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Centurion Reviews 3

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Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:03 pm

http://velcrometer.blogspot.com/2010/09/m-ovie-reviews-centurion.html

Friday, September 03, 2010

M. Ovie Reviews: Centurion

Chao sent me a text inviting me to come meet him at the other art house theater in town on a night so busy that I nearly forgot to show up. Which, given how much I love movies, is a pretty busy night.

I wasn't as busy as the guy in Centurion, though. That dude had his hands full, when they weren't tied together. Remember the British officer from Inglourious Basterds who nearly lost World War II because he forgot which fingers Germans use to signal the number three? That's Michael Fassbender and he's the lead in this, the titular centurion, but he's often upstaged by Dominic West from The Wire as a charismatic general, Bond girl Olga Kuryenko as a deeply scarred mute who will f&#! you up, and the character played by 28 Weeks Later's Imogen Poots, an actress whose name would be good for an extra letter grade if I gave letter grades. And that's not even counting the character that dominates the majority of scenes right from the first frame, that being the surprisingly spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands. The opening credits basically float Fringe-like over snowswept mountains that make Middle-Earth look like Kansas. I didn't even know Scotland had that s$#!.

As you might guess from the title, Centurion is set during the time of the Roman empire, a period with which I am an eminent authority by virtue of the fact that I recapped both seasons of Rome. Except Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo never show up, even though this is set only a century or two after their time.

It takes a while to figure out what kind of movie it is. At first it looks like a Vietnam or war-on-terror allegory, with a cadre of imperial soldiers far from home in a hostile landscape fighting a never-ending war against an enemy that doesn't follow their rules. Then there's a little light torture, and some politics, and an escape-slash-chase, and some more torture, and finally things settle into a groove with our small band of ragtag fugitives fleeing the second-century equivalent of an angry biker gang.

Although I appreciate the fact that this is a sword-and-sandals epic that leaves out the "epic" part, coming in at barely over an hour and a half, I also would have appreciated a little more time to get to know some of the secondary characters and figure out how to tell them apart. Maybe if I watched more English TV I could have kept them straight by thinking of them as "that guy from EastEnders" or "that guy from Doctor Who," only there were a couple dozen of each. Fortunately they had an obliging tendency to get themselves killed a lot, so that narrowed things down.

Which brings me to the fight scenes. Director Neil Marshall doesn't flinch from showing some pretty violent injuries and deaths. There are lots of edged weapons whickering through the air and skulls being cleaved fiercely in twain, and some stuff that's a lot more imaginative. If that's what you look for in a movie, I would recommend this. But I guess I'm getting to the age when I'd rather see a movie that's a reason for the fight scenes rather than the other way around (which is probably why Predators left me so cold.

In the end, what strikes me about this movie is how much stress and effort goes into a lot of stuff that ends up being just for nothing. It's very anti-Hollywood. Although if they really wanted to drive the message home, they could have had the courage of their convictions and gone through this obviously arduous shoot, killed off most of the cast in the process, and finally wrap it, only to hand it over to a distributor who would then bury it in a dumpster. On balance, however, I'm glad they didn't.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:05 pm

http://www.onemetal.com/2010/09/03/centurion/

Centurion

If there’s one thing that Scottish director Neil Marshall loves, it’s chase movies. Every one of his four feature-length films is a fast-paced thrill ride of some sort or another. His latest effort, Centurion, is a rip-roaring swords and sandals chase movie with copious amounts of blood, sweat and torn flesh made on a relatively low budget of £10 million. It’s a definite return to form for Marshall following the interesting but failed genre mishmash of steam-punk thriller Doomsday.

Michael Fassbender proves adept at action and angst

Taking the story of the Ninth Legion (a group of expert Roman soldiers whose fate remains unknown to this day) and relocating the action to Scotland, Centurion pits them against a vicious bunch of Pict natives. Inglourious Basterds actor Michael Fassbender stars as Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pictish attack on a Roman outpost who escapes his would-be captors. Meanwhile, the Ninth Legion, led by Dominic West’s bawdy General Titus Flavius Virilus, are making the march up from York to take it to their barbaric rivals. When Dias meets with Virilus and his sultry but silent scout, Etain (Quantum of Solace’s Olga Kurylenko), it sets in motion a series of events that lead to the brutal demise of the Ninth and a desperate race for survival as the hunters become the hunted.

The divine Olga Kurylenko might look a little too exotic for 117AD Scotland but don't worry, she can handle herself

Centurion is super violent and Neil Marshall revels in some of the most outlandish CG-lopping of body-parts you’re likely to see this side of Ichi the Killer. Heads are horizontally sliced off at the mouth, male mid-sections are speared without mercy, and a shot to the head with a flaming arrow is just another death amid many creative executions. Marshall captures the sound of every single demise like a man who loves to listen to death as long as it’s extremely painful. The audible bone-crunching, scorching results of the first major battle will ensure that you never walk down a Roman road without triple checking the banks of trees on either side. It’s a great scene but the movie only gets going when that encounter is over and the remaining Roman survivors have been assembled. After that, the real chase begins.

A Pict revels in the severing of a Roman fella's head - this happens a lot

Among the ragtag band of macho bastards on the run, Michael Fassbender does the best work. An actor with an increasingly excellent portfolio, Fassbender proves an able action star and has clearly beefed up to play Dias, the bilingual son of a gladiator with a little more feeling than his cohorts. Of the remaining cast, David Morrissey and Dog Soldiers’ Liam Cunningham put in the best shifts, although Dominic West is great value despite a small role and JJ Field (soon to be seen in Captain America) is gleefully sociopathic as Thax. The rest of the roster struggle to make much of a script light on character and heavy on action; several promising young Brit actors, including Noel Clarke and Riz Ahmed, are almost completely wasted. With a lack of depth in the characters, it’s hard to feel a genuine sense of sympathy for either plight, and the Picts (relegated to savage marauder status, with a slight Mad Max 2-style punk aesthetic) come off the worse. Furthermore, the script really strains and creaks when it makes clumsy contemporary references to guerrilla warfare tactics in a way designed to draw parallels to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dominic West does historical epics in his sleep

Whereas the script might let down the actors, Marshall’s regular cinematographer, Sam McCurdy, doesn’t let Scotland down. Where many have failed, McCurdy makes turns Scotland cinematic through some stunning, sweeping shots that wouldn’t look out of place in a Lord of the Rings film and he knows just how to get the most out of the country’s rugged and untamed beauty, as inhospitable as it is enticing. There’s an eerie and atmospheric, almost supernatural edge to the way in which they’ve filmed the Highlands; the dense and damp fog; the unrelenting snow blizzards and the jagged edges of the forest.

The Roman boys on the run

This is definitely a director’s movie, though. Neil Marshall might rely a little too heavily on the actors to turn substandard dialogue into gold, but in every other respect he’s got things covered. Excellently paced and with nary a moment to gasp for breath, Centurion is an incredibly tense film. It never outstays its welcome and the 97-minute running time flies by. The choppy, chaotic editing suits the larger battles and Marshall has the guts to cut the one-on-ones so we can see every hack and slash from the best possible angle.
Bottom Line

A solid example of genre filmmaking, Centurion is a near non-stop chase movie from Dog Soldiers director Neil Marshall. What the film lacks in strong characters it more than makes up for in bloody action and incredible visuals. It’s not a vital film or even one that has anything particularly interesting to say but that’s to its credit; forget Spartacus or Gladiator, there’s none of the pretension that colours those films. Think Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort out in Roman Britain and you’re getting close.

3/5
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:25 pm

http://clatl.com/atlanta/centurion-takes-roman-holiday-in-hell/Content?oid=2064783

September 03, 2010 Movies & TV » Movie Review
Centurion takes Roman holiday in hell
Neil Marshall fight fest has plenty of shock, but precious little awe
by Curt Holman
TAKE YOUR PICT: Bond girl Olga Kurylenko plays Etain, a mute, deadly Pict turncoat.

Courtesy Magnet Releasing

TAKE YOUR PICT: Bond girl Olga Kurylenko plays Etain, a mute, deadly Pict turncoat.
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Centurion
o CL rating: 3 stars
o Rated R - Action/Adventure, Drama, War

Official Site: www.centurionmovie.com
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer: Neil Marshall
Producer: Christian Colson and Robert Jones
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, JJ Feild, Axelle Carolyn, Riz Ahmed, Dave Legeno and Ulrich Thomsen

Arrows fly, swords slice and beards bristle in an "Unleash hell!" set piece from the Roman-era action flick Centurion. In 117 A.D., Rome's Ninth Legion marches North to Caledonia (aka Scotland) to subdue the rebellious Celtic natives, the Picts. While passing through a sinister forest, the soldiers hear eerie Pictish voices echo through the mist. Fireballs hurtle down hillsides to splinter the Roman formation, and finally the Picts swarm the invaders.

Director Neil Marshall reduces the height of the battle to its brutal points of impact, editing the melee into a grimy, blood-flecked blur of blades connecting with flesh. It's almost like a montage of chopping wood — Thunk! Thunk! Thunk! — and presents a horrific vision of second-century combat.

In context with the rest of Centurion, however, the smash-cut sequence seems more a byproduct of financial constraints than a creative choice to overwhelm his audience. Marshall previously helmed the impressive, female-oriented thriller The Descent and the stylish guilty pleasure Doomsday, but Centurion held out a chance to transcend the B-list. Centurion presents a provocative premise, memorable kills and a commanding performance from Michael Fassbender, but fails to secure Marshall's artistic promotion.

Fassbender plays Quintus Dias, a Roman centurion taken prisoner after the Picts sack a Roman outpost. Tormented by Pict king Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), Quintus escapes and flees shirtlessly across a frozen mountaintop. He eventually meets up with the Ninth Legion, led by brawling but shrewd General Titus Virilus ("The Wire's" Dominic West). Virilus hopes that Etain (Bond girl Olga Kurylenko), a mute, deadly Pict turncoat, will lead them to Gorlacon so the Romans can crush the Pict insurgency.

