeful Etain make any kind of lasting imprint upon the memory. What does make an impression is the way Marshall stages his man-on-the-run tale, which manages to entertain at the same time it accurately evokes the cold, inhuman dread of extended warfare.

Although it’s going to be dismissed in some circles as just a tiresome bit of grueling battle porn, that’s far away the truth from what Centurion actually is. Horrifically violent for sure, the film is never exploitative or as indulgent as many of its brethren are (the toonish 300 comes to mind). In fact, while the sound effects guys must have had a ball figuring out how to replicate the sound of a garroted neck falling in sallow earth, we only see quick visual flashes of the moment of impact. Instead, Marshall often focuses in on the facial expressions of those inflicting the damage. There’s a fearsome immediacy to watching Etain’s sadness and rage as she decapitates a soldier that could never be captured by simply watching the blade pass along the throat .When West’s Virilus and his men are set upon by the Picts in the film’s bombastic ambush sequence, Marshall manages to encapsulate the entirety of the historical Roman occupation of Britain into one barbaric collapse. This is one of the finest medieval battle scenes captured on film, and the sense of loss and desolation when it’s over seems to be worthy of a more somber picture.

Instead of keeping that tone, though, Marshall ramps up the quest of Quintus and his men to get back home. The rest is a fast-paced, single-minded race for survivial. It doesn’t feel like the overheated contents of a two-dimensional graphic novel, but instead hearkens backwards in cinema history to films like The Naked Prey, Jeremiah Johnson and even the silent film version of The Most Dangerous Game. Unlike Zach Snyder, whose output keeps to comics and video games, Marshall seems to have an extensive, intimate knowledge of the history of action filmmaking. The camera cranes across in wide-shots of the Scottish hills, capturing Quintus and company scrabbling like rabbits, while Etain stands like a phantom reaper, looking down on them. As the film progresses, the narrative hits rocky terrain, and by the time we reach the climax, it has all but unraveled. The script is so focused on Quintus, and in contrast, his female Pictish counterpart, that when their struggle is resolved, there’s nowhere else to go.

So, yes, Centurion has started to run out of steam by the time it winds down, and a more textured script, willing to explore the binding ties of men in wartime, might have served it better. Then again, it’s hard to say if it would have the same visceral thump it possesses now. Fassbender gives a strong and believable performance as a man trying to hold onto some sense of moral intuition when his enemies have stopped making sense to him. The men who surround him are little more than faces seen by firelight, or racing, mud covered visages, caught in the heat of combat. Imogen Poots as a suspected sorceress who gives the men refuge provides Centurion with the only traces of softness, compassion and grace that it has. Kurylenko is the scene stealer as a woman whose life was destroyed by the Romans before it had even truly begun, and although her severed tongue prevents her from uttering a word she makes her body language shout bitter, unspoken rage that echoes across the harsh wilderness. West has little more than a small role, but in it he gives a face to the decadence and unfettered lust of Rome the empire.

This is Marshall’s fourth foray into the sub-genre of survival thrillers. His last three, Dog Soldiers, The Descent, and Doomsday were all variations on the theme of what happens to the primal side of human nature when its continued existence is threatened. All were worthy pictures, with Descent being the best of the lot because of the way it attacked genre conventions and our expectations about cinematic aggression. After Centurion, which probably follows as second best of that motley group, this particular well is probably dry. I suspect, Marshall might have done that on purpose. Centurion is so brutal and forthright, so dedicated to the darker, hidden face of savagery, that I think it means to have the final word on the subject of ‘band on the run’. It isn’t often that a single film aspires to gut punch a particular narrative into submission, but Centurion does just that, grinning through bloodied teeth with an irreverent sort of joy.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:44 pm

ttp://www.jumpcutjunkies.com/2010/08/mini-review-centurion.html

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Mini-Review: 'Centurion'
The old breed of action director is dead, crow the naysayers. The George Millers and Walter Hills, while still working, have taken a backseat to the Len Wisemans and the McG’s, empty stylists more in love with color palettes and commercial editing than telling a story. The great action filmmakers, and even the middling ones in the vein of Richard Donner, understood that an action sequence is only as strong as the characters and story behind them. It’s something Neil Marshall gets, however, and he gets it in spades.

