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Centurion Reviews 3

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:05 am

http://hudsonlives.blogspot.com/2011/01/centurion.html

Sunday, 23 January 2011
Centurion

(2010)

Dir: Neil Marshall

You have to hand it to Neil Marshall. He really has breathed some new life into the essentially crap British landscape. The fact that this is what I came out of the theatre thinking after seeing the director’s latest effort, his crimson-masked exploration into the ill-fated Ninth Legion’s ventures into Caledonia, isn’t a good sign.

Despite Marshall’s obvious skill at handling blood, guts and lots of rolling heads, which both the excellent Dog Soldiers and terrifying The Descent showcase, Centurion suffers from the ‘Haven’t we seen this all before?’ syndrome. It feels about a decade too late. When Ridley Scott’s Gladiator opened up the box-office doors for the Historical Epic once again, the likes of Troy, King Arthur and even Scott’s own Kingdom of Heaven neatly pulled up their robes, removes their sandals, and sauntered through.

Whilst it is not a bad thing that Centurion avoided such a splurge, it does mean that all originality has been drained from the genre like the blood of deer (watch the film). It looks like the opening scenes of Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven. Okay so far. Also a bit of King Arthur. Uh, oh dear. With a plot that is trying so hard to capture the breathless nature of such chase films as Michael Mann’s brilliant Last of the Mohicans’ and Mad Mel’s Apocalypto. Sadly, Centurion falls short of reaching the wild heights of either of these masterpieces.

It obviously lacks the Hollywood budget, but Marshall has still managed to assemble a formidable cast, including The Wire’s Dominic West, the saucy Olga Kurylenko, and one of the hottest actors around right now in Michael Fassbender. But it still falls into the trap of old Roman clichés, becoming a foul-mouthed, overlong and not very engaging episode of HBO’s Rome. With a villain right out of the Mohicans Magua playbook failing to match the chilly weather, and an oh so convenient romance, Centurion, whilst doing a stunning job as a tourist guide for Scotland, ends up stabbing itself in the foot.

** ¾ / *****

“The old spear in the eye.”
Posted by NewJak at 14:48
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:39 pm

http://bigozine2.com/feature/?p=521

SWORD AND SLAUGHTER
January 25, 2011 – 3:48 am

Whatever happened to Neil Marshall who managed to inject a strong dose of feminist subtext into his horror thriller, The Descent? His latest movie, Centurion, is on the verge of being so good it’s painful to see how close it managed to get, as Critic After Dark Noel Vera says, before missing the mark altogether.

A world power marches into the mountainous territory of a half-civilized people and quickly finds itself immersed in a quagmire of fierce fighting, guerrilla tactics, terror attacks (at one point a convoy is stopped, and flaming roadside devices are deployed). The world power is not the United States but the Rome Empire; the territory is not Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan but Scotland.

It is the time of Hadrian, and he is struggling to deal with the threat of the Picts, Celtish warriors who paint their faces a bright blue and who like to wield the throwing axe - an impressive weapon that can severe a limb or split open a skull, or with an additional swing fling itself as far as twenty feet to bury its bladed head in someone’s chest.

Unorthodox tactics to the Roman legionnaire, whose preferred weapon was the short sword (perfect for quick, precise work, not so suited to berserker fighting). There are ample examples of both styles of combat in Neil Marshall’s historical action thriller, Centurion, and it would be wonderful to report that he makes full use of the contrast, but no - there are some intricately choreographed fight sequences, rendered halfway (but only halfway) intelligible by the somewhat frenetic editing (Marshall is no Paul Greengrass, thankfully, but neither is he a Philip Noyce, alas).

The film is basically a long chase - a group of decimated Romans tries to rejoin the rest of the Roman army while a band of bloodthirsty Picts hunt them down. Too often the hunted back themselves into absurd situations (they adopt the strategy of not taking the obvious Southward route, only to find that the Picts are perfectly capable of tracking them down anyway; when trapped they resort to the Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid style of last-minute escape: leaping off a high cliff into a roaring river (doesn’t it ever occur to anyone that the water might be shallow?)).

There’s some inconsistency too: the Picts hunt hard and fast, and sometimes they feel as if they’re supernaturally prescient in tracking down their Roman prey, sometimes they seem to slack off and disappear for long periods of time (it depends, you feel, on the needs of the script or the whim of the director, when it shouldn’t - you should be too busy worrying about their chances for survival).

The finale is satisfyingly intricate - an abandoned Roman fort acts as setting for three different duels, happening at two different levels. The whole is too dependent, however, on precise editing to keep the fight sequences distinct and comprehensible (Marshall doesn’t deliver, alas). Not bad, but not quite first class, either.

The movie does dwell on more realpolitik than is usual for action movies. The survivors are led by a centurion named Dias (Michael Fassbender) and he’s not your usual gung-ho, do-or-die military officer - though he does decide to run for miles and miles and risk the lives of four or five surviving soldiers to save a Roman general.

Dias has his thoughtful side, as when he says “It’s easy to turn to the gods for salvation… but it’s soldiers who do the fighting, and soldiers who do the dying, and the gods never get their feet wet.” He confronts Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a mighty Pictish warrior-woman who wields a spear that might have come out of Liu Chia-liang’s Legendary Weapons of China - Etain is a fearsome opponent and a relentless, bloodthirsty killer, but she has reasons: her family was massacred when she was a child and she herself raped, her tongue cut out to ensure her silence.

The good guys have their doubts, the bad guys their motivation; the grounds for opposition shift ever so slightly this way and that. When Dias meets Arianne (Imogen Poot, a much more gorgeous-looking actress than the name might suggest) - exile, healer, reputed sorceress - he finds plenty of reason to at least settle down, if not change allegiance; when he finally accomplishes his mission - when he in effect reaches safe haven - his very presence as survivor of a Pictish massacre is a potential embarrassment to the Roman military.

Marshall does a swell job of muddying up simplistic action-movie waters (he did an equally fine job of injecting feminist subtext into his underseen horror thriller The Descent), it’s a pity he didn’t do more with this, substantiate the characters rather than the choreography, concentrate on the machinations rather than the manslaughter (you saw this unexploited potential in The Descent as well).

The movie is on the verge of being so good it’s painful to see how close it managed to get before missing the mark altogether; you want to handcuff Marshall down in front of a desktop and threaten to withhold the key till he comes up with a really good, really thought-through script - concept pushed as far as it can go - this time around. One waits, with some interest, for his next work.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:20 pm

http://entertainmentwithziggy.blogspot.com/2011/01/centurion-1-20-11.html

CENTURION (1-20-11)
Centurion (2010) - **

Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) leads a small group of Roman soldiers running for their lives behind enemy lines. Director Neil Marshall (The Descent) directs this very bloody and very violent historical adventure depicting the disappearance of the Ninth Legion in 117 AD. The film is entertaining enough but this doesn't make up for poor writing. Most of the characters are so characterless that when they are savagely killed (as almost everyone is), not only do you not care, you aren't always 100% sure who they were. A love interest is introduced, no one cares. Decent production values and a solid cast (including Dominic West of The Wire) keep this movie afloat.
Posted by PeteDogg1979
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:15 pm

http://houglyreviews.blogspot.com/2011/01/double-feature-review-valhalla-rising.html?zx=14c9677601ce228a

Monday, January 24, 2011
Double Feature Review: Valhalla Rising and Centurion.
This is the first in a new feature on my blog. With each installment I'll pair together and review two films that I think work really well as a double feature. Much like my DVD Spotlight feature, it should be assumed that both films are already recommended as being worth renting at the very least. Disagree/agree with my reviews and my pairing? Feel free to comment!

Centurion (2010)
Starring: Michael Fassbender; Dominic West; Olga Kurylenko; Riz Ahmed; Noel Clarke; Imogen Poots; Liam Cunningham; JJ Feild; Dimitri Leonidas; David Morrissey; Ulrich Thomsen; Dave Legeno; Axelle Carolyn; Paul Freeman; Rachael Stirling.
Directed by: Neil Marshall.
Colour/97 Minutes/R

Centurion takes place in Roman-occupied Britain in 177 A.D. The conflict between the Roman Empire and the painted Celtic tribals known as Picts in the Scottish Highlands has been ground to a halt. The king of the Picts, Gorlacon, has employed guerrilla tactics to hold off the Romans and demoralize them. The Ninth Legion under General Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West), along with the help of the female scout Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a mute warrior from another tribe, is tasked with striking at the heart of the Pict forces, hopefully killing Gorlacon and breaking them for good. However, Etain turns on them and almost everyone in the Legion is slaughtered in an ambush; Titus Flavius Virilus is captured. Now only a small group of survivors, led by Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), find themselves on the run, being chased even deeper into Pict territory in hopes of being able to double back and escape to the Roman border.

Centurion is a typically well-made and good-looking Neil Marshall flick. At its heart it's a tense little chase picture, akin to 2006's Apocalypto, that uses the legend of the "lost" Ninth Legion as a framework. The Roman survivors are a mixed group from all over the vast empire, who are not so much unified by their duty as they are getting out of Britain alive. The Picts are relentless, bent on blood revenge, especially after a failed attempt to rescue Titus Flavius Virilus ends with the death of Gorlacon's son. I found myself comparing these soldiers and this conflict as a historic counterpart to Vietnam and the more recent wars in the Middle East. Both sides have committed horrible acts in this war. The Romans imperialistic brutality has forced the Picts to be even more brutal in return. The Roman Soldiers are burnt-out and want to go home -- a home they may not be welcome in any longer, as public opinion has soured.