Instead, the Pict ambush results in a Roman massacre. Quintus must lead a handful of survivors across hostile territory while been tracked by relentless pursuers. When Quintus and his men seek shelter in a cave, Centurion evokes an old Lenny Bruce routine about World War II movies, and how their demographically balanced casts amounted to "the United Nations in a foxhole." Here, the soldiers hail from various corners of the Roman Empire, but Marshall scarcely lingers long enough on them for the audience to identify with any individuals.

The real fate of the Ninth Legion is a historical mystery, but Centurion offers some reasonably plausible guesswork that amounts to a graveyard-of-history kind of metaphor. Rome's Caledonian campaign offers clear parallels to the Vietnam War and any time a superpower has tried to conquer Afghanistan.

Marshall's pulpy obsessions trip up his thematic ambitions, however, particularly where Centurion's female characters are concerned. The two most sadistic and visually striking Pict pursuers happen to be warrior-women who seem more animalistic than human. Given the abuses of the Roman occupation, perhaps Marshall sees poetic justice in having female furies stalk Rome's representatives. In practice, it reduces the colonial complexities to the kinky simplicity of a standard revenge film, and cultivates a terror of bloodthirsty femme fatales until the protagonists can violently subdue them. Really, what up with that?

"She's a Pict and a woman — two good reasons not to trust her," one of Quintus' cohorts says when they meet a beautiful hermit (Imogen Poots). The sympathetic character helps inoculate Centurion and provides some romantic tension with Quintus, but doesn't compensate for the film's strain of sexism. At least Fassbender's performance helps elevate the material's simplicity. Most famous as Inglourious Basterds' stiff-upper-lipped soldier/film critic, Fassbender conveys Quintus' moral conflicts as a loyal Imperial soldier waging a war he perceives as increasingly unjust.

Despite such heavyweight ideas, Centurion proves disappointingly comparable to Marshall's previous film, Doomsday, in which Scotland of the near future devolves into Mad Max-style barbarism. Like Doomsday, Centurion works just fine on the level of visceral drive-in fare: At one point, one fighter shoves his adversary face-first into a tree, and through you don't see the collision, red matter bursts from either side of the tree trunk. Centurion delivers plenty of shock, but precious little awe
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:31 pm

http://wtf-film.com/site/2010/09/03/centurion/

The Horror!?
Centurion
September 3rd, 2010 | article by Denis Klotz
year: 2010
runtime: 98′
director: Neil Marshall
cast: Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko,
Dominic West, Liam Cunningham,
David Morissey, Imogen Poots
writer: Neil Marshall
cinematography: Sam McCurdy
music: Ilan Eshkeri
Pre-order this film from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray | DVD

It’s the year 117. The Roman conquest of Britain is going rather badly. Rome has been forced to a standstill by the Pictish tribes under their king Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), because her military isn’t able to adapt to the guerrilla fighting techniques of her enemy. In a desperate last attempt at winning the war and saving his position, governor Agricola (Paul Freeman) decides to send the 9th legion under general Virilus (Dominic West) north to find and kill the Pictish king.

The only additional help Agricola gives Virilus is the female, tongue-less tracker Etain (Olga Kurylenko). This turns out to be a costly mistake. Etain leads the legion into a trap, and so its first contact with the enemy remains its last. Most of the men are slaughtered, Virilus captured and only a handful of Romans (like Liam Cunningham and Micky from Doctor Who – yes, we are in the usual “all Romans spoke with various UK accents” territory here) escape with their lives. Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), who had just escaped Pictish captivity, decides to lead the survivors into the Pictish camp to free their general.

That plan doesn’t work out too well. Virilus stays in Pictish hands and one of Quintus’ men – without any of the other Romans realizing it – murders Gorlacon’s little son. The soldiers manage to flee and begin a long and difficult trek back into their territory, having to survive the wilderness as well as repeated attacks by Etain and a small band of Picts who are following them to avenge the king’s son.

People who disliked Neil Marshall’s Doomsday (and really, what’s wrong with you?) will probably not like the director’s new movie much better. Sure, Centurion is a bit more thoughtful and intellectually ambitious than Marshall’s last movie (which doesn’t say too much if you keep in mind that Doomsday seemed mostly interested in being awesome dumb fun, more Italian than any Italian post-apocalypse movie ever made), but it is still more interested in action and testosterone poisoning than in being subtle.

Centurion has a few things to say about how the systematic violence of warfare in the name of empire produces said empire’s worst enemies, who in turn perpetrate their own acts of violence which in turn lead to new retribution and so on and so forth, with everyone’s deeds of slaughter done for very good reasons. Gorlacon for example had begun his fight against the Romans after they had killed his first child, and Etain was driven into insane violence by being the victim of Roman rape and torture. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t put as much emphasis on these elements as it probably could. Although Marshall makes sure his audience understands that violence and empire are Very Bad Things that will only lead to more dying and suffering, he still won’t stop himself from revelling in at least the violence. So his film is full of scenes of intense, blunt, bloody violence, staged in scenes as exhilarating as they are brutal, subtly choreographed not to look too much like it, not evoking the dance of a martial arts movie but something less pretty and more visceral.

And the violence here is so well done that it’s hard to blame Marshall for losing himself in it. There is something to be said for the handful of films that try to put something like the historical adventure stories of the pulps on screen and it’s the preference for the cutting and the slashing before the thinking is very much a part of that genre you can’t escape.

The actors are doing fine jobs throughout, even though they are hampered by sometimes less than satisfying dialogue (note to scriptwriters: never use the word “she-wolf” unironically) and understandably basic (it’s just this sort of film), yet sufficient, characterization. Poor Michael Fassbender also has to do some overblown and completely unnecessary voice-over that is only there to add bathos the film doesn’t need and tell us things we are seeing on screen anyway, in the great tradition of useless voice-overs throughout film history. It’s not the only time its script lets Centurion down a little. Especially the ending seems a like it was done in short-hand and – for once in this film – more out to prove a point about the despicableness of the concept and practice of empire while still giving at least one of the characters a happy end than to make for a truly satisfying (or depressing) and logical conclusion. This is one of the rare cases where I would have preferred a film to be ten or even twenty minutes longer just to let its ending feel less hasty.

One the more positive side, Centurion‘s script also does a few relatively clever things that demonstrate that Marshall’s not going through the motions of action movie scripting like a machine. Those are never big things the film is pointing out at us, but I still found it nice that (for example) the character who is set up (after a frighteningly racist introduction as a professional runner) to be the “black guy who only looks out for himself and will get killed by trying to pull one over his friends” isn’t actually going in that direction at all and instead cynically killed off when he is going against that particular annoying archetype. It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t sound like much, but put half a dozen moments like this into your historical action movie script like Marshall does here, and you suddenly have something that feels specific and sometimes even a little human instead of automatic and generic.

Friends of bleak nature photography will also have a field day with the film’s beautifully photographed outdoor locations in Hampshire and Scotland. The desolation of the locations gives the film a mood befitting the grimness of what’s happening in them, sometimes pulling the brutal fighting into the direction of the dream-like, more often lending it a feeling of particularity, of everything we are seeing happening in a real place instead of the imagination. After this, I’d walk miles to see a nature documentary shot by Marshall and his cinematographer Sam McCurdy.

All criticism aside, I had a lot of fun with Centurion. Despite its flaws, the film is as physically exhilarating as movies come, beautiful, and less dumb than it could get away with. That it’s also not always as successful at being clever as it could be is a problem, but not one big enough to ruin the movie, or the fun.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:01 pm

http://dcist.com/2010/09/centurion.php

Out of Frame: Centurion

Your average swords-and-sandals battle film is a huge, big-budget undertaking. All those extras, costumes, props, coordination, and, in the modern age, digital post-production. Writer/director Neil Marshall's Centurion -- set in the second century A.D., as the Roman empire attempted to conquer the northernmost reaches of Great Britain, running into fierce opposition from the Pictish peoples who then populated the region -- doesn't skimp on the action or the bloody battles. But Marshall managed to make it for a fraction of the cost of overblown epics such as 300 and Gladiator by dialing down the scope and telling a smaller story, which works to the film's benefit in ways far more important than the financiers' bottom lines.

300 is the more appropriate reference point here. This is the film it could have been had it not been beholden to Frank Miller's weirdly mutated version of the Battle of Thermopylae and Zack Snyder's signature over-stylization and fetishistic attachment to slow-motion violence. Marshall's film drops the laughable macho melodrama ("This!...Is!...Sparta!") for an approach that, while not necessarily realistic, is at least more firmly tethered to the ground.

The film is the story of Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender, continuing to demonstrate his ability to make nearly any movie better by his mere presence), a Roman Centurion whose battalion is raided by the Picts, who continually confound the organized Roman forces with their guerrilla tactics. He's taken prisoner, but he escapes half-naked into the snow, and when reunited with the front, he heads almost immediately back into the fray under the bloodthirsty General Titus Flavius Virilus (The Wire's Dominic West). They take with them an intense Celtic warrior, Etain (Olga Kurylenko) as a tracker and a guide. As it turns out, she was brutalized by the Romans in her youth, and is only too willing to double-cross them. It's one of the weaker plot points: from the moment she's introduced, it's pretty obvious she's going to turn on the legion, and there's really little justification given for why the Romans should trust her so completely.

Meticulous plotting isn't necessarily the highest priority here, though. Marshall's film has a good helping of subtle smarts, but he is more concerned through most of the running time with carnage and bloody thrills. Roman history buffs looking for the finer points of the Empire's campaign in Great Britain may find this a little gory for their tastes.

Or, make that a lot. Considering the ease with which limbs and heads are lopped off, one would think the human body doesn't have them securely attached. Blood (most of it rendered practically rather than the unconvincing digital stuff) pours and splatters at inhuman rates, as if we're just big, people-shaped balloons full to bursting with gallons of bright red fluid. One might mistake this for a Machete-style exploitation homage, were the production values not so high.