“Centurion,” the British helmer’s fourth film, features a threadbare storyline weaved in and out of a serious of chase and fight sequences. There’s nothing wrong with a skimpy movie, with a story that has no timeliness to modern day issues, but once upon a time, filmmakers used to shoot and edit them to so you didn’t wonder where the thematic thread went. Marshall has made a film that is both superficially apolitical and at the same time universal in its embrace of the hunt and the chase. With that comes measured expectations, of course: without this substance, a work of art isn’t usually going to survive as a classic.

Marshall knows there’s no crime in creating such a work so he focuses on pacing and action. The story involves a botched siege of the minority Picts by Roman soldiers, though Marshall prefers the conflict between an overconfident whole, now fractured, and the fear of a society with their backs against the walls. Some recorded history, and some filmmakers, would favor the tragic story of the Picts, but in this story, the mighty many become the unlikely few, the Romans stripped down to a skeleton crew desperate to make it back to their own territory.

Michael Fassbender is the steely, resourceful leader of a Roman troupe taken apart by the marauding Picts, forced to fend for himself in a performance that’s more physical than anything else. Fassbender, a handsome, square-jawed sort, makes a fitting modern update to Cornel Wilde in “The Naked Prey,” all sinewy limbs and taut chest. As the leader of a near-supernatural cult on his trail, Olga Kurylenko is the latest in an already-impressive lineup of terrifying, vengeful females in Marshall films, her thousand-mile stare equipped with a few handy skills with weaponry.

“Centurion” slows down for a romance with an off-the-grid witch (Imogen Poots), but the strength of the picture lies in the pursuit. When swords do clash, its bloody and ruthless, and Marshall spares not a single pint of blood. More gruesome than any horror film, Marshall still keeps the action tight, and even when there’s a mass battle sequence, we follow a distinct few battles with clarity and precision. Compared to Marshall’s last film “Doomsday,” which seemed like something he needed to get out of his system, “Centurion” is a pure, un-distilled blast of genuine action-adventure.

"Centurion" is currently available On-Demand, I believe, and it's in theaters tomorrow. Select ones!
Posted by Gabe Toro at 1:55 PM
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:49 pm

http://elitestv.com/pub/2010/08/centurion

Centurion
By MovieFilmReview • on August 26, 2010

Centurion is a British made film that was originally released in the UK and Greece in April. After being shown at several film festivals across the U.S., it is finally being released on a limited basis this Friday.

The story is based on the legend of the unexplained disappearance of the Ninth Legion of the Roman army. Neil Marshall (The Descent) wrote the story and is also the director of this savage film. The cast includes Michael Fassbender (Jonah Hex), Dominic West (Punisher: Warzone) and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace).

The Roman Empire has taken control of almost all of Europe except for one area of stiff resistance. The Empire has decided to send out one of their top generals, Titus Virilus (West), along with his army to put an end to this stubborn opposition.

When Titus and his men are ambushed by the enemy, he is taken captive and almost all of his men lay dead except for a few. One of those men is Quintus Dias (Fassbender) and he, along with a few other survivors, set out to rescue Titus from his barbaric captors.

Quintus and his men have another big problem. They are being hunted by Etain (Kurylenko), the top scout and a fierce warrior from the group that refuses to submit to Roman rule, and she will not stop until she can deliver the heads of Quintus and his men to her king.

Neil Marshall has said that his film is not intended to be historically correct, it is suppose to be an action movie and it has plenty of that for sure. The battle scenes between the Romans and their enemies, an uncivilized group known as the Picts, are quite gruesome. Audience members with a low tolerance for graphic violence may want to cover their eyes when the bloodshed begins.

In an attempt to counteract, I think, the brutal violence throughout the film, Marshall throws in a small love story between Quintus and a Pict woman, Arianne (Imogen Poots, 28 Weeks Later), who has been exiled for being a suspected witch. Some people may find it a nice diversion from all of the fighting, but I found it to be out of place with the rest of the story and simply uninteresting.

Marshall does a fine job of creating tension during the movie. Everytime Quintus and his men think they have finally alluded Etain, she suddenly reappears with bloodthirsty vengeance in her eyes. After you learn why Etain has so much hatred in her for the Romans, it is not hard to understand why she will not rest until they are all dead.

It also makes it hard for the viewer to have much sympathy for the Romans after you hear of the inhuman things they have done to the Picts. You may hope that the Picts are able to get their pound of flesh. In war, horrible acts are usually done by both sides.