The acting is solid, but the film does lack depth as far the various characters are concerned. Also, some of the plot points are fairly predictable, especially Etain turning on the Romans, and the love interest angle between Fassbender and Imogen Poots' characters. Still, the picture is focused on action and there it succeeds quite well. The well-done battle scenes, highlighted by the impressive initial ambush by the Picts on the Ninth Legion, are worth the rental alone, even if the dramatic depth is cookie-cutter.
Posted by Lee Russell at 8:49 AM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:02 am

http://www.blackgate.com/2011/01/25/centurion-how-many-times-can-i-use-%E2%80%9Cbrutal%E2%80%9D-in-a-review/

Centurion: How Many Times Can I Use “Brutal” in a Review?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 | Posted by Ryan Harvey

2852-FINAL_CENTURION 70x100op 50 %.inddCenturion (2010)
Directed by Neil Marshall. Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko.

If you did not see Centurion during its U.S. theatrical release, that’s probably because you blinked. The British film ran in only a small number of theaters in August on limited engagements, with a simultaneous release on Video on Demand. It played at the Nuart Theater a few miles from my home for a week, and I was unable to get to it. I regretted it at the time because the trailers got my thrill glands pumping: a bloody historical action movie starring a Roman legion. Now that is my kind of fun! I also had faith in director Neill Marshall; I had enjoyed all of his previous movies, and they more than proved that he could handle violent mayhem.

Now that Centurion is on DVD and Blu-Ray, I’ve been able to see what Mr. Marhsall did with the murky historical legend of the Ninth Legion: he made a bloody historical action movie out of it.

Centurion is as straightforward as they come, something the director admits: “It’s not meant to be historically perfect. I’m picking up on a legend and exploring it . . . it’s an action thriller.” The Ninth Legion, which supposedly vanished on an expedition to Scotland in the second century, serves as a springboard for Marhsall to return to the territory of “soldiers-behind-the-lines” from his first movie, the werewolf thriller Dog Soldiers, and sprinkle it with Xenophon’s Anabasis and various World War II movies featuring tough guys doing what has to be done. It is a stripped-to-the-bone bloodletting, filled with decapitations, throat-slittings, head-crushings, and any other mutilation you care to mention.

Not every movie needs deep psychological character explorations or nuanced drama. Centurion knows what it wants, runs after it, and spikes it gorily to the ground. If you think you might enjoy this film, then you will enjoy it — Marhsall delivers the goods as promised.

The first moment of bloodshed in Centurion is an impalement to the crotch. This establishes the tone succinctly. Marhsall then hurls viewers onto the northern frontier of the Roman Empire during the reign of Hadrian, where the legions are engaged in brush warfare with the Scottish Picts.

Lead hero and voice-over narrator Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) survives a savage Pictish attack on his outpost and runs into the wilderness. To the south, Governor Agricola (Raiders of the Lost Ark villain Paul Freeman) orders the Ninth Legion to strike at the Pictish forces under their chieftain, Gorlacon, and annihilate them. The legion marches out under the command of steely General Titus Flavius (Dominic West, who looks more like a Roman soldier than any actor I have ever seen) and with the aid of mute Pictish tracker, Etain (Olga Kurylenko).

centurion-2010-posterThe fleeing Quintus runs into the Ninth Legion on their way north and joins them just in time for Etain to betray them to a brutal ambush. The Picts kill everyone except for General Flavius, who ends up a prisoner of Gorlacon, and seven men who gather under Quintus’s leadership to survive.

At this point, the story has all the set-up necessary to go the rest of the distance: Marhsall merely has to point the characters in the general direction of “rescue the general” and “get back home” and scream go! As the band of men from across the empire thrash through the roughest countryside imaginable, they manage to find a way to enrage Gorlacon even more, and he swears a blood-oath to kill them all. And as gorily as possible.

As a director, Neil Marhsall’s biggest strength is his energy and willingness to go for guts and glory without holding back. The carnage in Centurion reaches insane levels, with every imaginable way of hacking apart the human anatomy used at some point in the narrative. The violence is done with so much creativity that I have to wonder about the creative meetings involving the practical effects crew. (“Now, if he holds the spears and thrusts it through his own chest, back through the man behind him, what kind of appliances and squibs will we need?”) However, Marshall manages to pile all this bloody action into the film and not make it seem campy or funny, something that over-the-top violence can easily do. If a viewer starts making “Only a flesh wound!” jokes during scenes of carnage, the filmmaker has failed with making the mayhem convincing. At no point during Centurion did I feel like making a Monty Python joke. In fact, I just thought of the comparison right now. Bravo, Mr. Marshall.

The action is so constant that it often to blurs together in the mid-section. But for the finale, the filmmakers orchestrate a close-combat hack-n-slash festival that is damned spectacular. Just when you think the film has no more guts left to show, Marshall goes to the brink. It’s gorgeous. I’m probably a sick man for saying so.

centurion-etainWhen a film has only a small space for characterization, superb actors are a must, and Centurion comes equipped with a stellar Brit cast. The seven men fighting through the enemy lines have only a short time to establish who they are aside from shouted names, but each manages to make his part stand out. Most memorable of the ensemble is David Morrissey as the veteran soldier Bothos, who embodies strength and loyalty with a hint of an aging man’s regrets. Michael Fassbender is a solid lead, a believable soldier who simply happens to be a bit less colorful than the fellows around him. In the movie’s sole quiet interlude, Imogen Poots appears as a Pictish woman outcast from her own people who befriends the soldiers; she gives the right balance of sentimentality and softness to leaven to the military action.

However, the role to remember is Etain, one the most awesome warrior-women I’ve ever seen on screen. Created something like a James Bond villain henchman with her trademark weapons and complete lack of dialogue, the character is the ultimate Pictish battle engine. Olga Kurylenko, who was dull as the lead Bond Girl in Quantum of Solace, is a keg of black powder here, and reason enough for any sword-and-sorcery fan to check out the movie. (But seriously, didn’t I have you sold at “crotch impalement”?)

I have little else to say about Centurion. As I mentioned earlier, the movie has an iron clad contract with people who think they might enjoy it: it provides the goods promised on time and as described. Is it a great movie? If stacked against many other action movies of the last years, which promise adrenaline rushes and instead turn into cures for insomnia, then Centurion is a great movie. It’s the finest movie that Neil Marshall has made, a summation of all his interests and talents, and for fans of blood-and-thunder it is a dream production.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:37 am

http://realmofryan.blogspot.com/2011/01/movie-review-centurion.html

24 January 2011
Movie review: Centurion
Centurion (2010)
Directed by Neil Marshall. Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko.

If you did not see Centurion during its U.S. theatrical release, that’s probably because you blinked. The British film ran in only a small number of theaters in August on limited engagements, with a simultaneous release on Video on Demand. It played at the Nuart Theater a few miles from my home for a week, and I was unable to get to it. I regretted it at the time because the trailers got my thrill glands pumping: a bloody historical action movie starring a Roman legion. Now that is my kind of fun! I also had faith in director Neill Marshall; I had enjoyed all of his previous movies, and they more than proved that he could handle violent mayhem.

Now that Centurion is on DVD and Blu-Ray, I’ve been able to see what Mr. Marhsall did with the murky historical legend of the Ninth Legion: he made a bloody historical action movie out of it.

Centurion is as straightforward as they come, something the director admits: “It's not meant to be historically perfect. I'm picking up on a legend and exploring it . . . it’s an action thriller.” The Ninth Legion, which supposedly vanished on an expedition to Scotland in the second century, serves as a springboard for Marhsall to return to the territory of “soldiers-behind-the-lines” from his first movie, the werewolf thriller Dog Soldiers, and sprinkle it with Xenophon’s Anabasis and various World War II movies featuring tough guys doing what has to be done. It is a stripped-to-the-bone bloodletting, filled with decapitations, throat-slittings, head-crushings, and any other mutilation you care to mention.

Not every movie needs deep psychological character explorations or nuanced drama. Centurion knows what it wants, runs after it, and spikes it gorily to the ground. If you think you might enjoy this film, then you will enjoy it—Marhsall delivers the goods as promised.

Read the rest of the review at Black Gate.
Posted by Ryan Harvey on Monday, January 24, 2011
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:16 am

http://commentarytrack.com/2011/02/05/movie-review-centurion-2010/

Movie Review – Centurion (2010)
Posted on February 5, 2011 by commentarytrack
by HELEN GEIB

The “lost Ninth” has fired imaginations for centuries. Legion IX Hispana was a Roman legion (an infantry unit of several thousand men) stationed in Britain after the successful Claudian invasion of 43 AD. The legion is known to have constructed a fortress at what became York, a city in northern England, around 70 AD. Geographically speaking, York is not far south of the northern limit of Roman conquest of the island, symbolized- although not literally defined- by Hadrian’s Wall. Legend plausibly places the Ninth at the outermost frontier of the Roman Empire, in the area that would become the borderlands between England and Scotland, and was then Pictland.

The legion disappears from the historical record after c. 117 AD, which gave rise to the long-held supposition that the Ninth was destroyed in battle with the Picts or other Celtic tribal enemies of Rome. Competing scholarship holds that the Ninth was transferred out of Britain and lost in battle somewhere in the Eastern empire, but all that is known with certainty is that the legion was no longer around to be included in a list of legions compiled some 50 years after its likely destruction somewhere. Barring the unlikely discovery of a dispositive stone inscription, scholars and artists alike may continue to allow their creativity to be stoked by the mythos of a great Roman legion defeated in battle by blue-faced Pictish warriors in the cold, dark forests of Scotland. After all, the Picts never were conquered by Rome.

The British film Centurion posits a small band of survivors trying to make it back to Roman lines through hostile country and pursued by vengeful Picts. Their de facto leader is Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender). Sole survivor of a massacre at his remote frontier outpost, he escaped his Pict captors just in time to join up with the main expeditionary force before it was slaughtered in turn. The Pict pursuers are led by master tracker Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a brutalized refugee from a southern Celtic tribe. She is driven by a pathological need to kill Romans in return for their massacre of her own people. Near the end of the journey, Quintus and what’s left of his little band encounter Arianne (Imogen Poots), a young Pict woman who risks her life to help them; it is her return to her tribe for being exiled under the false accusation of witchcraft.