Because on the flipside of all that gore, Marshall's film is also a starkly gorgeous and distinctive visual experience: He conveys the raw, biting cold of the rugged, forbidding landscapes of what is now northeastern Scotland by draining much of the color out of the images. All that's left is a nearly monochromatic palette of bluish gun-metal greys contrasted with the bright red blood.

Marshall continues to display an ability absent in most modern filmmakers who draw from the horror-movie toolbox to subtly work interesting social and political commentary into his work -- it's particularly evident in the female empowerment undercurrent of The Descent, which remains his best film. Here, it occurs to one at some point in the third act that it's odd that he's setting up the Romans as heroes in this story, particularly in the personal conflict between Quintus and Etain, the latter of whom has every right to desire bloody revenge on the Romans.

But through a deftly executed bit of plotting at the end, Marshall shows that the sides aren't quite as clear cut as we might think of them. In doing so, he makes the 2nd century suddenly analogous the 21st, and makes perhaps the strongest anti-war case ever made in a movie this gratuitously violent.

---

Centurion
Written and Directed by Neil Marshall
Starring Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West, Imogen Poots
Running time: 97 minutes
Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language.
Opens today at E Street.
View the trailer.
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By Ian Buckwalter in Arts and Events on September 3, 2010 4:45 PM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:52 pm

http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/yb/149435289

Lodi News-Sentinel, Calif., Jason Wallis column
By Jason Wallis, Lodi News-Sentinel, Calif.

Sept. 04--Who would have thought that at the tail end of summer -- carrying into the fall movie season --we would see a mini-renaissance in the oft-neglected discipline of genre homage? Even more amazing is that these passionate odes to genre pictures of yore ("The Expendables," "Piranha 3-D" and Neil Marshall's "Centurion") all pay explicit tribute to B-movie sub-genres: the '80s action flick, the creature feature, and the sword-and-sandals epic, respectively.

Yes, it's a good time to be a fan of trashy, violent cinema, and if I had my way we'd be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing. There's just something about the energy and infectious enthusiasm of well-made B-movies that brings out the geek in me.

What luck, then, that this weekend sees the release of "Machete," Robert Rodriguez's ultra-trashy, unspeakably violent follow-up to "Planet Terror." It's high time we saw Danny Trejo in a starring role, and this flick looks to be tailor-made for his particular talents. Look for a review next week.

When "The Descent" was released stateside in 2006, I was among the legions of fans who immediately declared writer/director Neil Marshall the new king of British horror. He had already impressed everyone with "Dog Soldiers," his debut feature about an elite military unit going toe-to-toe with a pack of werewolves, and his sophomore effort -- involving a group of female adventurers stalked by cave-dwelling monsters -- was even tighter, scarier and more visually engaging. Then came "Doomsday." As a result of that alleged debacle, Marshall lost his street cred as quickly as he had gained it.

Now comes "Centurion," Marshall's attempt to win back lost fans with an epic vision of gore and mayhem.

"Centurion" opens in 117 A.D. in the midst of a long and bloody war between Rome and the Picts, an infinitely resourceful alliance of Celtic tribes who are using guerrilla tactics to successfully fight off the invading Roman army. During one of their attacks on a Roman outpost, the Picts capture a particularly spirited fighter named Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender, best known from "Hunger" and "Inglourious Basterds"), who is tortured but soon escapes his captors to rejoin the ranks. These centurions are headed by General Titus Virilus, a ferocious fighter and commander who is ordered to lead his men into one final, decisive battle against the Picts.

This mission promises to take Dias back into the heart of enemy territory, but he gets more than he bargained for when the centurions are attacked by the Picts, and Virilus is taken captive. Joined by the few surviving centurions, Dias sets out to rescue the general. But after the rescue doesn't go quite as planned.

The movie functions primarily as a chase film, and in terms of structure, it owes a lot to Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto." Marshall does a more than serviceable job of charting these characters' journey through impossible terrain, and the scenes depicting a Pict warrior woman (Olga Kurylenko) tracking the soldiers are as believable and exciting as similar sequences in Gibson's film.

It's also a no-holds-barred action/adventure film.. Here, the director isn't concerned with carefully planned choreography and blocking. It's all about the blood, baby, and Marshall brings it in waves. As a full three minutes pass with nothing -- nothing -- but quick-edit shots of bashed and decapitated heads, severed limbs and impaled torsos, the film becomes so violent as to almost seem experimental. The fast, furious action continues throughout the movie's brisk 97 minutes, with Marshall never descending into the unintentional chaos we typically see in elaborate action sequences. It's all comprehensible, and pretty damn thrilling.

Clearly, "Centurion" is not an "actor's movie." Nonetheless, Marshall cast some impressive talent here, with Fassbender and West effective in their leading roles, and Kurylenko making for a great, seemingly invincible villain. (I use the term "villain" only because she is in opposition to our protagonists -- ironically enough, on moral grounds, most viewers will probably be on her "side.")

In the end, though, it's all about the action, and genre fans are likely to be pleased by the intensity and flair apparent in all the movie's half-dozen major action scenes. It may not measure up to Marshall's early work, but judged on its own merits, "Centurion" is certainly worth a look.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:55 pm

http://www.nerdsociety.com/movie-review-centurion/

Movie Review: Centurion
Posted by Ccfmds in Featured Articles, Movies on 09 4th, 2010

Centurion 1 Movie Review: Centurion

Neil Marshall is a B-movie expert who has quite the cult following after directing the horror hits Dog Soldiers and The Descent. His last movie was a fun, trashy ode to The Road Warrior called Doomsday and he follows it up with a hack and slash classic called Centurion. Centurion is a gritty, gorgeously mounted action picture about a group of Roman soldiers being hunted by a tribe of nasty Pics led by a vengeful, mute warrior woman. The grimy gore meshes seamlessly with the striking and bleak cinematography of a harsh and unforgiving landscape. The excellent and charismatic Michael Fassbender is the lead while the stunning and badass Olga Kurylengo is the Pict warrior who will stop at nothing to get revenge on the Romans who destroyed her life.

Centurion is essentially an ultraviolent chase picture directed for maximum gore and impact. The cast is strong (especially Fassbender, who deserves to be a star) and the movie is not to be missed for fans of historical action, minus the political “intrigue” that does nothing but make movies like Gladiator, Troy, and Kingdom of Heaven bloated and overlong. The plot is basic and compelling. A group of Roman soldiers must fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is betrayed by a Pict spy and led into an ambush. Marshall does sneak in some nifty reminders about superpowers who try to expand their empire but get nothing for their troubles but blood and death and there are some parallels to the current US foreign policy, but that stuff is easily ignored if you are just looking for a bloody good time at the movies. Centurion is available now on demand and in limited release, it’s not to be missed.

Grade: A-
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:59 pm

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20415538,00.html?xid=rss-movies-Centurion

Centurion (2010)
Reviewed by Chris Nashawaty | Sep 01, 2010

EW's GRADE
B+
Details Release Date: Aug 27, 2010; Rated: R; Length: 97 Minutes; Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama; With: Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko
SHE-WOLF Olga Kurylenko hunts Romans in Centurion | Centurion

Director Neil Marshall has made some good films (The Descent, Dog Soldiers), but he won't make anyone forget Gladiator with the sword-and-sandal gorefest Centurion. Inglourious Basterds' Michael Fassbender plays a scrappy Roman soldier leading the remnants of the slaughtered Ninth Legion against the savage, face-painted Picts tribe led by badass Bond babe Olga Kurylenko. The plot's pretty thin — even for a gladiator movie. Fortunately, when it comes to crunchy impalings and messy arterial geysers, Marshall's a maestro. B
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:09 pm

http://www.cinephilemagazine.com/2010/09/03/review-centurion-2010/

Review: Centurion (2010)

September 3rd, 2010

centurion.jpg

Neil Marshall’s latest, Centurion, has little in common with Ridley Scott’s visually rich historical epics like Gladiator or even Kingdom of Heaven. The clue that Centurion is of an entirely different pedigree is in the film’s poster, which has the tagline: “History is Written in Blood.” Instead of subtlety and scope, Centurion is more like the bastard son of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, in that it is essentially a violent action adventure film in a historical setting. Although not as visually rewarding as Apocalypto or Gladiator, Centurion is nevertheless an exciting action spectacle, a B-movie that has characters beating each other to a bloody pulp.

With the recent state of action films relying so heavily on CGI, shaky-cam theatrics, and incomprehensible editing, it is a great pleasure to watch Marshall take command of a seemingly dying genre and infuse it with all the passion, melodrama and violence that action fans have long craved. Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham of The Expendables have got nothing on Michael Fassbender, Dominic West or Olga Kurylenko, the stars of Centurion.

The plot is straightforward enough. Set in Northern Britain in A.D. 117, a band of Roman soldiers, far behind enemy lines, must evade and fight the notoriously violent Picts—a group of battle-hardened warriors who embrace guerrilla tactics as a means of overthrowing Roman expansion into their lands. Similarities to American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan are inevitable when dealing with a story of this nature, but Marshall doesn’t let the film get wrapped up in tired political posturing. He is much more interested in filming actions set pieces than in speechwriting. Like his previous effort, the grisly Doomsday, Marshall revels in B-movie shlock and never apologizes for it. Scenes of decapitations, torture, sword fights and arrows to the face are all standard fare in Centurion. The film is much more in the spirit of Marshall’s first, the low budget horror film Dog Soldiers, about a band of British soldiers who are attacked and butchered by pack of werewolves.

While Marshall has yet to fully capitalize on The Descent, which was one of the best horror films of the last decade, he continues to make films as uncompromising as they are entertaining and bloody. His projects are a nice throwback to a time when action films got the blood flowing, both on-screen and in the veins. Other than the drab cinematography, which gives the picture a monotonous and gloomy veneer that quickly gets tiresome, Centurion is a rousing call-to-arms that should appeal to action fans.