However, Quintus appears to be an honorable man and the performance by Michael Fassbender drives home that point. Fassbender is very genuine in his portrayal of a Roman soldier who is tired of war and really just wants to go home. Dominic West is strong and steady as a Roman general who values the lives of his men. Although Olga Kurylenko has no spoken lines, she wonderfully expresses her emotions with her mesmerizing eyes.

The cinematography by Sam McCurdy, who has worked on several of Neil Marshall’s other movies, is breathtaking. The sweeping aerial shots and wide angle views really captures the beauty of this supposed ancient land.
While Centurion may conjure up memories of Braveheart, it is not nearly as good as that classic, but it is still a pretty entertaining movie on its own.
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http://www.moviefilmreview.com/author/DanMcNamara
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:00 pm

http://jadedmedia.blogspot.com/2010/08/centurion-review.html

Thursday, 26 August 2010
Centurion Review

Neil Marshall burst onto the scene in 2002 with Dog Soldiers – a horror comedy built around a simple but brilliant premise: British Squaddies vs Werewolves. He followed that up with 2005’s The Descent, a straight-up horror, no comedy allowed, as a group of pot-holers got into trouble deep underground. Two very different but equally well made and received horror movies left audiences in anticipation of what Marshall would do next. What he delivered, in 2008, was Doomsday. Even its defenders, of whom I would count myself one, admit that it’s a mess. Rarely does a film leap genres as often as Doomsday, lurching from Dawn of the Dead to Escape from L.A. to Gladiator to Mad Max without stopping for breath. It's wildly overambitious, attempting a Scottish based “Apocalypse Now” style journey into madness while only ever achieving the madness part. Obviously the Scottish landscape hasn’t scared Marshall off as it’s the setting for his new film – although where Doomsday’s Scotland was a futuristic wasteland, Centurion is Roman one.

Centurion opens with Michael Fassbender’s Roman legionnaire staggering across a snowy mountain range. He flashes back to life at his garrison as it is attacked one night by Picts – native Scottish folk, who, given their dress sense seem to have watched Braveheart once too often. The Picts massacre everyone in the roman fortress, carrying Fassbender back with them as a prisoner. After a brief interrogation, Fassbender is locked away and promptly escapes across the aforementioned snowy mountains, making the opening one of the most pointless flash forwards I think I ever seen. Many films start with an opening scene from later in the film – think of good examples like Inception, or even mediocre ones like Swordfish. But never have I seen a film with a flash forward to all of 15 minutes.

Back in England, the Romans send their “best unit” – the 9th Legion up to Scotland to teach these locals a lesson. They are to be led into deepest darkest Scotland by a Pict guide, who supposedly has sided with the Romans. Now, do you think she will happily work with her roman masters against her own race? Or might she lead them into a trap and betray them? Hmm, tough one, I know. Well, however it happens…. the legion is ambushed by a Pict army in what is an excellent battle sequence. Clearly drawing from the opening of Gladiator, it's shot with the same washed out colour scheme, the only splashes of colour saved for the fireballs and the blood. Marshall loves his gore (the first death shown in the movie is by pike between the legs) and every fight thereafter contains plenty of limbs hacked off and faces caved in. Entire minutes pass with no sound save for “crunch, squish, urgh”. The ambush provides the centrepiece of the film and it's well staged and presented. Unfortunately, its also the clear high point of the movie, with at least half of its running time remaining.

7 soldiers survive the ambush, including the previously mentioned Fassbender, who joined the legion earlier on. And so begins an extended chase as the survivors rush to get south of the border with the Picts in hot pursuit. Remember the opening 10 minutes of the Two Towers – two groups running across barren, spectacular terrain, captured in breathtaking helicopter shots? Stretch that out over 50+ minutes and you have the second half of this movie. Sure there’s some beautiful scenery to look at, but not much else to stir the blood. There are only a couple of actual action sequences during the chase and there’s nothing all that interesting about any of them. In some ways, it reminded me of the middle third of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, with the super-posse always chasing the two leads, but not much happening apart from Butch asking “who are those guys?” To hammer home the reference, Centurion even has a jump from a high cliff into water, although nowhere near as dramatic or fun as the aforementioned cowboy classic.

One of Marshall’s great strengths as a film maker is his group dialogue – think of the squaddies swapping stories and banter in Dog Soldiers or the women bickering in The Descent. Here, it's best demonstrated by the two veteran legionnaires, played wonderfully by David Morrissey and Liam Cunningham. Both are gruff ‘seen it all before’ warriors who know they are past their best, but continually provide support to the main hero. Michael Fassbender, the lead, has received a lot of plaudits following his turn in Inglourious Basterds, but there’s nothing to stretch him here. His role as Quintus Dias is a standard stoic hero, fairly one-note throughout.