Centurion is the fourth feature film by writer-director Neil Marshall, who made his reputation with the low-budget, stylish horror films Dog Soldiers and The Descent. On the face of it, the historical adventure Centurion is a considerable departure. In fact, however, it shares a familiar plot with its predecessors: a small group riven by internal dissension is stranded in a forbidding natural landscape and picked off one by one as it struggles to make it back to the safety of civilization. The film also has strongly horrific elements like the seemingly unstoppable, bloodthirsty, mute Etain, a literally man-made monster whose tongue was cut off by rapacious Roman soldiers.

Since the horrors of the conquest-occupation are heavily stressed, one might ask why the film has a Roman hero and invites us to sympathize with its behind-enemy-lines Roman soldiers instead of with its local resistance fighters. The ultimate answer is almost certainly the simplest, namely that the formula requires us to be “with” the pursued, not the pursuers. But there’s also a host of extra-formula reasons why we shouldn’t be surprised by the identification with the legionnaires.

For one thing, even if we’re rooting for the Picts during the big battle, once the outcome is determined our sympathies naturally switch to the beleaguered survivors. At least, they do when the survivors are grunts who only want to get home and would just as soon give the whole stinking island back to the natives anyway, and when the victors hunt down the losers like animals for the pleasure of hacking their bodies to pieces. There’s also the fact that while the Celts are a mysterious, unknowable people, we know those old Romans well (from history, from cultural continuity, from movies and TV). We understand their thinking and we like the proto-multiculturalism of Roman society, represented in the movie by Quintus and his multi-ethnic band, who collectively hail from all over the empire and even- quite unnecessarily, given the scope of the real thing- beyond its borders. And last but hardly least is the enduring fascination of the lost legion. If the narrative focus was on the Picts, the movie would have no excuse to offer its surprisingly credible conspiracy theory for the Ninth’s disappearance from official history.

Although the Roman-era Britain backdrop can’t disguise the fact the film is highly formulaic, it does provide a marvelous setting for the survival-adventure story. This is one fine-looking movie as the camera tracks Quintus and the others through a series of beautiful, if often forbidding Scottish/northern English landscapes. Quintus’s strong sense of duty- he desperately wants to lead these men to safety- and Etain and Arianne’s pain give the thrill-ride unexpected emotional heft. Finally, the film is well cast with actors who are up to the challenge of imbuing types with personalities.

3 stars

**********

Possibly Related Posts: (Commentary Track generated)

The Last Legion merged the “lost Ninth” with the legions serving in Britain at the time of the fall of the western empire for a fanciful pre-Arthurian tale. Like Centurion, The Eagle (coming soon) returns to c. 117 AD for its story of a quest to recover the legion’s standard from hostile Pictish territory.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:18 pm

http://www.ancient-warfare.com/cms/magazine/david-reinke/297-hollywood-romans.html

The Ninth Legion Lost In Tinsel Town

Centurion (2010)

97 minutes

Written & Directed by: Neil Marshall

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, and Olga Kurylenko

For some time now I have avoided writing a review of this film even though I have watched it several times on Blu-ray DVD. Here in Los Angles, “Film Capital of the World.” the film played for only two weeks and at only two theatres – not a good sign. However, with the imminent release of The Eagle (nee Eagle Of The Ninth) and the Studio PR machine now fully engaged in turning out almost daily behind the scenes tidbits or breathlessly exciting video clips from the film, it seems appropriate to say at least a few words about Neil Marshall’s film Centurion before we are buried under the hype of The Eagle.

Originally both Centurion and The Eagle were to be released in 2010, but Focus Features delayed the release of the latter, apparently not wishing to compete head-to-head with Centurion. It is of course quite common for several studios to be working on films of a similar nature or story line. The summer James Cameron released his underwater adventure, The Abyss, audiences were also treated to Leviathan and Deep Star Six. Likewise, when Oliver Stone began work on his Alexander film, rival studios, believing the market would not support three films about Alexander, shelved two other similar projects, one by Martin Scorsese and the other by Baz Luhrmann. In the case of The Eagle and Centurion, I doubt they needed to worry for the two films bear little in common other than mining the myth of the Ninth Legion’s disappearance.

In fact, there is little about Centurion that makes the story in any particular way about ancient Rome. It could just as well be a film about Hideyoshi’s 16th century invasion of Korea with a group of samurai cut off behind Chinese lines struggling to get home. Or it might just as well deal with a group of Clone Troopers cut off behind Separatists lines trying to get home. Indeed, it has been suggested by several members of the Roman Army Talk Forum that Centurion bears more than a passing resemblance to the 1992 Michael Mann film, The Last Of The Mohicans. At that time Mann went to great lengths to point out that his film was not based upon the 1826 James Fennimore Cooper novel, but rather upon the screenplay to the 1936 film. In a similar vein, Centurion is not based upon the YA novel by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle Of The Ninth, or even upon the actual history of the Ninth Legion Hispania, but seemingly upon Hollywood action films in general and the “chase” film in particular.

Working with a relatively small budget (reportedly $12 million) director Marshall has gotten full value from every dollar. He engaged Roman re-enactors, several of them members of the Roman Army Talk Forum, to fill out the ranks of the Ninth Legion so that the general look of the Romans is better than one might expect from a low budget film. Even so, Marshall misses small details that detract from the whole, and that whole fails to convey in any real sense, the power of the Roman legions.

The shame is that so many of these details are so easily corrected and usually at no additional cost.

The Roman legionaries all wear bracers. (This holds true for The Eagle as well.) It has been said that this costuming conceit was devised to hide anachronistic tan lines left by wristwatches. However, in this age of cell phones few people bother to wear wristwatches anymore and for those who do there are digital effects that can erase tan lines or tattoos with ease.

The Ninth Legion seems to have but two officers: the General and his favorite Centurion, presumably the Primus Pilus. Even if the legion was under strength when it marched north, where are the other 59 centurions, the Tribunes, the Praefectus Castrorum, the Optios, the Signifers, etc.?

Although there is much time spent informing us that the Ninth is an elite, battle hardened legion, and although their base camp does seems to be laid out in standard Roman fashion, the Legion’s marching camps look more like a weekend family outing to the nearby woods. There is seemingly no organization whatsoever to the camps. Professional bravado is one thing; arrogant hubris is something else entirely. Perhaps it was Marshall’s intent to show that discipline was lax in the Ninth, or that their disdain for their enemy was so great they had no need for “moat and stockade” and that is why they were so easily overcome by the Picts. At least one would like to think the director is being that subtle in his storytelling.

In his recent book, Antony And Cleopatra, Adrian Goldsworthy mentions that suicide was quite popular among the aristocracy during the Late Republic and Early Principate. Perhaps that attitude had changed in the intervening 100 years and yet one would think that when the soldiers cannot free their general, now a shackled captive in the enemy camp, he would order them to slay him that he might die with some honor and thus deprive the Picts the pleasure of executing him. Of course that would deprive the audience of another bloody evisceration and yet another reason to hate the traitorous Etain, the Pict scout.



The character of Etan, and for that matter of the other female warriors, raises the question of authenticity. Would the Picts have allowed their women to fight? Of course we have the famous example of Boudicca, but as queen of the Iceni she may have been the exception rather than the rule. In reading the Sutcliff novel, it is made clear that there is a distinct and rigid separation between men and women in what they may or may not do. Marshall has always favored strong females, hero or villain, and he choreographs several exciting fights for Etan. However, her character is more akin to that of the Leader of the Warriors in the 1966 film, The Naked Prey, than it is to any historical Pict. Etan’s treachery is, of course, central to the film’s plot and while a male character, like that of Magua played by Wes Sudi in Last Of The Mohicans, would make more sense historically, having a female character is more modern, more exciting and therefore more bankable at the box office.

While the armor generally looks good – legionaries in segmented plate, centurions in mail – the General wears both plate and muscled cuirass. It has already been established that the character of the general likes to fraternize with his soldiers so by wearing armor similar to theirs, and not wearing the linen sash around the cuirass, commonly worn by senior officers, he reinforces his solidarity with his troops. Or the costume department simply forgot this detail of rank.

It should also be noted that the hero of the film, Centurion Quintus Dias, is the son of a gladiator who won his freedom and trained his son in the art of close combat. Thus is Goldsworthy’s Hollywood Dictum upheld, to wit: Every movie about ancient Rome includes a gladiator or two, even if the story is not about gladiators.

Generally speaking the acting is good, with the characters of the legionaries more fully developed, while those of the Picts fall generally into the category of Standard Hollywood Barbarian, and are rather unconvincing at that. Likewise the scenes with Agricola, particularly at the end with his wife and officers in attendance, do not really work and make little sense historically or dramatically other than to get our hero north of Hadrian’s Wall once again. I do not hold this against the actors for they acquit themselves well enough given the material they had to work with.

For his last film, Doomsday, Marshall borrowed from several well-known action films. If one watched closely, though not too closely, you could see it as Road Warrior meets 28 Days Later meets Timeline meets Damnation Alley meets Resident Evil or Aeon Flux if you prefer. There is nothing wrong with this and in fact I actually rather enjoyed Doomsday, as a guilty pleasure, the cannibalism not with standing

However, the failure of Doomsday to make back its production budget (reported $30 million) let alone make a profit, has seemingly forced Marshall back to his indie film roots where he first made his name with Dog Soldiers and The Descent. As with his other films, Marshall uses a limited pallet of subdued colors and minimal lighting to achieve that “gritty” look that Hollywood has embraced as the “new realism” and while this approach has served Marshall well enough on his previous projects, this is his first “historical” film and the virtues of the intimate action thriller work against him here – the lack of scope in dealing with the Ninth Legion is both noticed and missed.