Richard Saad
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:14 pm

http://guide.thehoya.com/node/472

‘Centurion’ Tests the Limits of Bad Filmmaking

* Music and Movies
* Jeremy Tramer

Look, I really don’t want to establish myself as the smarmy kid who blasts every movie short of Citizen Kane. I like a lot of movies. I’m not going to sit here and give every subpar film one star out of five. But Centurion is truly a special case. Rarely have I seen a film fail on so many different levels. I have no choice but to give it a single star.

Centurion follows the story of a second-century legion of Roman soldiers who attempt to conquer the indigenous Pict people in present-day England and Scotland. Except for some reason, the Romans are the good guys. They’re just coming into these people’s territory and trying to take it from them, but we should be on their side? I wasn’t really able to get past this plot point. They clearly should’ve been antagonists.

So, the Romans get ambushed by the Picts, and all of them die except six or seven people. This was seriously the most brutal battle I’ve ever seen in any movie. Whereas most movies would show a sword going toward a guy and then cut to his face wincing as he gets stabbed, Centurion never cuts away. I’ve never seen more knives just plunged into people in my life. Throughout the film there are probably over 100 shots of a knife getting plunged into someone and just wrecking him. Centurion makes Hostel look like Madagascar. I guess some people are into that. I’m not.

During the battle, the Roman leader gets captured by Gorlacon, the head of the Picts. In response, the Romans sneak into the Pict camp to save him, but they can’t get through the chains that are holding him. This is where it starts to get inexplicably ridiculous. For some reason, one of the Romans kills Gorlacon’s 10-year-old son. The soldier doesn’t stab the kid or anything, he just kind of sits on him until he dies. The motive for this murder is never given.

Because the Romans killed Gorlacon’s son (and remember, they are the ones invading the Pict’s land, so the murder was just adding insult to injury), the whole rest of the movie follows the Romans trying to get back to Roman territory while being pursued by the Picts. There really isn’t much more to it than that.

The Pict warriors are now led by some lady named Etain. All anyone ever does is talk about how great a hunter Etain is (“She’s looking for you? Then you’re as good as dead!”), but she never actually tracks down all the Romans, even though she’s on a horse and they’re on foot. Etain is a mute because she got her tongue cut out by Roman soldiers as a little girl. But we should be rooting for the Romans though, right? Also, it’s never a good idea to make one of the main characters a mute. You have to sit around while other people describe them, instead of letting them develop their own character. Kind of like Quinton Aaron in The Blind Side.

For about an hour, the movie cuts between a minute or so of shots of the Romans, then 30 seconds of establishing shots of scenery, then a minute of the Picts marching, then 30 more seconds of establishing shots. Centurion is like “The Hills.” A third of it is just shots of scenery.

The Picts keep ambushing the Romans, and killing some of them, and then walking for 10 more minutes until another skirmish. This goes on until there are only three Romans left, and they realize they are a day away from Roman territory. But wait, there hasn’t been a climactic battle between the Picts and the Romans! Luckily, even though they are a day from safety, one of the guys is like “I’m tired of running. Let’s fight.” So they fight. I won’t tell you what happens, but I think you can guess.

Maybe I didn’t make Centurion sound as bad as it was. The character development was horrible. Out of the group of seven or eight Romans, I knew maybe half of their names, and not even rudimentary information about them. Maybe they mentioned it once.

The movie is full of irrelevant information that doesn’t advance the action at all, and a number of plot lines that are introduced never pay off. For example, in one scene, the characters almost ate poisonous mushrooms, and then realized they were poisonous and didn’t eat them. Another time, some guy had a bug land on his neck while he was running, and then smashed it in a close-up shot.

Finally, one of the main characters is killed by friendly fire at the end of the film for absolutely no reason. The audience was laughing pretty hard at that one. So at least this was one of those movies that was so bad it was funny. That is literally the only good thing I can say about it. Seriously, I’m trying to think of something positive. I guess the blood looked pretty realistic.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:23 pm

http://goninmovieblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/04/centurion/

CENTURION
By J.

http://www.centurionmovie.com/

UK 2010 Directed & Written by: Neil Marshall Produced by: Christian Colson, Robert Jones Cinematography by: Sam McCurdy Editing by: Chris Gill Music by: Iian Eshkeri Cast: Dominic West, Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Riz Ahmed, Noel Clarke, Liam Cunningham, JJ Field, Dimitri Leonidas, David Morrissey, Ulrich Thomsen, Ryan Atkinson, Imogen Poots, Dave Legeno

As almost all great epics about Rome (or the Romans) CENTURION attempts to tell a tale of love and betrayal, of soldiers and the elites, about politics and peasants – quite the same way Hollywood, or everyone else for that matter, depicts, and romanticizes, Rome as the birthplace of the western civilization that has shaped our culture, is the origin of a claimed superiority and the justification for its failures. In principle, CENTURION sticks to the clichés (and likely truths) about the Romans, but takes it all to a more personal level.

The story about the Centurion and his legion is condensed intensity, barely touching the main ingredients of a “Rome movie”, keeping the story portion down to a minimum while spending most of its time on fierce battle scenes and the escape / return from enemy lines. Thing is, CENTURION doesn’t have much of a story in the first place; I find it hard to write a synopsis about…what exactly? The ninth legion marching north to wipe out the enemy, but facing defeat instead with the survivors trying to get back to their folks? That’s as far as there’s a storyline, the rest is a 2 hours massacre.

CENTURION is burying its own grave early, allowing dramaturgy to happen only in terms of fight choreography: while the battling is well planned and a little less well executed at times, it is also very tiring and repetitive, entertaining only those who indulge in stylized brutalities and gory mayhem. With any episode of HBO’s ROME having more depth than CENTURION the movie is a one-way street, deciding early on what to be and not to be and sticking to its formula a hundred per cent. There is no turning back, also not for the audience.

When Neil Marshall scored a surprise hit with THE DESCENT (I consider his earlier DOG SOLDIERS clearly inferior) he displayed strengths that apparently have now gone missing. THE DESCENT was a clever exercise in dramatization, maximizing the impact of actions throughout time and within space. The claustrophobic shocker made the most out of a tight and tense scenario, but just as THE DESCENT didn’t require a real story to work Mr. Marshall obviously believes CENTURION doesn’t need one either. Looking at it this way THE DESCENT (just as CENTURION now) also revealed the director’s weakness, as it seems to me Mr. Marshall isn’t much of a storyteller, and that his talent rather lies with fast-paced action and highly effective shocks both of which don’t work in CENTURION (in DOOMSDAY, a movie that also had very little to say, the action was much more gripping in comparison).

The reason for that is that while space was very limited in THE DESCENT and hence a great asset to work with, space is unlimited in CENTURION and proves useless for accelerating the action or forcing certain patterns onto the acting and the choreography. What the film is left with is 1:1 combat, or group battle sequences that have no point of reference as also time is never of the essence really. As a result, the fighting never seems to gear towards a climax, is never under any constraints and hence floating loosely, without gravity that could add weight to it. Also, it is clearly less playful than in DOOMSDAY as it lacks all the fancy toys (Romans don’t ride tuned cars or use inventive weaponry).

The bloodletting and dismemberment feel like watching a “best of” compilation, and the more Mr. Marshall forces the editing to follow an almost musical rhythm, the more comical the movie seems. The saturation point is reached quickly, after which there’s nothing much for the director to add and nothing much more for the audience to wait for. We’ve seen it all after a few minutes, and we’ve seen it all somewhere else before anyhow.

THE DESCENT was a big small movie. CENTURION is a small big movie (but not that big). Mr. Marshall cannot rest on his laurels and solely live on his reputation as a member of the so-called splat-pack (an artificial label that couldn’t be any more arbitrary), but will have to up the ante if he doesn’t want to descent into insignificance.

J.

2 stars
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:03 pm

http://bigscreennz.blogspot.com/2010/09/centurion.html

Sunday, September 5, 2010
Centurion

Releases: 9th September 2010
Rating: R16 – Contains violence and offensive language
Duration: 97 minutes
Genre: War Action
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey and JJ Feild
Director: Neil Marshall (Doomsday, The Descent & Dog Soldiers)

The Premise>> 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.

The Review>> When it comes to the plot, the above premise really gives you a good insight into what this film is all about. In comparison with the classic blockbusters of the past four decades, Centurion is like the love child of Gladiator, Dances with Wolves and Pathfinder. This film features high intensity battle scenes, with a high quantity of gritty and extremely graphic blood splattering around, as the body count climbs with every scene.

The performances are gritty and the dialogue somewhat poetic as director Neil Marshall draws you into another time and place where the surroundings are as cold and dangerous as the savages who are the enemy. Speaking of the enemy Bond Girl extraordinaire Olga Kurylenko does a wonderful job bringing extreme prejudice to the role of scorned Pictish tracker/Huntress.

Like his previous films, Doomsday, The Descent and the cult favourite, Dog Soldiers, Marshall breathes a dark intensity in to it. As the dialogue shares at one stage this is a battle without honour. From the costumes and props through to the dialogue and locations, Marshall has done a solid job of aligning the key components in order to help you to dispel disbelief for the full 97 minutes as you disappear back into the different place on the earth’s ever-changing timeline. In fact the Pictish language that is spoken in the film is actually Gaelic. Pictish as a dialect is believed to be related to the Brythonic languages and may have been closer to Welsh. In modern times all that remains of the Pictish language are some place names.

Despite being tired when I watched this film, it held my attention for the full duration and even though I have had a up and down experience with Neil Marshall films, he drew me back in, with this one. (For the Record, I was frustrated with Dog Soldiers, didn't feel too connected with The Descent but loved Doomsday.)

The Conclusion>> A blokes only fight-fest with gritty graphic violence set in the British countryside. Great for a night out with the boys.

Posted by Contributors at 10:03 PM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 06, 2010 8:05 pm

http://thebryanmartinezexperience.blogspot.com/2010/09/film-review-centurion-2010.html

Monday, September 6, 2010
Film Review: Centurion (2010)

Considering the talent involved, Centurion is a really well made mediocre attempt of a film. Now, I'm not trying to hate on the film but, when Neil Marshall...the creator of Dog Soldiers and The Descent makes a film...you kind of have to view it under a different light. You know what the guy is capable of so, it begs the question: has Neil Marshall fallen off the creative horse? Well, not entirely.