Dominic West is suitably gruff as the Roman general who’s happier with his men than enjoying the privileges his title provides – a common stereotype in military movies. He’s handy in the action, but not given a great deal to do beyond that. The real stand out is the Pict warrior Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko. A vision of vengeance, she had her tongue cut out by Romans and hence is totally mute. Despite, or more likely because of this character trait, Etain is a really showy part, requiring lots of exaggerated gestures and close-ups of the eyes. Olga nails this perfectly with hatred flashing across her face, and is a true force of nature throughout the film: It's really only her presence that keeps the second half from totally grinding to a halt.

From such a promising talent as Marshall, Centurion really is a disappointment. Plenty of the trademark violence, cinematic homages and a few choice moments of dialogue lift the film above standard action fair, but I’ve come to expect so much more from this writer/director. Perhaps the reaction to Doomsday has convinced him to tone down some of the more fantastical or bizarre elements originally planned. Or perhaps Marshall always wanted to tell such a straight forward “historical” tale. A shame if so, as the presence of a few werewolves or a crawler or two would sure have livened up this relatively dour chase movie.
JIM

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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:05 pm

http://disasterfilm.blogspot.com/2010/08/blood-and-guts.html

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Blood and guts

The movie of choice was the Neil Marshall epic CENTURION, which wasn't that bad a romp, even though it had obviously been cut-to-hell to fit in with the 20 year old yahoo cinema trade.

Little more than a chase movie, Centurion tells the tale of the 7 survivors of a 9th Legion massacre by the dirty Picts ( Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, David Morrisey and the still sexy Liam Cunningham amongst others) and how they have to escape from axe waving psychopath native warrior sexpot Olga Kurylenko

The survivors are picked off one by one after they do that obligatory jump over the waterfall scene, and everything is garnished with lashings of CGI blood and guts spurting around with gay abandon

Just the sort of mindless rubbish to while away a muggy afternoon
Posted by John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com at Thursday, August 26, 2010
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:11 pm

http://www.centredaily.com/2010/08/26/2171891/centurion.html

Centurion'
By CARY DARLING
- McClatchy Newspapers
August 26, 2010 9:57am EDT

"Centurion," a diverting English sword-and-sandal saga set during Rome's attempted conquest of the British Isles, doesn't exactly score big points for realism. It's highly doubtful that the tribal British women of the time looked like entrants on "America's Next Top Model: Stonehenge Edition."

But, setting this nod to 21st-century beauty standards aside, "Centurion" is far more entertaining, and infinitely less cumbersome, than its recent big-budget Hollywood counterparts "Clash of the Titans" and "Robin Hood." It's also less CGI-stylized and better acted than "300" and the TV series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." And there's one battle scene - where a Roman legion is ambushed by the Picts - that's especially nasty, brutish and a whole lot of awesome.

The result is a thoroughly enjoyable mano-a-mano action flick that would probably find a more appreciative audience in mainstream multiplexes, not the arthouse circuit, where it's currently making the rounds.

Michael Fassbender ("Fish Tank," "Jonah Hex") is Quintus Dias, a Centurion who recently escaped the clutches of the savage Picts only to find himself, after meeting up with Roman general Titus Virilus (Dominic West), back in the fight again. Titus' orders are to crush the rebellious tribes once and for all, but the Romans are outfoxed and Quintus and a handful of his men find themselves on the run. (Of course, along the way, Quintus does a Captain Kirk and finds time to make time with a particularly fetching local woman, played by Axelle Carolyn, who just happens to look a bit like Scarlett Johannson.)

On their tail is queen of mean Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a Pictish warrior woman with an unquenchable thirst for Roman blood.

As directed by Neil Marshall ("The Descent"), "Centurion" turns into a cool little fight-and-flight picture. He even leaves open the possibility for a sequel, which, unusual for action movies these days, seems more like a promise than a threat.