What we have yet to see from Hollywood, with the notable exception of Kubrick’s battle scenes in Spartacus, is a film that displays the full might and majesty of the Roman legion in the field. Given what Hollywood has shown us so far, one can only wonder how the Romans ever managed to acquire or maintain an empire at all, let alone an empire that lasted longer than any other in history.

Having said all of this, one might surmise that I did not like Centurion, but in fact I did enjoy it, such as it is. I will admit that I would have enjoyed the film more had the centurion been Captain Rex fighting behind enemy lines in the Clone Wars. That film might actually have been historically accurate too.

For the story of what really happened to the Roman Ninth Legion see Duncan B Campbell's excellent article, "The Fate Of The Ninth", in Ancient Warfare Magazine Vol. IV Issue 5.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:28 am

http://www.housesmovies.com/?p=402

More Bloody Saturday Nights
by admin on February 10, 2011

I watched some other ‘fun’ Saturday night movies in January. “Centurion” is an action movie filled with blood. Michael Fassbender is Centurion Quintus Dias, a Roman soldier in Britain A.D.117. The sole survivor of a Pict raid on a Roman fortress, he is sent north with the legendary Ninth Legion to seek revenge and kill Gorlacon, the Pict leader. They have a mute (she has had her tongue cut out of her mouth) female Pict to guide them. Olga Kirylenko is great in this role, and when the Romans are ambushed by the Picts we get to see that she is a warrior equal to any of the men. The Picts are well organized and their ambush is devastating. A handful of soldiers are left in the cold and snow, behind enemy lines, uncertain whether to carry on or run for home. The movie features some very realistic hand-to-hand fighting. It is bloody, brutal, and gory; heads are crushed, limbs hacked off; there are spearings, disembowellings and beheadings. This is not for those with a weak stomach, but it is an interesting look at what these times might have been like. I loved the scenery, much of it shot in the Scottish highlands and snow covered mountains.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:38 am

http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/features/your-alternate-box-office-just-gnome-with-it.php

CENTURION (2010)

Watch Instead Of: The Eagle

The Pitch: Why watch a bland movie about one guy and his slave searching for a hunk of metal (even one that is Rome), when you can watch the not-as-bland-but-still-only-slightly-better-than-good movie about the Ninth that lost the piece of metal in the first place? Michael Fassbender leads the expedition into Celt territory here and the result may not have a lot of character, but it has a lot of violence. Plus, if you want to shoot for better than good, Spartacus is always hanging around ready to be watched again.

How to See It: Watch Instantly
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:46 am

http://limchangmoh.blogspot.com/2011/02/centurion-sword-and-sandal-thriller.html

Saturday, February 12, 2011
CENTURION - A Blood & Gore Fest

CENTURION (sword-and-sandal thriller)
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, Imogen Poots, Axelle Carolyn, Riz Ahmed, Dave Legeno and Ulrich Thomsen
Director: Neil Marshall
Screenplay: Neil Marshall
Time: 97 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Michael Fassbender (right) fleeing the Picts in CENTURION

PREAMBLE: Centurion had a limited release in the US in August 2010 - and performed dismally at the US B-O, grossing less than US$1 million. Elsewhere, it did better and I can only guess that its excessive violence and gore has something to do with it.

Indeed, the movie is not for the squeamish. Director Neil Marshall seems to take pleasure in splashing blood, guts and limbs all over the screen in this 'flight epic' of a movie. It's level of graphic violence is like that of TV series Spartacus: Blood And Sand - sans the sex and nudity.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: Set in AD117, Centurion is Marshall's rendition of the fate of Rome's Ninth Legion which supposedly 'vanished' after being sent to conquer the Picts of Scotland. However, the title character is Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), who, at the start of the movie, manages to escape from a tribe of Picts and join the Ninth led by the lusty General Virilus (Dominic West of TV's The Wire).

As luck would have it, Virilus is ordered by the Governor to march against the Picts - aided by a female Pict scout and guide named Etain (Olga Kurylenko, pic, right). However, Virilus and his men are not prepared for the treachery and betrayal that lie ahead - and the hunters soon become the hunted, chased relentlessly by the Picts all over the mountains of scenic Scotland.

HITS & MISSES: Marshall keeps the pace so fast (and bloody) that there is little time for character development, especially of the secondary roles which seem interesting. The only time the pace slackens a bit is when the fugitive Romans arrive at the home of the witch Arianne (Imogen Poots, pictured left) and a love story almost develops. This quasi-romance, which would have provided a softer approach and please female audiences, is quickly abandoned in the third act.

Still, the cast, led by Fassbender, are solid. Fassbender has us rooting for him throughout, while West seems to wallow in the brawler role with lines like, "When are they going to learn not to f**k with the Ninth?". Bond star Kurylenko plays a mute here but her vixen-like Etiane is suitable enigmatic and energetic, especially with her trademark spear. Poots' Arianne, perhaps, is the role that has the most potential but it is squandered by Marshall.

Technically, the movie is top class and the photography, especially of the Scottish landscape, is breathtaking and idyllic.

THE LOWDOWN: For fans of Spartacus and Rome series, and those who don't mind blood and guts splashed the screen.

posted by Lim Chang Moh @ 12:16 AM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:45 am

http://www.ibrnews.com/?p=418

CENTURION
February 10, 2011
By Eric Hargrove

CENTURION (2010)

Running Time: 97 mins. Rating: 3 Stars/5 Stars

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Neil Marshall

Genre: Action/Adventure/Drama

Country: UK

Language: English

Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrissey, Noel Clarke, Axelle Carolyn, Ulrich Thomsen, Liam Cunningham, Imogen Poots, Paul Freeman

CENTURION is the next step in the revival of the classic Roman Gladiator films of the 50’s & 60’s. Roman soldiers versus Britain’s Northern Pict Warriors in a deadly game of loyalty, bitter survival and sweet revenge.

Centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) and his men are the few survivors of the massacred 9th Legion in Britain. Instead of fleeing to safety they undertake a daring mission to rescue their captured General Titus Flavius Virilus (Dominic West) from the fierce Pict Warriors’ village.

During this incursion the son of the Chieftain Gorlacon is killed. Enraged the Chieftain sends out his deadly group of hunter warriors led by the beautiful yet cunning feral mute Etain (Olga Kurylenko) who is driven by revenge against all Romans for what they did to her.

This movie a real treat in that it has a nice balance of entertaining action sequences but tempered with strong character development and dialog. We get a real sense of what it would be like to struggle for survival against such over whelming odds.

If you like this recommendations: The Eagle aka The Eagle Of The Ninth, Agora
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:34 am

http://moncler-vest.blogspot.com/2011/02/film-review-centurion.html

Sunday, 13 February 2011
Film Review: Centurion
I astonished Centurion wasn produced getting a miniseries. founded in 117 A.D. as Roman soldiers make an effort to overthrow the Picts in northern Britain, Neil Marshall film tells what could have been an 8-hour account in just over 90 minutes. right after fast introductions in the direction of moncler sale, a shock ambush from the Picts leaves almost every solo and every Roman soldier dead. 7 control to escape ?one of whom is our narrator, a Centurion named Quintus (Michael Fassbender). right after an make an effort to help save their captured standard Titus (Dominic West) goes wrong, the grownup males devote the remainder belonging in the direction of film getting pursued the relentless Picts, who are led with a mute female warrior, Etain, who is searching for revenge concerning the Romans who wiped out her loved kinds and ripped out her tongue. These moncler jackets would have been right at house within a longer, additional thoughtful historical epic, but Neil Marshall (The Descent) has produced a quick, thrilling, and ultra-violent satisfy of hide and search for that serves them well.
The Romans desire to kill the Picts, the Picts desire to kill the Romans, and that all there can be to it. moncler coats could possibly have much less dimension compared to principal iteration of Pong, however the actors, Fassbender especially, hold out such as the our blood is real. previous the often unbearable dialogue (ometimes there are scars that can be seen.?, even one of the most basic narrative factors are simplified to sub-quantum levels. Quintus is certainly the film hero, but why? The Romans can be the invaders, as well as the Picts ?though dirtier and additional prone to growling ?are merely defending their land.
Posted by cheap Moncler at 19:43
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:50 pm

http://venetianblond.blogspot.com/2011/02/review-centurion.html

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review: Centurion

Centurion is another swords and sandals movie, although it's set in Scotland, so there aren't any sandals. The Romans are still trying to subdue the Picts but are suffering the triple threat of homesickness, the weather, and very successful guerilla warfare. Quintus Dias, the centurion of the title, is spared after a Pictish raid because he can speak the language and may be "useful." He escapes, and totters through the snow shirtless (because he's played by Michael Fassbender) and bound. This is actually the opening scene of the film, and Dias informs us that "This is neither the beginning nor the end of my story."

The governor, Agricola, receives word that the northernmost outpost has been overrun, and sends the 9th Legion from York to take care of the Pictish problem once and for all. Led by General Virilus (not too subtle, that) played by Dominic West*, the 9th gets ambushed by the Picts before they even arrive, and are slaughtered. The General is taken, and Dias, leading a tiny band of survivors (including Mickey from Doctor Who-that's some real time travel) goes to free the General. He's shackled, however, and they don't have tools to break the iron. He commands Dias to lead the others home.

This is where the story really starts. The majority of the movie follows this group as they try to reach a Roman settlement from behind enemy lines while they are tracked by a superhuman she-wolf who is bent on revenge.