Centurion is definitely not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination. Had it been his first, it might've gotten more of a positive review. However, having made this after the luke warm Doomsday I was expecting much more of a return to form.

The film takes a little while to get the actual heart of the story going. It centers around a band of Roman soldiers led by general Titus (played by Dominic West) who are ambushed after a betrayal by one of the more interesting characters in the film. Then, once the survivors go back to the Pict's camp to rescue their general, Gorlacon's (leader of the Picts) son is killed and the film turns into a hunt for vengeance. Gorlacon sends Etain to dispatch the remaining Romans. Played by Olga Kurylenko, Etain is a silent cold blooded warrior who's tongue was cut off when she was a kid. She maintains an interesting demeanor throughout the entire film and you really get the sense that the Roman soldiers are scared shitless of this small framed female. Interesting how Marshall once again makes use of the strong female type in this film.

The remaining Roman soldiers are now led by a tough as nails Quintus who is played by the talented Michael Fassbender, also in 300 and Inglorious Basterds so, he knows his way around a film based on war and bloodshed. You'd think that with all the talent involved in Centurion as well as the subject matter you'd pull away from this film having experienced something much more substantial and worthwhile. Unfortunately, the film feels forgettable and trite.

The gore and violence are definitely fun, though. After all, Neil Marshall cut his teeth in the horror genre so, it certainly is evident. I wish he'd go back and do a damn horror movie. These "love letter" personal movies are nice every once in a while but, I'd love to see the man do a nice original horror movie again.

Imogen Poots (heh) shows up in the third act of the film and lends an immeasurable beauty in a role as a witch banished by the Picts to live the rest of her life alone. She's a lovely young talent who was in the better than average 28 Weeks Later and I'd love to see more of her in the horror genre.

As a whole, Centurion is a decent film that would make any fan of films like Gladiator and 300 content but, as a devout Neil Marshall fan, I'm holding out for the mentioned Outpost or Sacrilege as a true return to his form before I make any crazy assumptions of his creative disintegration.

Centurion is a 6 out of 10 for gore, violence, Olga Kurylenko and an overall disappointing Marshall entry.

Thanks for reading,

bryan.

Btw...did you know that Olga Kurylenko is Ukranian for...

Sweet Jesus!!!

Posted by The Bryan Martinez Experience at 6:41 PM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:46 pm

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:47 pm

http://the-filmfiles.com/featured-article/centurion-surprize-pict-ure-of-the-summer

CENTURION: SURPRIZE PICT-URE OF THE SUMMER

By Dr. Craig D. Reid

As the summer cinema season draws to a close, which for all intents and purposes has not been a banner summer for Hollywood, the limited release Centurion will catch many people off guard. On the surface, some filmgoers may assume it’s a low budgeted 300 (2006) meets the Gladiator (2000) ala Naked Prey (1966), and in sense it is, but that’s a positive attribute. And similar to Avatar (2009), there’s a hidden, obvious message in regard to the state of the wars in the Middle East and Great Britain’s involvement. Yet there is also something very honestly biting about the movie that at the end of the day is unsettlingly pongniant.
Centurion’s director, Neil Marshall, grew up at one end of Britain’s famous landmark, Hadrian’s Wall, in Newcastle upon Tyne, and worked for many years at the other, in Cumbria County.

Marshall recalls, “I used to spend many hours driving on the old Roman roads, which still runs parallel to the wall. Over time is when I began constructing a story about this extraordinary man-made structure. Somebody told me about the legend of the Ninth Legion, this Roman legion that marched into the mists of Scotland and vanished without a trace – leaving this great mystery. This idea of an entire Roman army marching into Scotland and just vanishing, it immediately conjures up images of supernatural elements. But I didn’t really want to go down that road. I wanted to find out what might have actually happened, if they did disappear.”

Under the direction of Roman Emperor Publius Aelius Hadrianus (A.D. 76-138; emperor from A.D. 117-138), Hadrian’s Wall, which was the Northern most reaching part of the Roman empire in England (Britannia at the time), began construction in A.D. 122 and was completed in six years. A whopping 73.5 miles long that stretched from the North Sea to the Irish Sea, it was 16-20 feet high and 9.7 feet wide.

Which brings up an interesting question. Why would the Romans, back then the most powerful empire in the known world, construct such a huge wall to be so vast and impenetrable? What did the Romans fear and what were they protecting themselves from?

The Picts.

Marshall imagined that this legendary and powerful tribe, believed to have populated the Caledonian mountains around the 1st Century, might have ambushed this Ninth Legion. Thus, he began to plot the concept around this premise. Marshall then centered the story around a lone member of the Roman army who might have survived the initial attack, and had to fight his way back home through enemy territory.

From there the story was flushed out and focused on Roman centurion (professional soldier of the Roman army) Quintas Dias (Michael Fassbender) who leads a group of soldiers on a raid of a Pict camp to rescue a captured general (Dominic West). The son of the Pict leader is murdered during the raid, and then the seven remaining Romans find themselves being hunted by a seemingly unstoppable group of the Pict’s most vicious and skilled warriors. Led by a beautiful and deadly tracker (Olga Kurylenko), she is hell bent on revenge that goes much deeper than just the child’s death. Dias, the son of a legendary gladiator who fought many vicious battles to gain his own freedom, must now tap into his father’s combative pedigree as he fights to get back to Roman lines, a line that to him translates into freedom.

With all the backstabbing and philosphical tenets that are touched upon in the film, Marshall was certainly reflecting the conservative nature of his politics in regard to Britain’s involvement in the war in Iraq, as Dias, a faithful follower of Hadrian about faces and bluntly avers that the war against the Picts is all for nothing.

The Al-Qaeda message is also rather obvious where the Picts are a terrorist, guerilla army that holds no respect for their Roman warrior counterparts and did not uphold a warrior’s code of honor, morality or ethics. Basically, the only good Roman is a dead Roman. (Hmm, that creepily sounds familiar doesn’t it?) In similar films where our heroes are being chased by vicious enemies like in Naked Prey and Too Late a Hero (1970), at the end of the film the enemy salutes the runners for their bravery and will to survive as the hero against all odds makes it back to safety. Yet similar to Al-Qaeda, the Picts hold no such reverance for bravery of the enemy.

The action is not for the faint hearted as the fights are basically short, quick edits of overly bloody decapitations, limb severings and disembowelments, with enough draining blood to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Watch out for those 2012 London Summer Games. Yet the action is not about the shock value for the sake of doing a manly-man, violent period piece, but is there to match the kind of brutality that Steven Spielberg tried to equate in the reality of war as seen in Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Although historically Hadrian is considered to be the third of the Five Good Emperors, Marshall portrays Hadrian as a man of dishonor. So is it a coincidence that Centurion opens during the same week that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair goes on his book tour defending his stance on getting involved in the war in Iraq?

One major or minor error of the film (depending on who you are), is when Dias tells his fellow soldiers that he and them are but pawns in a game of chess for the powerful politicians. The earliest forms of chess appeared in 6th century India and didn’t reach England until 1066, when during the Battle of Hasting, the French Normans successfully defeated the English army and began the Norman Conquest of England.

I guess one could say to Marshall, “You should have checked…mate.”
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:58 pm

http://reeldealmw.blogspot.com/2010/09/centurion-2010.html

Monday, September 6, 2010
"Centurion" (2010)
Neil Marshall's "The Descent" was about a group of friends who lived to take risks, and were proud of them - yet they either never lived to tell their tales, or wouldn't dare speak of them after they had survived. Here is his latest, "Centurion", which is about the legendary Ninth Legion, a group of men who risked their lives in great peril every day, and again not much of anybody knew of the dangers they faced, nor the value of their lives.

When "Centurion" opens up, we meet Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender). He's the sole survivor of some vicious raid by the Picts, the only group more savage and gruntingly brutish than his own legion. There is some introduction after the film's opening credits - complete with what's probably best known in epics as the "helicopter introductory nature shot" - whose job is to create the illusion that what's going on here involves some kind of high stakes. "AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea". Already, the obligatory historical rundown that prefaces such a stripped down film feels out of place, trailer-ready to pander to a formula that had me wishing for more of Marshall’s unrelenting claustrophobic horror, rather than his pre-occupation with displacing it in ancient middle Earth.

Then again, there are two arguments for and against the historically prolific accessories known as "swords and sandals", and taking a pro or con stance ultimately will depend on what you value more: the part that's historical, or the part that's prolific. Return to a swords-and-sandals epic and you will find yourself in all too familiar territory:

One man - decidedly of militaristic importance and stature - lies in the center of clashes of violent dispute in ancient Rome, then finds himself torn apart by captivity, love triangles of messy sexual tension, and a moral quandary that could probably make dying on the battlefield a pleasing, more convenient alternative.

He also presumably holds his base of knowledge of the genre within the confines of those tired Roman soldier films - among them "Gladiator" and "300", - which some I imagine will find to be homage with an adept level of respect. What it is, is an exercise in style that recycles what it perceives to be authentic, and that becomes sort of hit or miss.

To start, Neil Marshall approaches his mythology with the same kind of awe and curiosity a kid staying the night at a friend's house telling a local urban legend has. In that way, it's hard to resist. One great shot of the Legion in battle sees flaming boulders closing in from every which way, mirroring that smothering paranoid feeling Marshall managed to get from those caves in "The Descent".

Marshall clearly understands that what we can conjure up in the darkness of our imagination - whether that's a vicious throng of monsters at the bottom of an unexplored cave, or a troupe of Roman soldiers whose fate is swept of recorded documentation - is most compelling when placed in a fragment of reality; the journey of backpacking young women or the waging battles of the vast Roman empirical struggle. Where the film falls flat, is when that aura within the context of historical legend becomes essentially removed, replacing something so potentially rich in lore by replacing it with highly stylized limb-hacking choreography. Translated into horror, that paranoid hysteria is most effective when unexplained, but in “Centurion” the action begs explanation.