CENTURION

3 stars (out of 5)

R (sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images, language); 97 min.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:13 pm

http://www.cinema-suicide.com/2010/08/26/centurion-review/

f&#! Rome. Centurion.
Posted by Bryan White | Thursday August 26, 2010 | Reviews

Centurion ReviewBeing an American soaked in Irish blood, particularly here in New England, has its drawbacks. They’re hardly the sort of thing that dog me through life, but most people make all sorts of faulty assumptions about Irish people and automatically associate those of us with ancestral bonds to the old country with stereotypes that really f#%@#&! suck. The stereotypes, though celebrated by just about everyone but me, include but are not limited to the beliefs that: I am a rowdy booze hound with a boner for Guinness, that my favorite band now and forever is The Dropkick Murphys, that no Friday night is complete without a fist fight, that I have a separate wardrobe of green clothing specifically for St. Patrick’s Day and that I am a shame-ridden Catholic with an unquenchable desire to procreate. Truthfully, I don’t drink much these days and when I do, I go for vodka. I can take or leave Guinness. I’m a recovering Catholic, a strong advocate of birth control, I thought the Dropkick Murphys were better before Al Barr joined the band and the only people who wear green to the office on St. Patty’s Day aren’t Irish. I’m also repelled by the entire notion of St. Patrick. By driving out the snakes, they mean driving out thousands of years of cultural heritage and replacing it with Christian faith.

That said, I’m in love with my own tribal heritage. The modern picture of Ireland is a portrait painted in the minds of most people by James Joyce, whether they know it or not and that’s really too bad because in spite of ridiculous accents and lovable drunkards living in the dreary setting, Ireland’s cultural heritage in the days of the Celts is f#%@#&! awesome! Vikings get all the credit for being Europe’s resident badasses, but the Celtic and Picts of the region were easily just as badass and routinely went toe to toe in a mad dash for resources. What is known in the region since the tribal people of Britain weren’t too keen on writing s$#! down for posterity is pretty slim and the only reason we know what we know is handed down from word of mouth storytelling and the records of Roman invaders from the period and the stories those guys tell, particularly about their push into Scotland, are pretty dire. The Celtic tribes of the time were hardcore. Maybe this is why while watching Neil Marshall’s latest gory action flick, Centurion, I kept finding myself rooting for the Pict villains of the movie. This is not a good sign for your movie when the bad guys are confused for the good guys.

Rome had been f#%@#&! with the westernmost regions of Europe for a while before they decided to throw caution to the wind and deliver legions of troops into what is now The United Kingdom. Subjugating most of England was a breeze, according to historical documents and archaeological evidence, but they would eventually head north into Caledonia, aka Scotland, and find fierce resistance in the form of The Picts, a gnarly confederation of Celtic tribes living in the region who struck hard and fast and used the terrain to their advantage. They were an irresistable force and Rome’s mighty legions couldn’t rub them out no matter what they did. Centurion takes place in these desperate last days of Rome’s incursion and concerns the fate of the Ninth Legion. Where other Roman Legions are documented pretty well, the fate of the Ninth is a bit of a mystery and the subject of much debate among experts in the field. It’s a popular belief that they were slaughtered during the push into Scotland and this movie makes a script out of this belief. In the movie, the Ninth is summoned to make one last scorched earth push into Scotland and to crush the Picts by any means necessary but the Picts have a spy in the Roman ranks who leads the Romans into the trap that leads to nearly the entire Legion being killed. The last few Roman soldiers infiltrate the Pict settlement to free their captive general, but when this doesn’t happen and one of the scuzzier soldiers kills the Pict king’s son, it kicks off a chase to Roman occupied Scotland with the Pict hunters hot on the heels of our fleeing Roman soldiers.

Basically, Centurion is The Warriors set in proto-historical England.

I really, really wanted to like Centurion and while it’s hardly a bad movie, it is so deeply flawed and its characters are so hard to connect with. Director, Neil Marshall, blew me away with his early features, Dog Soldiers and The Descent, but once his reputation had grown to attract real budgets and a new creative freedom thanks to the rise in popularity of revivalist genre movies, Doomsday and now Centurion left me a little cold. Nobody shoots violence like Marshall, though, and on the upside, his action scenes herein, are mostly solid and exciting affairs. Every chop, slash and hit results in an eruption of blood and severed body parts. The only thing stealing points from his otherwise killer battle scenes is the obvious presence of CGI blood and gore that will forever piss me off.