I've taken a less than respectful tone so far, but I did enjoy the film. Only afterwards did I notice that it was by Neil Marshall, of Descent fame. Both films deal with being stuck, out of your element, with your worst nightmare. The end result is about the same, too. Much like a Mahler concerto, Marshall manages to resolve the tension in ways that are not what you expect. The scene in which the General gets taken by the Picts was shockingly unusual, not least because you expect the General to sit his horse and rally the troops and be around to make some sort of sacrifice in the last 5 minutes, but also because West is filmed looking bewildered and flailing around as he's dragged from his horse.

I've been mulling over the treatment of Etain, the female tracker. Although she's treated as something supernatural, beyond the rules of humanity, I think it works. The key is the contrast between the Pictish women and Agricola's wife, coiffed within an inch of her life. She is the example of female perfection, to the Roman eye, so the women warriors would seem to be beneath, or beyond, human.

The main problem I had with Centurion was the neon blood. If the whole thing is meant to be stylized in a graphic novel way, like 300, then fine. But this was filmed more naturalistically, and in fact desaturated in tones of gray, so the highlighted blood fx didn't fit. I'd rather see swords that don't make marks than splashes of neon everywhere. But hey, that's just me.

So, for a cross between 300 and Gladiator, informed by the quest wandering of The Lord of the Rings films, with some good, unpredictable storytelling and female warriors with their own motivations, check out Centurion.

*And I won't say that when the General is drinking with his men, I thought of McNulty. Nope, won't do it.

Posted by VenetianBlond at Sunday, February 20, 2011
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:53 pm

http://adhocclassicism.blogspot.com/2011/02/historys-mysteries.html

Monday, February 21, 2011
The Eagle Has Landed

So last night I watched Centurion for the second time, and I greatly enjoyed it. Just like I did the first time. Movies always seem to be a little better the second time around, mainly because you catch more as far as dialogue and catch more in the scenes overall. Maybe another reason I liked it so much the second time was that this time, I, maybe even subconsciously, was comparing it to The Eagle, which I saw last weekend and reviewed early last week. I said it then and I'll say again. Centurion is a better movie, with better acting performances with better battle scenes. The Eagle added a chase element, but it's nothing like what you get in Centurion, which makes the best possible way to describe the film a mash-up between Ridley Scott's Gladiator and Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.


The movie begins with sweeping shots over the snow-coated mountains and ice-laden streams of Scotland, getting us off to a start that forced me to switch on the gas fireplace next to the recliner, savering the warm glass of Gabbiano vino in my hand. The film was written and directed by Neil Marshall, who, in Centurion, made the names of the actors and the movie title appear to us very Stone Henge-like upon the mountaintops. We turn the corner of those mountains to have other names pop out at us. But a director can't carry a film all on his on, just as I mentioned in my review of The Eagle. Centurion treads on the same subject matter, and though the premise of The Eagle was a good one, the one for Centurion was much better.

In 117 AD, the Roman Republic had long morphed into the Roman Empire, swallowing up Gaul (France) and Greece with its eyes set on Germania and Britannia. They had already taken southern Britannia, but sought to push further into what is now Scotland and Wales. I believe there were three Roman command posts, or garrisons, in Britannia at the time the movie takes place. Centurion Quintus Dias (Northern Irish actor Michael Fassbender from 300 and Inglourious Basterds), son of a Roman gladiator who earned his freedom, is stationed at the frontier garrison, often enduring sleepless nights in the freezing cold winter months of Briton. After leading a resistance against an nightime attack on the garrison at the hands of the Picts, a brutal Scottish tribe, Quintus is taken hostage and the movie seems over before it begins.

Meanwhile, we're introduced to General Titus Flavius Virilus and his Ninth Legion in their garrison dining hall. I truly believe that writer/director Neil Marshall knew his Roman history and based Virilus on Mark Antony. Virilus is loud, bruttish, and impulsive. He loves a good brawl, a strong drink, and a beautiful woman, found in the mute Pict tracker and traitor to her own people, Etain. Virilus is beloved by his men, as we see him arm wrestling and drinking with them in his opening scene. He wears a scraggly beard and disheveled hair, just like we hear of Antony while embarked on battle campaign. Plutarch said of Antony that "his swaggering air, his ribald talk, his fondness for carousing in public, sitting down by his men when they ate, or taking his food standing at the common-mess table made his own troops delight in his company and almost worship him." This passage almost totally and completely describes the character of Virilus, and being that Antony is one of if not my favorite figure of ancient Rome, Titus Flavius Virilus was a joy to watch on-screen. And Dominic West (300, The Punisher: War Zone) played the part so well that I can't imagine anyone else in the role. Virilus and his Ninth are called to arms when the Roman governor of southern Britannia, Julius Agricola, receives the go from Emperor Hadrian back in Rome (who we sadly never get to see). Agricola is played by Paul Freeman, who made his bones in the 80s as Dr. Rene Belloq, arch nemisis to Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Neil Marshall didn't cast a lot of A-listers, but a bunch of solid actors who are either big in England, Ireland, or are simply forgotten about. Olga Kurylenko plays Etain, as ruggedly attractive as she is brutal and sadistic. She soon proves more trouble for the Ninth than she's worth, making her a formidable villain alongside the rugged terrain.,
Back in the seemingly fleeting life of Quintus Dias, the centurion escapes from the Pict village to run shirtless through the snow to the headquarters of the Ninth Legion, where he joins with them in their plans to march on the Picts. But the Picts are guerilla fighters, smaller in number but maybe even more vicious than the Romans invading their homeland. We immediately begin to root on Quintus because he's a good guy, but the Romans are ultimately wrong in their intentions, attempting to take over territory that doesn't belong to them. Not sure if Neil Marshall was going for it, but he paints a picture in which the Romans deserve their devestating losses, but circumstances see to it we don't root for the Picts either. We can empathize with Etain and Gorlacon, the Pict tribal leader, but we certainly don't call them heroes - as justified as they are.

The forest terrain becomes a major disadvantage for the Ninth Legion, or the Legio IX Hispana (so named because they conquered Iberia, or Spain). As I said, the Picts are guerilla fighters who use guerilla tactics, which is why the Romans have had so much trouble conquering all of Britannia. The Ninth shifts into defensive formation while the Picts roll flaming boulders at them, which actually looks a lot cooler than I just described it. After the first onslaught, the Picts rush out to attack. The battle that takes place in its wake is bloody and spectacular. Snow flurries falling and blood spurting and splattering, we get a battle sequence much like the opening of Gladiator. In the DVD extras, Dominic West tells us that some of the actor extras who worked on Gladiator worked on Centurion, and they said the latter was better. It's hard for me to say that as well, as they're so similar. The sequence is definitely gorier, and probably more realistic. I would say that if the one in Centurion isn't equal to that of Gladiator, than it's better. In the wake of the battle, they are seven Roman survivors, which are not all Roman. True to history, our ragtag crew is made up of soldiers from all around the Roman Empire, including two Greeks and man of Indian descent but born in Sicilia (Sicily), all with pretty creative names - including Macros, seen below (who looks a heck of a lot like Ice Cube).


Just like Quintus Dias towards the beginning of the movie, General Virilus is captured by the Picts and the magnificent seven embark on a rescue attempt - which ultimately sees them on the run behind enemy lines. Etain is a tracker with a pretty heavy axe to grind, as she was raped and had her tongue cut out by the Romans at an early age. But some say that when you lose one sense, your others become heightened. This seems completely true in Etain's case, who has the nose of a she-wolf and who really knows what she's doing with a spear. The Roman runners ditch their armor and run through tundras, mountains, and over waterfalls in an attempt to escape the Picts. They're eventually helped a bit by a Pict outcast, Arianne (Imogen Poots, 28 Weeks Later), heavy Scottish accent and all. She's an outcast living in a hut because she's been labeled a witch by the rest of the Picts. I found this element a bit strange, being that the Picts would have been a pagan tribe, engaging in sorts of witchcraft-type, Druid-like pagan rituals. In any case, she's an outcast and therefore offers no allegiance to her fellow Scots.
Even though I don't have a whole lot of viewers on this blog (that I know of), I won't spoil the end. But I will say that the Romans get tired of running, and we see a face off between Quintus Dias and Etain. And even this isn't quite the end, as word comes down from Emperor Hadrian for all garrisons in Britannia to abandon their posts (meaning that the Ninth fought and disappeared for nothing). This is of course the time in history when Hadrian's Wall is first built, to block out the Pictish tribes from the sections of Britannia controlled by the Romans. Without the consent of Hadrian, Governor Agricola makes a decision that greatly affects Quintus and the other men, resulting in a strong climax.

The fate of the eagle itself, the standard carried by the legions that meant everything to them, is a topic still hotly debated. In The Eagle, Channing Tatum sets out on a suicide mission in enemy territory to reclaim the Ninth's lost eagle. In Centurion, the legion's eagle takes a different fate in a scene blatantly clear and poignantly done by the director. To see both films back to back is interesting, to see which avenue the directors decided to take on certain aspects of the disappearence of the Ninth Legion. Both films are based on the vanishing Ninth Legion, and of the two, Centurion gives us a more vividly-imagined idea.


Neil Marshall did a good job as far language went, giving the Picts, whose actual language was never known to history, a Gaelic Scottish dialect in the film. The director of The Eagle gave the Britannian tribes their own language, but I'm not sure which he actually used. Of course, the English spoken in Centurion is actually supposed to be Latin, as Arianne, who speaks Pict, claims to have learned her Latin (English) from the garrisons stationed near her secluded home. Both recent films about the Ninth Legion did well in this aspect of languages, none seemingly better than the other.