The film's strictly black and white characters also have a curious way of glossing over anything reminiscent of real dimension. Many of them, including Roman-epic veteran Dominic West as General Titus Flavius Virilus (there’s a mouthful) act as pawns in some cruel game rather than human beings. Marshall no doubt relished in the opportunity to dress down, ugly up and make a brute out of Olga Kurylenko, here playing Etain, the merciless and deaf Pict warrior whose makeup looks plucked out of a missing Joel Schumacher “Batman” installment. We’re told at some point that her motive is vengeance on behalf of her murdered family. I had trouble seeing more than the anger and brooding called for in an almost entirely silent and wasted role.

What I found myself repeatingly asking was a matter of the great moments that could arise out of a story willing to report unwritten history. Was every Pict simply a ruthless sadist? Every Roman a man of honor and glory? Where are those Romans whom secretly despised the civilization that forced them to fight to fatten their emperor, instead of blindly obeying it? When will we see a movie about them? Or maybe with "Centurion" we have, we just haven't seen it illustrated in any way beyond ancient Roman, swear-injected fraternizing and the bonding through their bloodshed that’s become so commonplace in a marketplace dominated by the interests of the modern bro-dude’s Facebook page.

The film's Video-On-Demand offering - compatible with video game consoles Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 - illustrates pretty clearly the audience Marshall's film will be tapping into. Sure, some pumped up, avid gamers hooked on a role playing game like God of War would likely enjoy taking a break from their game-play to download it on their consoles and watch it re-enacted, and "Centurion" is a well made representation of its own cornered genre. It is lean, concise fare whose business is fetishizing brawny, overbearing male archetypes and their exploits, which mainly consist of pillaging, mutilation and total conquest. My question watching was, didn't we just get all that playing the game?

★★☆☆☆ (2.5/5)

Cast & Credits

Centurion Quintus Dias: Michael Fassbender
Commander Gratus: Andreas Wisniewski
Vortix: Dave Legendo
Aeron: Axelle Carolyn
General Titus Flavius Virilus: Dominic West
Etain: Olga Kurlenko

Magnet Releasing Presents a Film Written and Directed by Neil Marshall. Running time: 97 minutes. Rated R (For Sequences of Strong Bloody Violence, grisly images and language).

You can find this review, its supplemental materials, as well as other extensive film coverage at EInsiders.com.
Posted by Max Weinstein at 8:15 PM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:25 pm

http://www.monstersandcritics.com/movies/reviews/article_1582901.php/Centurion-%E2%80%93-Movie-Review

Centurion – Movie Review
CENTURION is set in Britain, A.D. 117. Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, 300) stars as Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, who marches north with General Virilus' legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the Earth and destroy their leader, Gorlacon.

By Ron Wilkinson Sep 7, 2010, 14:35 GMT

A pre-chainsaw extravaganza where the Romans talk like James Bond and the Picts have better military backgrounds than the American generals who invaded Afghanistan.

Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko team up for this roller coaster of brutish violence set in the first century AD in the desolate winter of the Scottish Highlands. “Centurion” follows on the heels of the much-ballyhooed “Robin Hood” ancient history action thriller by stealing the show from its higher budget predecessor.

Set in about 150 AD the story is about Romans fighting the ancient tribal Picts in the awesome, snow swept highlands of Northern Scotland.

Although the intent appears to be to make a film that was more explicitly brutal and more graphically terrifying than “Robin Hood” the result is much more than that. It is an honest, straightforward blood fest in the mold of the old Viking films.

There are the bashings and beheadings of the neo-“Braveheart” films and there is also a little Werner Herzog “Survival Dawn,” “Dances With Wolves” and the chase scenes of “Butch Cassidy” (“Who ARE those guys…”). With a little Monty Python for good measure.

This film is better than a bloody toothed banshee Texas chainsaw extravaganza. Special make up effects designer Paul Hyett found his dream job with limitless crushed heads, severed arms and spurting neck slashes.

The encyclopedia Britannica of arrow, spear and pike wounds. The PhD of punctures. He reported that they started off with about 200 liters of fake blood and used it up halfway through shooting. Once you get started with this kind of production it can be hard to back off.

If you saw Hyett’s work in another fantastic Neil Marshall film, “The Descent,” with the flesh eating slime monster and the hapless girls in the cave losing body parts one by one, you know where this team is coming from.

Unfortunately, by about half way through the film the special effects, costumes and make-up begin to wear thin. How much can one person do with hatchets? Even the ultra-stylized Pict she-warrior Etain (played to the hilt by Olga Kurylenko) starts to look like the same-old, same-old. Honey, do you have to smear that shade of gore on your cheeks all the time?

The chase has gone on too long with insufficient reason given for the survival of the wimpy Romans. They are obviously outmatched in every way by the Picts and have been running over the frozen mountains all but barefoot for a hundred miles.

Are we supposed to believe this? There has to be some reason given why the centurion gets away with it for as long as he does, but none is given. At that point, the film crosses over the line from semi-reality to comic book super-hero and the two genres do not mix.

If you are a sucker for action flicks, especially the ancient war/siege, axe and boiling oil flicks, you will like “Centurion.” By the end of the film it is coming off as almost a B movie but it still has that chutzpah to keep on slashing, bashing and burning.

I’m not sure that even the film makers are aware of the times the film drops off the edge of sadistic drama into the Monty Python zone (“You want to slit his throat? OK, we’ll flip for it…”). The film fades in the second half but is a great and entertaining romp, nonetheless. Not as well acted as, say, “Braveheart,” but much better, more unvarnished and visceral, than “Robin Hood.”

The eating of the caribou stomach contents should go down in history as one of the most memorable savage killer gross-outs on film. It is almost as good as the baby monster emerging from Kane’s chest in the original “Alien.” This is inspiring stuff, but for only the most august action-thriller aficionados.

Visit the movie database for more information.

Directed and Written by: Neil Marshall
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and Olga Kurylenko
Release: August 27, 2010
MPAA: Rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language
Runtime: 97 minutes
Country: UK
Language: English
Color: Color

3.5/5
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:25 pm

http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2010/08/review-centurion-another-bloody-yet.html

8/26/2010
Review: 'Centurion' Another Bloody, Yet Soulless Neil Marshall B-Movie

A repost of our review from the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year...

The SXSW Film Festival had been low on surprise screenings, but on Monday, March 15th, a lucky group of about a 150 people — including yours truly — got to see what turned out to be the world "secret" premiere of Neil Marshall's "Centurion"at the Alamo Drafthouse starring Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West (McNulty from "The Wire") and lovely, ginger-haired up and coming British actress, Imogen Poots. But some audiences — and those without a propensity for mayhem and wanton bloodthirstiness — weren't so lucky.

We'd love to know who dubbed Marshall the heir apparent/second coming of genre filmmaking and why. While he crashed onto the scene with the engaging, but still overrated monster horror film, "The Descent," (though he already had one feature under his belt that mostly went unnoticed, "Dog Soldiers"), "Doomsday" was pretty much vapid, if unapologetically dumb; an action/B-movie trash-all about beheadings, blood, gore and enthusiastic displays of violence made for man-children.

And while Marshall has obvious talent, we were hoping for the filmmaker to finally live up to his potential. His fourth feature film evinced that the director hasn't grown an iota other than being able to deliver a rock 'em sock 'em digital bloodbath (and obvious, easy to spot digital blood) that elicits cheers and hollering from easy to please male audiences.
Narratively facile, empty and essentially a story only in service of chase sequences with several scenes just driving towards action, to call "Centurion" a low-rent Ridley Scott is a bit of an insult to the man who made "Gladiator" and even the dull as nails "Kingdom of Heaven" (don't even talk about the extended version, please).

Employing weak, structurally band-aid like voiceover, distracting and overuse of anachronistic f-bombs, plus a who-cares melange of accents, "Centurion" is quick to dispense with story and get to what it perceives to be the good stuff: sword disemboweling, fisticuffs and arrows that zip through people's chests. Don't get us wrong, this stuff ain't bad, if you have a some kind of story to hang it on. The picture focuses on a splinter group of Roman soldiers (eventually led by Fassbender) who lose their General (West) and then fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is decimated in a devastating guerrilla attack which is led by a traitorous super solider named Etain (Kurylenko) who is a mute, wolf-like unstoppable warrior.

And while that leads us up to pretty much the end of the first act, the rest of the picture is essentially a ragtag motley crew of soldiers on the run as they are hunted down by Etain and her ruthless warriors one by one. Some emotional through-line is attempted to be shoehorned in via Imogen Poots' ostracized "witch" character who shelters Fassbender and two of his wounded men. A half-hearted, we-might-need-this-dramatic-touch-later romance begins to surface, but it feels so pointless and does nothing to help the story engine other than give the audience a reprieve from all the grunting, slaying and out-0f-breath sprinting.

While Marshall is a strong technical, action director (though the movie kind of looks like desaturated s$#! to be completely honest), he might want to consider second-unit work as the empty storyline just seems like an lame excuse for cool, genre-heavy swordplay and action without a ounce of depth, feeling or substance. Peter Jackson's "Lord Of The Rings" this is not. Not even close.

While genre fetishists will eat this picture up like a chocolate sundae, those that desire even the most basic story and half-baked compelling characters will likely feel completely undernourished. Fassbender is obviously a fantastic actor, but his presence cannot save this ill-conceived effort that is just soulless, shallow and disengaging. It's almost shocking how little effort is put into creating characters you might emotionally invest in even on a primal level.

Make no mistake about it either, while Warner Bros. had a hand in funding the picture, it's very telling that the infinitely smaller Magnet Films — the B-movie wing of Magnolia Pictures — is releasing the film. Warner might actually assist with the marketing at some point* (*ok, they didn't), but the niche films Magnet generally releases (and some of them quite good), demonstrate the limited appeal of what many thought was originally going to be a big, successful studio picture. And even Warner knows that a bloodfest with no story is not going to cut it.