Stealing further points are Marshall’s wafer-thin hero characters. Star, Michael Fassbender, does his job admirably and this is no small feat since he’s left in charge of a bunch of Roman soldiers that Marshall wants you so badly to sympathize with but given my thirst for history and heritage, all I could think about while watching Centurion was that Roman invaders, in every context, were a bunch of murderers and rapists and even though Centurion’s ill-fated heroes weren’t necessarily rapists and murderers, they’re pretty much guilty by association. On the other hand, Marshall weakly makes attempts to villify the Pict villains and their savage king, Gorlacon, a farmer driven by revenge and his killing machine, Etain, a tongueless woman driven by revenge. The Romans had done horrible things to these people and as far as I’m concerned, the invaders get what they deserve. If Marshall was trying to blur the line between hero and villain in this case, he fails miserably because the rest of the movie just isn’t that nuanced. We spend long spans of time watching Romans run through forest, field and snow, looking desperate while cutting away to painted Picts on horseback riding through forest, field and snow looking off into the distance with determination as they track their prey. Occasionally, the chase is interrupted by violence so the Picts can thin the herd and satisfy our thirst for on-screen blood.

Centurion faces some fairly serious pacing issues where long stretches are filled with flimsy character development and weak attempts to build sympathy for a bunch of loathsome Roman soldiers. There’s also a lot of running and walking. Lots. The only character that I actually liked and wanted to see survive was played by Noel Clarke and that’s just because I liked him on Doctor Who. On the upside, if you’re going to be rooting for the villains like I was, you get an intimidating and badass group of hunters to like and the action scenes involving them are savage, raw and completely satisfying. The very first kill is a Roman soldier getting stabbed in the balls when he stops to take a leak off the side of the garrison. Plus lots of people get their heads cut in half. In the end, though, what you’re left with is an action movie wildly out of balance with a series of forgettable protagonists and a story that is most good guys running from bad guys. My recommendation is watch it for the battle scenes, which rock, and then fill the void in your life left by Centurion with a screening of The Warriors.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:16 pm

http://didimiss60b.blogspot.com/2010/08/reviews-centurion-and-toy-story-3.html

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Reviews: Centurion and Toy Story 3
Centurion is Neil Marshall (The Descent)'s latest effort and it seems the man just really likes doom and gloom. Visually, it's great. The battles are gruesome and Marshall doesn't shy away from it. Michael Fassbender (looking too 2010s for the time period), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) and Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later) give good performances. But there just wasn't much of a story here. It's battle, battle, battle. And if you like that sort of thing, you will definitely enjoy Centurion. A 3/5.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:23 pm

http://jbollblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/centurion.html

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Centurion
I took the plunge and watched Centurion last night on HDNET and was pleasantly surprised. It's a B action movie, but a well done B action movie. You'll notice some of the faces, most notably Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, and Olga Kurylenko (Queen of crappy action movies: Quantum of Solace, Hitman, Max Payne). I like how the film was shot with the grittier film for action and snow sequences. It's big-time over the top in the violence and drama, but it isn't too bad. The story follows a Roman legion deep into the Eastern Visigoth territories where they are ambushed by Visigoths and destroyed, except for their General (West) and a handful for soldiers (6 I think). The soldiers then embark on a quest to free the General and return to Rome. Kurylenko plays a crazed Visigoth tracker who hates Romans because they killed/raped her and her family and cut off her tongue. Crazy murder and violence ensues and entertains. It's not winning any Oscars, but it's entertaining.

Bottom Line: 6.1 out of 10. It's fun to watch if you like decapitation and limb dismemberment, which I do. Ending is disappointing however and a pointless love story is tossed in to pass time between disembowelment.
Posted by Boller at 8:10 PM
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:28 pm

http://screencrave.com/2010-08-26/centurion-movie-review/

Centurion: Movie Review
Aug 26, 2010 - By Justine Ciarrocchi

Centurion Look At the Damage 26 8 10 kc Centurion: Movie Review

This film deserved 75% of Eat, Pray, Love’s billboards. While A-List actors were preoccupied with making mediocre movies, this semi below the radar ensemble of fabulous Europeans teamed up with Neil Marshall for this weekend’s under-advertised release Centurion.