The uniforms in Centurion were spot-on and simply looked amazing. Legionaires during the second-century AD would have mainly worn lorica segementata, a type of segmented armor completely different than that worn in the first-century BC by Caesar and Antony's generation. At the time of Centurion, some soldiers would have worn lorica segmentata, and some would have worn chainmail and Roman phalarae medallions. Both types can be seen respectively in the picture below of Quintus Dias and fellow soldier Brick. As far as weapons went, there were a few inaccuracies. The spears used in the film were Persian in style, as the Roman-styled spear, the pilum, was not used at all. The Romans used the pilum for stabbing but also as javelins for throwing. The spears used in the film were mainly for stabbing the enemy attackers. Also, some Roman soldiers, mainly commanders such as Virilus and Dias, would have used a spatha sword, slightly longer than the gladius wielded by the all the Roman soldiers in the film. The rectangle shields were accurate, the helmets looked great, and the uniforms overall were nicely done. I'm not sure if the Roman soldiers wore animal furs on their forearms, but it sure made sense for them to do this in the winter months of Britannia.













Neil Marshall's cinematography added greatly to the overall feel of the film, which was gritty, bloody, and often unsettling (like when the soldiers plummet off a cliff into freezing waters). The movie is shot in gray and blue hues, two shades that added greatly to the already drab look of Britain. The snow flurries mixed with the blood and the director's selected camera lense worked very well for the look of the film, bringing to mind that cold, muddy, and bloody battle scene in Gladiator.



Centurion has a great look and a great premise, both working in well with one theory on the disappearence of the Ninth Legion. I look forward to other outings from Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday). He clearly knows what he's doing (for the most part) in Roman historicals, so I hope he tries his hand with another. There's no story left at the end of Centurion to make room for a sequel, but there are so many aspects of Roman history that a director could focus on. Michael Fassbender's character in 300, Stelios, was my personal favorite of the film, and I think he was a good choice for Quintus Dias. Dominic West's character in 300 wasn't nearly as likeable, but he turned in a wonderful performance in Centurion. Olga Kurylenko is a beautiful actress, but Neil Marshall made sure that people focused on the more sinister and dangerous aspects of Etain in the film. I really like this movie, and as I now own it, I'll be watching it a lot more than twice in the coming years.

"In the chaos of battle, when the ground beneath your feet is a slurry of blood, puke, piss and the entrails of friends and enemies alike, it's easy to turn to the gods for salvation. But it's soldiers who do the fighting, and soldiers who do the dying, and the gods never get their feet wet." - Quintus Dias

Great line. The only thing that would've made Centurion a better movie is if its dialogue had been written by the writers of Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.
Posted by Liam Hoyle at 11:38 AM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:52 am

http://mngeekramblings.blogspot.com/2011/02/omens-centurion.html

21 February 2011
OMENS: Centurion

Centurion

Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Noel Clarke, David Morrissey, JJ Feild, Axelle Carolyn, Riz Ahmed, Dave Legeno, Ulrich Thomsen
Written & Directed by Neil Marshall
Release: 23 April 2010
Pathe, 97 mins., Rated R

Plot: Quintas Dias and his Roman buddies are on the run from bloodthirsty bad guys.

Now that was some awesome s$#!.

Future young Magneto Michael Fassbender leads a bruised and battered group of Roman soldiers back home after their army was attacked and pretty much destroyed, but they face opposition: the blood hungry Etain is on their trail, and she will stop at nothing to butcher every last Roman out of revenge.

So let’s see what CENTURION offers: a sword-and-sandals epic with great production at a reasonably reserved budget; plenty of bloody carnage; a cat-and-mouse chase picture; and a drama about the last surviving members of an army banding together to live. Sounds brilliant, and it is brilliant. It does hurt – not in the slightest – that this movie is handled with care and creativity by the hands of writer/director Neil Marshal, who arguably delivered one of the best horror movies of the last decade (THE DESCENT). And now he unleashes another flick that is just as mesmerizing and unforgettable.

It’s a simple plot, I’ll give you that, but Marshal and the actors milk it. The cinematography is breathtaking. Absolutely beautiful. The sweeping helicopter shots of the snow covered lands, the threat of each tree, the beauty of running water, the menace and uncertainty of mist – if there is one irrefutable truth about CENTURION that not even the nonlovers can deny, it’s how gorgeous this movie looks.

Those looking for a bloody good time – and I mean that literally, as in blood spurting all over the place – you’ll most definitely be pleased with the amount of swordy carnage that is in display here. Each Roman soldier is ready to die for their commander, but hell if they won’t do everything in their power to take out as many enemies as they can. No part of the body is safe from a death blow.

The cast is brilliant, as expected. Neil Marshall has a talent with getting some magnificent performances from the people under his charge, and this is no different. They each play their part terrifically, displaying the camaraderie in the more intimate night scenes where they have a moments break to just chill and talk about the past and their lives, displaying the never-give-up mentality of the Romans, and all around being likable and charismatic blokes. But there’s one performance that shines above all the others.

Believe it or not, but when it comes to Olga Kurylenko, I’m going to resist commenting on her natural beauty and give a huge compliment: she was magnificent as Etain. CENTURION’s protagonists are the Romans, sure, but this movie is about Etain as much as it is about them. Olga was fine in QUANTUM OF SOLACE, but holy s$#!, this is a tour de force, I’d go as far as saying. It’s a cliché to comment on actor’s eyes and the emotion they bring, but in this case, it’s bloody deserved. Look at the screencap to the right for proof. Olga’s Etain is the embodiment of rage and revenge and war, and she sells it. Bloodthirsty, ready to strike in a second like a snake – it’s mesmerizing. If you’re on the fence about CENTURION, I’d recommend it just for her. Frakkin’ frightening, ladies and gents.

And I would be a horrible DOCTOR WHO fan if I didn’t note that two actors from that show appear here: Noel Clarke, who plays Roman soldier Macros, was Mickey Smith, boyfriend of Rose Tyler, for two series of the show when it came back in 2005/2006. David Morrissey, who plays Roman soldier Bothos, was Jackson Lake, a man who believed himself to be The Doctor after his brain was zapped by a memory capsule containing information about The Doctor. And yes, I’m going to point out every DOCTOR WHO actor no matter the subject, cos I’m that obsessed. I need therapy.

In case the following rating and the review didn't cement it: watch CENTURION. It's awesome, bloody, compelling, and the time will just fly by and you'll want to watch it again very soonish. Well, at least I want to. Imminent purchase!

Netflix Rating: Loved It

Awesomely Written by Andy the Time Lord at 11:50 PM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:47 am

Centurion | A Familiar Journey into Hostile Territory
Posted by: Steve, on February 23, 2011, at 5:29 pm

Neil Marshall’s career has lead him to the middle ground between fame and cult status, somewhere in the neighbourhood of his predecessor John Carpenter. His films make use of elements of horror and the macabre and distinguish themselves with a healthy helping of strong female characters. In Centurion, his latest film, Marshall treads over familiar ground by making use of some of his trademark elements and fails to come up with anything we haven’t seen him try before.

Centurion is yet another retelling of the ill-fated campaign of the Roman Ninth Legion north of Hadrian’s wall into the forbidden lands that will one day be known as Scotland. In the year of our Lord 117, Roman soldiers are dispatched north to engage the marauding barbarians known as the Picts. When they are betrayed and almost completely wiped out by the woefully underestimated Pict army, a small band of soldiers run for their lives across the Scottish highlands while they are hunted at every turn by a soulless tracker of preternatural “Lord Baltimore” ability.
“Marshall tends to begin with a squad populated with a diverse cross-section of humanity, traps them in some kind of hostile ground, and then follows them out as they contend with insurmountable odds until there’s only one of them left.”

If it sounds like your seen this movie before, it’s probably because this is Marshall’s second Hadrian’s wall type scenario, and all of Marshall’s involve ventures into forbidden territory. Whether it’s deep within a cave, into a quarantine zone, or a farm full of werewolves, Marshall tends to begin with a squad populated with a diverse cross-section of humanity, traps them in some kind of hostile ground, and then follows them out as they contend with insurmountable odds until there’s only one of them left. And while Marshall tends to rely on clever character development in his films, in Centurion he instead decides to hang the film on the performance of leading man Michael Fassbender. This would ordinarily be a safe bet, but it plays against Marshall’s style, and the resulting torsion doesn’t generate the kind of conflict the story needs.

Elements in the film that do play to Marshall’s strengths include the same kind of anti-authoritarian/anti-establishment undertones present in all his films. The only authority figure cast in a sympathetic light eschews the trappings of power, displaying the common touch of eating, arm wrestling and brawling alongside his troops while the powers that be pull their sinister strings from a safe distance. His fondness for strong female characters is also evident in Centurion, but a combination of sloppy expository writing and an undisciplined performance from model-turned-actress Olga Kurylenko neutralizes what should have otherwise been the driving force behind this film. If you ask me, he should have held out for Rhona Mitra. I don’t know what the lukewarm reception for yet another modestly budgeted Marshall film means for the future, especially considering this movie made even less than the grossly misunderstood Doomsday. Perhaps Neil needs to retreat back into the realm of the tiny bankroll and resume the mantle of the underdog.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:23 am

http://blog.redbox.com/2011/03/might-have-missed-em-10-overlooked-movies-at-redbox.html

Centurion

It’s AD 117, and the Roman Empire is stalled at the harsh Scottish frontier. A chilly and bloody speculation on the fate of the infamous “Lost” Ninth Legion, Centurion is also a sly gloss on Westerns like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as Inglourious Basterd’s Michael Fassbender leads a rag-tag gang of Romans trying to out-run a posse of angry Picts. Marshall’s sure-handed, visceral (and gory) grasp of scene and scenery is economical with everything but the blood and fire–the director gets a lot of visual bang for his buck as he mines the simple chase plot for gutsy thrills.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:40 am

http://peoplearecrying.blogspot.com/2011/03/centurion-2010-neil-marshall.html

Thursday, 3 March 2011
Centurion (2010) - Neil Marshall

Wednesday 2nd March 2011.