If you'd like to see the intelligent and thoughtful version of this story, wait until next February to see Kevin MacDonald's "The Eagle," that should hopefully convey the same action thrills, but with a head, heart and soul. This is pretty much an empty picture unless you — like the Austinite named Harry Knowles said at the screening — get an "awesome" erection for pointless splatter. [D+].
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:56 am

http://chrisvogler.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/hail-centurion/

HAIL CENTURION
By chrisvogler

Since I’ll be in London in a few days I thought I’d see a right old British-made movie and caught a matinee of CENTURION, Neil Marshall’s film about a Roman legion that vanished in what is now Scotland. I enjoyed it on many levels. For one thing, it is quite similar to an idea I’ve been cooking for years, and I’ve gotten over my ego enough now that I wasn’t crushed to see someone else realize it. Eventually all my projects will get made by Other People Productions, and I am almost as happy about that as if I had produced them myself.

For another, they got it right on those things that matter to fans of (more or less) accurate historical and military subjects. The armor, weapons, and fortifications were all convincing enough, and the depictions of Roman camps and forts were particularly realistic-looking.

I was pleased that Marshall was content to tell his story without benefit of Jerry Bruckheimer-style over-the-top athletics, supernatural embellishments, and egregious special effects. Just good old-fashioned action. No one was flying through the air or doing impossible somersaults like in PRINCE OF PERSIA, and there were no fantastic, digital gimmicks like the skeletal pirates and monsters in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Nothing wrong with those elements in their places; it’s just refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t depend on them. To do a period piece “straight up” these days without the crutches of heavy CGI or fantastic elements is an act of courage. The female Pictish hunters who pursue the Romans so doggedly seem almost supernatural with their keen senses and quick reaction times, but it’s all quite believable and within the bounds of movie “reality”, whatever that is.

I took pleasure in watching good actors working and in seeing all the other arts of cinema being exercised by pros who should be working more. I want to live in a universe where more movies like this can get made and seen. CENTURION is getting art house distribution in the U.S. and it will be a long march through hostile economic territory before it makes back its reported budget of US$ 12 million. But it might get there, through the long tail of selling rights to DVD, cable, download, etc. It will make a good companion to my GLADIATOR DVD.

I liked the way Marshall “bookended” the story with identical statements made by the main character (Michael Fassbender’s eponymous hero, Centurion Quintus Dias) at beginning and end, to the effect that “This is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.” We first see Quintus running bare-chested through a frozen Highland landscape, being pursued by vengeful Picts. This is a flash-forward, tossing the audience some information from the middle of the story’s actual temporal order. It has the effect of putting us in immediate sympathy with the hero, a determined survivor, and in fear for his safety. Marshall is then able to reel back his story to a chronological beginning, when Quintus’ boss, General Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West) is sent north to put down unruly Pictish tribes. It was important and necessary, I think, to establish an emotional bond with Quintus in this flash-forward, or else the audience might easily be confused, perhaps thinking the movie is going to be about General Titus, a larger-than-life character played by a charismatic actor who eats up the screen in the early scenes.

At the end, Quintus has bested all his enemies and overcome every obstacle, and instead of rejoining the Roman army he returns to a now somewhat safer Scotland, falling exhausted from his horse into the arms of a Celtic maiden with a bit of intuition and healing power.

The line “This is neither the beginning nor the end of my story” is repeated, suggesting that this apparent happy ending may not go on happily ever after, and that in the mostly realistic world the movie presents, there may be other opponents and obstacles to face. And maybe a sequel.

One little thing amused me — the word “Okay” has now crept in as an acceptable expression in movies depicting long-ago times. Marshall used it a couple of times in short succession — once in subtitles translating a bit of Pictish dialogue, and then again a few seconds later in dialogue among the Roman characters. I guess “okay” is such a useful expression that it has become part of a standard English or international vocabulary, and no longer connotes a contemporary or American idiom. (The true origin and meaning of O.K. or okay is much disputed but it originated in the U.S. in the early 19th century and has a particularly Yankee ring to it.) In a movie like CENTURION it still jars my ear and distracts me, taking me out of the illusion that I am watching a story taking place in another time. It reminds me a bit too much of my own time, like seeing a jet plane cross the sky or noticing that a Roman soldier is using a mobile phone. I found it amusing because I had just chastised a writer for using “Okay” in a script that took place in the 4th century A.D. I accept that historical dialogue needs to be a bit contemporary so that characters don’t sound stilted, as if they were reading from an antique translation of the Bible. We want the characters to sound a bit like we do, but to my taste “Okay” is a bridge too far.

I also felt a small sense of impatience with the structure of the film, which seemed to have one or two extra loops or sequences. My sense of a satisfying structure called for the movie to end a bit sooner than it actually did, and I couldn’t quite figure out where the act breaks were falling. Several times I thought “Ah, this must be the end of Act Two, and now we will be accelerating towards the climax,” but found that these turning point events were actually marking smaller increments of the story, and the real end of Act Two was still to come, several scenes further along. It was a fairly complex story in which Marshall had to track different groups of the fugitive Romans who had gotten separated as they fled from their relentless Pictish pursuers, so that may have accounted for the structural intricacy.

It may not be a movie for everyone — my wife wouldn’t have enjoyed it because of the intensity (or honesty) with which violence is depicted. Almost every stroke of the sword or thrust of the spear is a lethal blow, with bodies transfixed and heads lopped in half or sawed off with some difficulty. But that’s how it was, folks!

The film delivered an extra treat for me because I followed my usual practice of sitting all the way through the end credits, something I learned to do in film school, out of respect for all the people who worked on the film. It’s also a good source of information about what skills were required to make the movie, what music was used, and where the movie was shot. In this case, the extra reward was one of the last lines in the credits, something like “Thanks to Walter Hill and Zenophon (sic) for all the inspiration.” I hadn’t consciously realized the Hill-Xenophon connection until then, but instantly recognized that Marshall was acknowledging his debt to two storytellers whose work had influenced and inspired his own. Walter Hill’s film THE WARRIORS (1979) about gangs in New York bears a plot similarity to CENTURION, in that both films describe the escape of a small band through hostile territory after the death of a charismatic leader. Hill’s film, a cult classic that has spawned a video game, a TV series, a comic book series and an upcoming Tony Scott remake, was based on a novel by Sol Yurick that was based in turn on an ancient work, the “Anabasis” of Xenophon, a Greek soldier in the service of Cyrus the Great of Persia. When Cyrus was assassinated, Xenophon and about 10,000 Greek mercenaries had to fight their back to Greek lands through thousands of miles of rough terrain, peopled by hostile tribes. The exploits of the gang members in THE WARRIORS, and of the Roman survivors of a massacre in CENTURION, mirror those of Xenophon’s companions in the Anabasis (“Up Country” or “The Journey Upcountry”).

All this goes to support my belief that there is treasure in the stories of the past, and that the classics can be mined again and again for contemporary stories, for science fiction, or in this case, to provide some plot points and inspiration for a story taking place in a different time period from the original source. I had an interesting discussion about that with a group of film writing students in New Zealand, at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. I talked about a chapter in my new book on how A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM is the lineal descendant of a pamphlet on character flaws written by a follower of Aristotle. I love to find examples of new stories based on old ones, and CENTURION is a good one.

CENTURION is also notable for being partially financed by the UKFC (United Kingdom Film Council), a funding body which supported many worthy films that might never have reached the screen otherwise. The world economic flinching has brought about some changes and I understand the UKFC has been cut back severely, which is a shame, because other CENTURIONS may now never get made or be seen.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:17 pm

http://www.montereyherald.com/entertainment/ci_16030080?source=rss

Body parts go flying in writer-director Neil Marshall's furious, fast-paced and funny 'Centurion'
By BETSY SHARKEY
Los Angeles Times
Posted: 09/09/2010 01:54:56 AM PDT

Dominic West as a Roman general in writer-director Neil Marshalls... (Courtesy of Magnet Releasing)

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 Ninth 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.GO!

'CENTURION'
·Featuring: Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West, David Morrissey, directd by Neil Marshall
·Where: Osio in Monterey
·Rating: R, for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language
·Running time: 1 hour, 37minutes
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:22 pm

http://republicofmovie.blogspot.com/2010/09/centurion.html

Thursday, September 9, 2010
Centurion
"Legio nona Hispana", or the Ninth Legion. The legion that once been commandeered by Julius Caesar, is the main subject of the 2010 British film, Centurion. Directed by Neil Marshall, who also directed the critically acclaimed horror, The Descent, it holds a great hope to be another great film coming from Britain land. Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, who should give us hope of solid performance.

Legio IX Hispana, a Roman legion which went missing in the 2nd century. And the main story of the movie is take place from one of the debatable mystery of the legion. Which is, they went missing in the land Britannia while marching to destroy the Picts rebels.

Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) is the second-in-command of the Roman frontier outpost in Britannia. One night, in a raid, the guerilla Picts slaughter all of the garrison, capturing Dias in the process. Meanwhile, the governing governor in Britannia, Agricola (Paul Freeman) sent an order to march the Ninth Legion, led by General Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West), to the northern frontier to seek and destroy the Picts. He also sent Etain (Olga Kurylenko) a mute Brigantes scout to accompanies them toward the Picts hideouts. Along the way, Dias who managed to escape his captors, cross path with the legion. He then agreed to lead them to the Picts. On the way, the legion got ambushed by the Picts, and almost the whole legion got massacred unless few lucky legionnaires. Knowing that their general is still alive and taken captive, the survivors continues their way north to save their general. And, the adventures of Quintus Dias and a small band of legionnaires begins.

With a solid historical background served as the main plot, the movie shown the brutality of the war in the North. How could the unorganized rebels takes on the might Roman Empire, how did they employ the hit and run tactics, is beautifully shown. And what am I saying with brutal, is really brutal. Head chopped off, throat slits, and many more.