Check out our review below…

The Players:

* Director: Neil Marshall
* Writer: Neil Marshall
* Cast: Michael Fassbender, Andreas Wisniewski, Dave Legeno, Olga Kurylenko, Imogen Poots
* Cinematography By: Sam McCurdy
* Original Music By: Ilan Eshkeri

The Plot:

Rewind and freeze in the 2nd century during the Roman conquest of Britain. The film opens with the Roman soldiers being ambushed by Pict tribesman. There are few survivors, and their general is being held captive in a remote camp. Quintus Dias (Fassbender), a survivor and son of a legendary gladiator leads a small group of soldiers to raid the camp and rescue him. The son of a Pict leader is murdered during the raid, and the Romans find themselves hunted by a seemingly unstoppable group of the Pict’s most skilled and vicious warriors.
The Good:

* Story: This story is essentially based on the legend of the Ninth Legion and its mysterious disappearance, but instead of centering his film around the tale of the massive battle itself, Marshall chronicles the aftermath. The Pict hunt for vengeance offers plenty of gore and fast paced action – but the driving force of this film is its strongly defined characters. Marshall digs a little deeper than the physical wounds. These aren’t just a bunch of blood soaked warriors fighting for their lives – they’re human beings coping with deflated spirits and consequently become disillusioned with the “glory” of battle.
* Theme: It’s rare to find a war-related film that in no way attempts to romanticize combat. Centurion presents the realities. Surviving the initial ambush was a miracle in and of itself – and these Romans are now being tracked by the most lethal Pict warriors on the block. The stakes are high. When death is breathing down your neck is it easy to disregard all ideals of allegiance or patriotism and play every man for himself?
* Cinematography: Marshall modernized the quality of his battle scenes with quick cuts and tight frames without losing a sense of time period. It was a unique juxtaposition of ancient setting and contemporary cinematography. Right on.
* Female Villain: The character of Etain, the gorgeous (and completely dope) huntress leading the Pict tribe makes Lara Croft look like Polly Pocket. Olga Kurylenko is a chick who can pull off the “bad ass” situation. Victory!

The Bad:

* Nothing: This is rare – but I have nothing negative to report.

Overall:

Centurion is one of the best films I’ve screened this year – you will not regret spending a buck on this movie. Go see it!
Rating: 9/10

Centurion opens in limited theaters on August 27th.
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Re: Centurion reviews 2

Post by Admin on Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:58 pm

http://horsesonfilm33.blogspot.com/2010/08/movie-review.html

Thursday, August 26, 2010
Movie Review



Centurion

The grotesque and brutal film about a roman solders Centurion Quintus Dias struggles to get out from behind enemy lines, while being chased by the Picts, a nomad clan. The Picts have been taking out Roman soldiers one by one. Quintus escape puts him under the command of General Titus Flavius Virilus played by Dominique West (300, 28Days, Mona Lisa Smile) to once again go back after the Picts. The Picts are a savage bevy of people, that are expert trackers. When betrayal becomes a key character in the film it puts Quintus again back behind enemy lines, but now he is accompanied by 6 other men. The film traces these men and their journey to survive the harsh winter of the Scottish highlands and the Picts close on their tails.

Its a graphic film with lots of blood and epic battle scenes. The Roman soldiers on the run are on foot, but the Pict Warriors are on horse. The horses are all of some draft type. Very Scottish breeds, but what I really liked about the look of the horses was that they had that tether worn look. You know you have seen these films that have these beautiful Friesians and other majestic horses that we all love to see, but they look like they have gone through the grooming works. These horses are supposed to be in battle living in the woods. Most movies make the horses look so good you could lick whip cream off their neck. Not these horses they had full on winter coats and were dirty, it was very actual. In the film actress Olga Kurylenko plays Etain the betrayer and antagonist in the film. You have seen Olga in films like Hitman and she was the Bond girl in Quantum of Solace. She rides and fights in the film, however nothing too daring. She had some ample fight scenes, but on horse I was not too impressed. She rode a white draft looking horse, that probably could of been a Lipizzaner. He looked very lazy to me. The Roman soldiers of course rode the more sophisticated horses compared to the Picts. In the first battle scenes where there is a Pictish raid on the Romans, some of the actors that played roman soldiers where holding the horses in the scene while the key actors performed. I frown on stuff like that, because being in the business horse and riders are very capable of this. I can't say for sure but I'm sure there is a reason for the action.

The Film was directed by Neil Marshall who also brought you Doomsday and The Descent. The character of Centurion Quintus Dias is played by Michael Fassbender. You have seen him in films like in Inglourious Basterds as Lt. Archie Hicox, and 300. His next move is the young Magneto in X-Men: First Class.

I give it 2 1/2 hoofbeats. Go check it out!

Posted by Candice Smith at 11:45 AM

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