After his last flawed effort it's good to see Marshall back on track with this film. His usual array of obsessions are all present, people fighting against the odds, the great outdoors and each other being the main themes that appear throughout his work. That and gore, great big buckets of the stuff. The story is pretty simple. Set in them olden days, a group of Roman soldiers find themselves in the middle of Scotland. The locals don't like them and chase is on, a race to the English border. Will the Scots catch them, how will the Romans fare stripped of their weapons and in uncharted territory? You know the sort of thing. The Scots even have blue paint on their faces, essential for any post Braveheart film about the savages living north of Newcastle.

I actually quite enjoy the 'on the run' genre of films. The first I remember seeing was The Warriors and ever since then I've loved 'em. From Naked Prey through to Apocalypto they are simple exciting films. Which is maybe why Marshall's effort holds up well, he sticks to the rules, the biggest of which is keep the momentum moving forwards. In other words don't stop in too many places, otherwise you run (pardon the pun) the risk of becoming a different genre, that of the road movie. And that wouldn't do would it?

So it's all nonsense of course, the whys and wherefores being mere dressing and nothing for you to worry your pretty little heads about. Were there black legionnaires back then, or is that just an excuse to give us more of a mixed bag of characters? Michael Fassbender heads up our gang of lads, he's all muscles and pent up sexual tension, under him are a cast of blokes that if you've been watching British films during the past few years, you should recognise with the minimum of fuss. Riz Ahmed being the best of the bunch, Noel Clarke the worst. There's plenty of shirts off running through the highlands shouting and grunting style action. Let's face it you can't do much better than Scotland if you are looking for dramatic locations, it's one of the things that is going to push this film above other similar films for me. The other thing this film has going for it is the sheer bloody violence on display, there's all your usual arms and legs being hacked off, but Centurion takes it up a notch to almost Romero like levels of nastiness. Heads lopped in half, more cut throats than I care to count and that's just the start of it. So something for everyone it would seem, half naked blokes for the ladies and lashing of man blood for the guys. Cough cough.

I'm a big fan of films doing what they are supposed to do, and that's why I thought this was fine. It's nothing you haven't seen before, there isn't any real depth to any of the characters either. But in a film like this I don't want that, I just want to enjoy my ninety minutes and see if the person I think is going to die first does (they didn't by the way). The film whips by as quick as a Glaswegian joy rider, it felt like there were places where possible story strands have fallen onto the cutting room floor, in order to keep the pace of the film up. Which is all par for the course with films like this. If you can get past the awful sub Superman opening credits, and not have too high expectations then you'll enjoy this too. A test I always give myself after seeing a film is to ask myself two questions;- 1. Would I watch this again? 2. Would I pick it up on DVD for a fiver? My answers for Centurion were both yes
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:46 pm

http://popclassicsjg.blogspot.com/2011/03/centurion-dir-neil-marshall-2010.html

Saturday, 12 March 2011
Centurion (dir. Neil Marshall, 2010)

Like The Last Legion and the upcoming The Eagle, this film is centred around the ‘disappearance’ of the Roman Ninth Legion which may or may not have occurred around the north of England and south of Scotland sometime in the reign of Trajan or Hadrian (see Antoninus Pius’ blog for details). Unlike the silly, cosy, relatively-low-on-actual-blood Last Legion, Centurion goes for the bloodiest possible explanation, as the Ninth are massacred by Pict warriors.

The middle part of the plot follows the misadventures of a handful of survivors in wild Pict country. The group is likeable enough, and includes David Morissey, whose excellent reputation is well deserved, and Mickey from Doctor Who, which makes me happy because I love Mickey from Doctor Who (Noel Clarke, better known as the writer of Kidulthood and Adulthood). The group accurately reflect the wide ethnic mix of the Roman Empire and surrounding regions which is nice – it would have been nicer if writer/director Neil Marshall hadn’t felt it necessary to have a scene spelling out exactly where everyone is from, with the group’s Asian member coming from the Hindu Kush and black member from Numidia – both right on the edges or just outside the Empire. ‘Look!’ the movie seems to be saying. ‘We have a politically correct ethnic mix which is also totally historically accurate!’. Well yes, that’s great, but you lose points for shoving it in my face like that – true political correctness should go unnoticed and unremarked. And, like any wide area with lots of trade and inter-marriage, black and Asian characters could come from major urban centres like Alexandria or Rome itself, as well as from further outposts.

Marshall is known for gory horrors like Dog Soldiers and, unsurprisingly, blood and body parts are flying all over the place throughout this film. This is all very well and good during the battle scenes, but like so many screen versions of ancient Rome, this one goes rather overboard on the general violence outside the battle scenes. We are introduced to the ninth legion as they start a barroom brawl by randomly killing a man who was a bit of a sore loser in a game of arm-wrestling and Agricola demonstrates Pictish scout Etain’s prowess by having her kill one of his slaves, explaining that while trust is priceless, slaves cost nothing. Well, no, actually slaves cost money, which is why, although a Roman could kill his own slaves if he wanted to, if he killed or damaged another’s slave, he would have to pay for it. No one would waste money going through slaves just to show off someone’s fighting skills – that’s what wooden practice swords are for. And then, to add yet more injury to injury, Mickey from Doctor Who is killed by a wolf because his companion has deliberately wounded him and left him there to distract the wolf. I guess total bas****s exist in all societies, but this didn’t seem to achieve much, story-wise, other than to annoy me and make me hope for the slow, horrible death of the other guy (though, to be fair, we're not actually supposed to like this guy, and he does eventually get his comeupance).

I’m not entirely sure about the gender ethics of this film either. Like The Last Legion, Centurion tries to combine placating feminists and titillating men by introducing a warrior woman, the aforementioned Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko. Warrior women are not entirely unknown – Boudicca being the most obvious example, and even from roughly the right period – but they’re much rarer than a glance at a few recent Hollywood films would have you believe. Although a part of me loves seeing women kicking ass, I tend to find this more satisfying in forward-looking genres – like Aeryn Sun in Farscape or Trinity in The Matrix. In ancient dramas, I think in some ways it’s more interesting to explore what women could really do within the constraints of their social role – characters like Livia in I, Claudius or Lucilla in Gladiator, for example.

Whereas The Last Legion’s martial-arts trained Mira was a strong, likeable love interest, Etain betrays the Ninth and becomes the villain of the piece. The love interest, in contrast to Etain’s tough brunette, is a vulnerable blonde, cast aside for being a witch, who stays in her hut patching up the men’s wounds and feeding them. The only other woman in the film is an aristocratic Roman who also betrays our hero. So, tough brunettes are traitors, while blonde nurturers are what the men want. I’m sure this film isn’t trying to get a deliberate message across, but this is the impression I’m unavoidably left with.

On the other hand, Etain has definite shades of Boudicca about her, which is nice – since she’s Pictish, they really ought to have gone all out and given her red hair. She also has very good reason for hating the Romans, who raped her and her mother, cut out her tongue and killed her parents. This creates a sense of there being no real ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’, no good guys and bad guys, just the people we happen to be following and the others, which is refreshing (and means the non-battle related violence has some narrative importance, rather than just being blood for the sake of it).

The film suffers from something of a lack of plot or characterisation. Etain, thanks to her backstory and motivation, has the best developed character but dialogue is minimal and much of the film seems to be made up of walking across Scotland to get from one fight scene to the next. Imogen Poots manages to make her Arianne relatable and likeable enough, in her very short screen time, that we feel pleased when Michael Fassbender’s protagonist finds her at the film’s climax, but I watched much of the rest of the blood and gore with limited interest and little feeling. There comes a point where all the fake blood splashing around ceases to mean anything, especially if the characters it’s spurting out of feel two-dimensional.

One thing I did really like about the film, though, was the almost Odyssean feel given to Fassbender’s journey. I liked the bookended dialogue – ‘this is neither the beginning, nor the end, of my story’ – both a statement about how a single narrative can never wholly encompass someone’s life and a subtle way to indicate the Fassbender’s character probably survives his nasty injuries towards the end of the film. The way Quintus fights his way across country, gradually losing all his companions is, deliberately or not, distinctely reminiscent of Odysseus’ sea journey, which is a nice added Classical touch.

The Picts speak Gaelic, which is nice and reasonably accurate (goodness knows what Pictish sounded like, but Gaelic is as close as we’ll get. Neil Marshall admits on the extras that Welsh is probably even closer, but rightly surmises that Welsh would sound strange coming out of a Scots-accented, Pictland-dwelling people). I was amused to see Irish-raised Fassbender’s accent suddenly slip into Irish (rather than The Queen’s Latin) when he had to speak English in the middle of a stream of Gaelic, as Irish accents, especially from the North, are very close to Scots accents (unsurprising, given that the Scots came over from Ireland sometime after the Romans had left Britannia all together). In fact, he sounds slightly Irish throughout the scene in Ariane’s hut, which has the bonus effect of making him seem that much more at home there than his companions.

All in all, not a bad film, and beautifully shot. The cinematography is truly spectacular and I think I'll end up re-watching it quite frequently just for that, and for the sweeping muscial score. It was a bit lacking in depth for me, though. If I’m going to watch men beat each other up with swords for a couple of hours, I’d prefer either the depth of Gladiator, or the cheesy daftness of The Last Legion. This one is a bit too much blood and not quite enough character for my taste, though the scene where Morissey's wounded soldier is shot dead just as he thought he'd made it home is almost heartbreaking enough to redeem it.