Not forget to mention, the beautiful Scotlands, where the filming location taken, with their lush forest, cold mountain, well you can say it can par to the beautiful land of New Zealand in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

And finally, planned to be release in February 2011 is a film titled Eagle of the Ninth, another film based on the Legio IX Hispana, starring Channing Tatum, which also using the disappearance of the legion in northern part of England. Well, we'll see who managed to comes out as the winner, as both film served us exactly the same background.
Posted by Kukuh Dewantara at 7:25 AM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:38 pm

http://unilifemagazine.com.au/?p=1179

Review: Centurion
9 September 2010

Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

Award winning director Neil Marshall teams up with Michael Fassbender (300), Dominic West (300 also) and Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace, L’annulaire) to weave a controversial version of the history of the legendary Roman Empire’s Ninth Legion. Based in 117 AD, Centurion follows the premise that the Ninth was wiped out whilst on a military expedition to eradicate the Picts- a tribe native to northern Britain who brought the Roman invasion of the isles to a standstill with their ruthless guerrilla tactics. Following the gratuitous slaughter of the Roman force, a handful of survivors must struggle against the bitter Scottish winter to return home, whilst being hunted by deadly Pict warriors.

Ok, so maybe sandals aren’t so popular in the dead of a northern winter; but don’t worry, swords are certainly still in vogue.

Despite catch cries to the contrary, Centurion is not the next 300. Rather, it is something entirely different. Brutal and bloody to be sure, yet Centurion bears no allusions to traditional views of Rome or the ‘barbarians’. Instead, beyond our band of brave heroes, the rest of the Roman Empire is portrayed as an arrogant, ignorant and utterly incompetent bureaucratic menace. In contrast, the Picts are depicted respectfully, in spite of their savage outward appearance. Moreover, even though the audience is encouraged to root for the Roman soldiers, the overarching war is morally neutral at best. This adds an element of ethical conflict, as the Roman troops are certainly valiant and only desire to return home. However, after all their nation has done to the Picts, should we really be on their side? This kind of gray morality sets Centurion apart from the typical Good vs Evil Hollywood formula, and gives the film a darker, more realist tone.

Unlike too many historic pieces, Centurion actually portrays the ancient world quite well, despite the fictional plot. If any other history buffs out there are tired of seeing utter bastardizations of history and poor representations of the nations of antiquity, rest assured that Centurion succeeds where so many fail. For example, Centurion‘s centurions actually wear armour! That’s right, they don’t rely on their CG abs to deflect arrows whilst fighting in their underwear. Instead they make use of an archaic invention called body armour. Even better, the film is full of the overlapping plate armour and chain mail that was popular amongst Roman soldiers around 100AD, as well as other equipment relevant to that era of the Roman Empire. Sure, the film has a few historic oddities, but even the nerdiest of history buffs should be able to brush those aside and enjoy one of the best works of historic fiction in years.

Despite all this, Centurion‘s less stylised, more visceral portrayal of ancient warfare is by far the most striking feature of the film. In this simple fact lies Centurion’s greatest weakness, and greatest strength. The gore is fantastic, there is no doubt of that. Yet for a film that seems to beg audiences to take it seriously, there are far too many lethal groin injuries and other such outrageous deaths. In the first scene, the Romans are literally caught with their pants down, and pay for it with a few well aimed javelins. The warrior’s death clearly isn’t always dignified.

Furthermore, I cannot recall a recent film with anywhere near the amount of graphic decapitations that Centurion boasts. Those Picts would give even the Predator a run for his money. Yet all this hyperbolic, excessive gore, coupled with the average script leave Centurion feeling unbalanced. That cosy ‘brothers in arms’ comradeship just doesn’t shine through, despite the best efforts of such a decent cast. This downfall is partially due to Centurion walking a fine line between action flick and realistic historic fiction, but primarily the bland, uninspiring script is to blame. Rest assured that Fassbender and West put effort into their performances. Oh, it’s easy to see how hard they tried, despite those tedious lines of drawl. Kurylenko definitely drew the short straw, but at least as a mute Pict she was spared the above mentioned nightmarish dialogue.

Centurion has some dire flaws, but it’s saved by its action oriented momentum, stunning scenery and attention to historic detail. Overall, the film flows with kinetic beauty. The pace never lets up, and the film has a few amazing scenes to wow audiences. Blatantly unpretentious, Centurion has a lot to offer viewers willing to overlook a handful of underdeveloped elements.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:40 pm

http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/the-real-headbanging-deal/Content?oid=2837981

The Real Headbanging Deal
Centurion: It's Better than 300
by Andrew Wright
CENTURION Just like history, but a billion times cooler.

Centurion
dir. Neil Marshall
Opens Fri Sept 10

FOR A DIRECTOR with the best horror film of the past decade under his belt (The Descent), it's been hard to get a handle on Neil Marshall—what with his triumph being bookended by the slight-but-fun Dog Soldiers and, more recently, the fan-wank love letter to '80s B-movies Doomsday, an undisciplined mess of a film almost saved by sheer exuberance. (To lift a line from Pauline Kael, it was crap, but crap on a rocket-cycle.)

Happily, Marshall's latest, Centurion, manages to split the difference between his earlier films, resulting in a taut, suspenseful war film that can also go deliriously excessive when warranted. For anyone burned out on the quick-cut, overly stylized Bruckheimerization of modern action movies, this is the real headbanging deal.

Set during the early A.D. Roman conquest of Britain, Marshall's script follows a dwindling cadre of Roman soldiers (including Michael Fassbender and a scene-stealing Dominic West) struggling to get out from behind enemy lines while under constant siege from a rolling boil of ticked-off Picts, led by a mystical, mute female tracker with one helluva grudge. Wolves are involved.

On the surface, this saga of desperate men against impossible odds may resemble 300, but Marshall eschews that film's simonized, posturing stance in favor of a leaner genre sensibility: characterizations are quickly sketched but satisfying, the bad guys are given just enough depth to be scary, and you always have a sense of who happens to be firing arrows at whom. The squeamish may want to look elsewhere (the filmmaker tends to have an issue with eyeballs staying in their proper place), but if you're in the mood for a guilt-free rush, this is just the thing: an all-out action film that won't leave the viewer feeling ill used. Fans of Gonad Cinema, hark.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:54 pm

http://willdlee.blogspot.com/2010/09/centurion.html

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Centurion
Centurion - Dir. Neil Marshall (2010)

Neil Marshall is a genre director through and through. Marshall’s feature film debut was Dog Soldiers, which can best be described as Deliverance meets Platoon with werewolves. His next film was the claustrophobic spelunking horror flick, The Descent. But, Doomsday was probably Marshall’s most geektastic work, a post-apocalyptic action movie that paid homage to Mad Max, Escape From New York, and Excalibur. Marshall brings a trash cinema flavor to his version of the swords and sandals film.

Centurion is one of two recent projects inspired by the disappearance of the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army, beating Kevin Macdonald’s Eagle of the Ninth to the theaters. It is 117 AD and the Roman Empire has been mired for years in their attempts to conquer Britannia. The polished and disciplined Roman soldiers are no match for their supposedly backwater natives, the Picts. They have stymied every effort by the invading Roman forces with their knowledge of the rugged terrain and use of ruthless guerilla tactics.

Enter one Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), a brave Roman soldier and son of a gladiator. He is the sole survivor of a Pict assault on his outpost in what is now Scotland. Quintus manages to escape and comes across the Ninth Legion under the command of the awesomely named General Titus Virilus (Dominic West). The General has been tasked by an opportunistic senator to kill the Pict King Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen) and wipe out all opposing forces once and for all. However, the Legion is slaughtered and Gen. Virilus captured with only Quintus and a handful of comrades surviving the ambush.

After failing to rescue their commanding officer, Quintus and his ragtag band of legionnaires must brave harsh terrains and equally harsh weather in order to return home. They are dogged at every turn by a hunting party led by the animalistic Etain (Olga Kurylenko), an expert tracker and warrior goddess. Etain was raped as a child by Romans who also cut out her tongue and killed her whole family. She’s pretty pissed off about all that.

The Roman fugitives receive a brief respite when they come across the home of a beautiful village girl (Imogen Poots) who was banished by the Picts for witchcraft.

Centurion is hardly a nuanced picture with rich characters. Fassbender who was so excellent in Hunger and Inglourious Basterds isn’t called upon to do much than be the square jawed hero. Liam Cunningham essentially reprises his role from Clash of the Titans as the crotchety veteran. I couldn’t tell the rest of the fellows apart without double checking IMDB. One soldier is a cook from the Middle East, another is an African marathon runner. Unique traits not seen in similar films, yet they are hardly expanded upon.

Marshall draws obvious allusions to Vietnam and the conflicts in the Middle East, but any political pretenses are buried under a mountain of severed limbs and mutilated corpses. Body parts fly in every direction and skulls are crushed in an explosion of blood. It’s a pure testosterone driven film. Olga Kurylenko is sexy and fierce though too slight and petite to be a believable huntress. But, Marshall isn’t going for true historical accuracy.

Marshall dispenses with pseudo-Shakespearean dialogue and doesn’t feel the need to stretch out the runtime. It’s a welcome change of pace to bloated films like Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. Centurion is a quick and dirty version of the historical epic for action junkies.

Rating: **
Posted by William D. Lee at 11:08 PM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:00 pm

http://fatsodvd.blogspot.com/2010/09/in-cinemas-this-week_09.html

Thursday, September 9, 2010
In Cinemas This Week

Centurion - Neill Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday) returns with this big-budget epic looking story of the Roman conquest of Britian in the 2nd Century BC. Quintius Dias (Inglourious Basterds' Michael Fassbender) must lead a group of soldiers to rescue a general (Dominic West - The Wire) who has been held captive by a Pict tribe. The general is soon murdered however and the soldiers must run for their lives from the hellbent revenge filled leader of the Pict (Olga Kurylenko - Quantum of Solace). The trailer looks extremely trashy and the style looks like another over-the-top 300 clone, but this could be a cool popcorn action epic to see on Saturday night!
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