P.S. In one scene, two of our guys see a wolf on the other side of a river. It took me several seconds to work out why they were so concerned and needed to run away, because surely the wolf was about to turn into a human ally, possibly one without a great line in shirts. Or trousers, in some cases. At this point, I resolved to watch a little less supernatural fantasy and a little more straight drama for a while.
Posted by Juliette at 15:27
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:50 pm

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Centurion (Neil Marshall, 2010)

I actually found myself a bit surprised by this film. I think Michael Fassbender’s a great actor and I’ve heard good things about Neil Marshall but the story didn’t sound very appealing. I sort of expected it to be just another movie that was trying to be like Gladiator.

But it turned out to be really good. Fassbender was great as usual as was Dominic West and many of the other supporting actors. Olga Kurylenko (who I haven’t seen show a bit of acting talent yet) surprised me a lot. She played a mute character who didn’t speak a single word in the film, which sort of reminded me of Mads Mikkelsen’s character in Valhalla Rising. Kurylenko did a great job creating and displaying a character well through no dialogue, which I would assume to be very difficult.

As expected, the action was top-notch. It pretty damn gory but I enjoyed it. The action was well spread out so I didn’t seem like they were just trying to make an action movie and sprinkle some story in there. The story was actually pretty strong, to my surprise, and kept me interested the entire time.

I’d definitely recommend Centurion if you’re looking for good action with a good story to go along.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:39 pm

http://comicsconqueso.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/spring-break-boredom-buster-challenge-day-three-%E2%80%93-%E2%80%9Ccenturion%E2%80%9D/

Spring Break Boredom Buster Challenge : Day Three – “Centurion”
March 15, 2011 Rev. Jacob Dodd

As previously stated, I’m not going anywhere for Spring Break. That being the case, I figured I would catch up on some movies that have been piling up on Netflix. I thought it’d be fun to go through and once a day watch a film that popped up as a “suggestion” from Netflix and review the experience here on the blog to provide the illusion of regular content.

So here’s day three…

The Flick : Centurion(2010)
The Director: Neil Marshall (Doomsday)
The Players: Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds), Dominic West (The Wire), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace)

Synopsis (via IMDb): Britain, A.D. 117. Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, 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.

Review: This movie could act as a sort of prequel to this year’s The Eagle. It presents a possible explaination for what happened to the ninth legion of the Roman Empire when it decided it could take on the picts in the northlands of the British Isles. Like The Eagle this one doesn’t have much in the way of historical fact behind its plot but it does seem to have a higher pedigree in that the Roman soldiers don’t sound like American infantryman. On the other hand, this film has a less realistic portrayal of the picts and reminds me a little too much of that Clive Owen King Arthur vehicle from a few years back; the one where we all realized how f#%@#&! skinny Keira Knightley is and our sexual fantasies changed from wanting to gag her with our gentleman’s vegetable to stuffing her throat with some much needed foodstuffs to prevent her body from caving in on itself.

Anyhow, this film is directed by Neil Marshall who is an absolute psychopath when it comes to his films. He loves a frantic and kinetic energy that permeates the screen and exhausts you as you follow along. The perfect example would be Doomsday, a film that was silly and crazier than it had any right to be and the audience can only keep up if it has the stamina of a bull moose. See also, The Descent. So you would expect for that same energy to cross over with this particular film. And you would be right. The film is put together like a western in some places, with Marshall drawing some heavy influence from Butch and Sundance. It’s a chase film, and the feeling of the hunter and the hunted being locked in a very real and very visceral struggle works well in the film’s favor.

It’s not the most artfully made film, it owes a lot to Marshall’s love of 80′s schlock but damned if it’s not entertaining.
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:00 am

http://crustaceanhate.blogspot.com/2011/03/centurion-2010.html

Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Centurion (2010)
They may take our lives,
but they will never take our eyeliner!

It's pretty clear by now that Marshall is perfectly happy making genre flicks that are heavily influenced (or in the case of Doomsday, brazenly plagiarised) from the beloved films of his youth, but a certain running theme is beginning to stick out at me. I think Neil Marshall might hate Scottish people. First you had Dog Soldiers, where the Scottish Highlands were little more than a terrifying, lycanthrope-infested wilderness. Then there was Doomsday, which suggested that, if left to their own devices, Scotland would revert to a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic hellscape within a few decades. I think The Descent was relatively free of Scot-bashing, unless those pasty underground mutants were supposed to be Scottish, which is debatable. Finally we have Centurion, where a small group of Roman soldiers suffer an onslaught of vicious, bloodthirsty Pict savages.

The film is based on the myth of the Ninth Legion, who were supposedly sent to Britain in 117 A.D. to suppress the Picts and never returned. Michael Fassbender plays the Centurion Quintus Dias, who is one of only a handful of survivors after a vicious Pict ambush in the Scottish Highlands leaves his entire Legion dead. The Picts capture their General, played by Dominic West, and after a failed rescue attempt the shrinking group of soldiers are forced to flee back to Britain. They are pursued by band of Picts, including a brilliant tracker named Etain, played by Olga Kurlyenko.

I guess it's a little like Apocalypto in that it takes an epic historical setting and uses it to tell a relatively small chase thriller, and like that film it's really f#%@#&! bloody. There's barely a few minutes without somebody getting decapitated, disembowelled or stabbed in the dick, often in slow motion. Sadly a lot of it is CG, which doesn't really have the same visceral impact. There's also a pretty crazy gross-out moment where they kill a deer and eat the half-digested vegetation out of it's stomach. I probably would have eaten the meat instead, but that's just me.

The idea of heavily-armed Imperialists pushing into unfamiliar territory and facing resistance from scrappy locals probably sounds pretty familiar (look at text upside down to reveal secret hint: bɐɹı). The parallels aren't something that's dwelled upon, but I did like how both sides of the conflict were fairly well represented. The Roman soldiers are a varied lot with different backgrounds and motivations, and the Picts are humanised without turning them into toothless Noble Savages. In a situation like this you are always going to side with the Romans, but the film doesn't let you forget that they're fighting for a pretty sh*#&% cause.

I don't want to oversell this aspect to it, though. At it's core it's still a two-dimensional genre flick. The Picts are barely differentiated and the Romans are the typical war movie stereotypes (the brute, the joker, etc). There is a pretty good cast (David Morrissey, J.J. Feild) who do the best job they can, but there isn't a lot of dialogue and what is there is pretty ripe. A lot of the dramatic moments fall flat, especially the tragic backstory about Etain. She is also mute, which had me wondering whether it was a conscious character choice or a surreptitious dig at Kurlyenko's acting abilities.

Also, at about an hour into the film they awkwardly attempt to shoe-horn in a love interest. Imogen Poots plays a Pict woman who was banished from the tribe for practicing witchcraft (probably something to do with her unnaturally nice skin and teeth) so now she lives alone in the wilderness. She's no friend to the Picts or the Romans, but Quintus Dias charms her with his knowledge of the Pictish language. She is in the film for all of five minutes, but she must have made an impression because he falls deeply, madly in love and (spoiler alert) runs away at the end to live with her.

I think we all know by now that Marshall and his team have some serious technical chops, and here they turn out a really nice looking film on a relatively low budget. It borrows the gritty look of a lot of modern historical films, making everything dirty and bloody with all the colour leeched out of it. The cinematography is great, with a lot of sweeping helicopter shots of the heroes running through fields and snowy mountains. The fight scenes are well constructed and the editing is vastly improved over Doomsday, which I felt substituted frantic editing for good choreography.

I didn't lose my s$#! over this film, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's a little predictable and formulaic, but as a pure action film it works really well, striking a good balance between grittiness and entertainment. I also appreciate the mass amounts of blood and gore. I like how the political subtext hums along in the background with no elaboration, and unlike a lot of historical films it isn't a bladder-busting, butt-numbing three hour epic. Probably doesn't reach the heights of Dog Soldiers or The Descent, but it's a perfectly good film.
Posted by Dave at 10:29 PM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:37 pm

http://www.cypress76.biz/MyBlog/archives/1762

Centurion review
Posted on March 17, 2011 by Jason

Centurion stars Michael Fassbender as a Roman leader who with a few remaining troops are trapped behind enemy lines. Their platoon was ambushed by Picts (a medieval group from East and North Scotland who later merged with the Gaels) and brutally attacked and killed. When Fassbender and his remaining soldiers are able to strike a blow against the Picts, they are then tracked and hunted by a small group of Picts and must battle the environments and at some point the Picts tracking them down.

The gruesome fight sequences….that’s what jumps out at you first. The fight scenes were brutal and bloody and a blast to watch! When the Romans are ambushed by the Picts, you are witness to a very fast paced period piece. And the lush and vast surroundings that the Romans fight against really immerse you in the situation. That’s what truly drove home their gravity of their situation of being stuck in foreign country running for your life.

Now with that said, if it weren’t for those gruesome battles and excellent location selection, I would have had to give Centurion a lower score. Michael Fassbender stands out and really gives his character depth but the story does nothing new and there are definitely better period pieces out there but I think this one is worth a watch.

Final Score: ★★★☆☆

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2011 at 9:25 AM
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:45 pm

http://rene-writer.livejournal.com/85887.html

20 March 2011 @ 11:46 am
Centurian AKA... Fassy!!

I've been snowed out of work for two days and so have been wasting time on movies and the internet. Last night I watched Centurian which is a bloody (really bloody) Roman epic starring Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunnigham, J.J. Field, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West, and David Morrissey. It was much better than I expected even if the blood and gore looked cartoonish. It's the story of the Ninth Legion (gee.. what a surprise. Hollywood hasn't done that before) complicated by the death of a child and the tracking capabilities of the sociopath Pict Etaine. Basically, I wanted to watch a Michael Fassbender movie because he is the new Rochester and OMG I want to see another version of Jane Eyre. He's handsome and ripped and has a soothing voice but he lacks charisma so I don't know how he'll do as Rochester. Thoughts? Opinions?
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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

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