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Centurion Reviews 3

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:49 am

http://unlimitedcuts.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/three-violent-films-a-centurion-a-ct-and-christ-but-thats-a-load-of-rubbish/

Let’s begin with Centurion, which is about a Roman soldier who finds himself behind enemy lines in Britain. Directed as it is by Neil Marshall, the bloke who brought us Dog Soldiers and The Descent (both immensely superior to this one) we can expect some gory closeups, but nothing can prepare you for quite the number of slit throats in this thing. It’s not safe to be a carotid artery in this film. Barfights, betrayals, battles and barneys of all descriptions all end in tears (that’s not tears as in Smokey Robinson’s clown but as in what you do to the fabric of the space/time continuum in a Star Trek spinoff). It’s nauseating, literally visceral stuff, the return on which does not diminish with familiarity. These objects are not so familiar that mothers will but smile, because every close-up garrotting is done in a slightly distinctive way, the director coming up with many entertaining variations on the theme of getting one’s throat cut. It’s not eloquent but neither was the Roman empire’s treatment of the barbarians in its outlying territories. Wasn’t a huge amount of talking.

The plot centres on a centurion, played by Michael Fassbender, whose men are all slaughtered in an ambush and who then joins the ranks of a hard-living, lead-from-the-front kind of bloke who you know is going to die heroically while taking a good half dozen of them with him. The sort of bloke who refuses to let you carry him when he gets injured, instead insisting that you give him a few clips and a brace of hand grenades so he can buy you a bit of time. No hand grenades here, of course; you’ll settle, of course, for something metal and pointy. Dominic West does the honours here, dying in an appropriately theatrical manner.

So our hero finds that his battalion has been betrayed by a particularly nubile girl who has had her tongue cut out and who therefore communicates exclusively through the medium of ass whooping. When he gets to her there’ll be a cool battle and he’ll win, but you’ll have lost interest in plotting well before that. (The standoff between the two doesn’t even end up as the film’s climax, as it happens, but that won’t spoil things for you). This is a violent film and one which doesn’t really protest itself as anything other: it’s accurate to Roman times and these were violent times. I’m not saying there was too much swordplay, but I had lockjaw by the end of it. I’ll allow it, it’s just not a very entertaining film. It could use a plot a little less predictable; I’d have settled for a plot.

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:02 pm

http://funeralsandsnakes.net/2010/09/22/review-un-prophete-i-am-love-centurion-and-the-runaways/

In Neil Marshall’s Centurion, we get a bloody parable about empire and insurgency in the form of Roman legions trying to hold down the native Picts of (what is now) Northern England and Scotland. It’s the farthest outpost of the Roman Empire and the locals look like they should be throwing cans of Carling Black Label off the roofs of council flats but Dominic West (McNulty in “The Wire’) follows orders and tries to keep order.

Unfortunately for him, he’s captured in an ambush and a handful of remaining legionnaires, led by Michael Fassbender (Bobby Sands in last year’s Hunger), find themselves trapped behind enemy lines trying to get him back. Marshall is a very capable director (The Descent was about as scary as they come) and I appreciated the fact that all the locations were actually British rather than Romanian. I should also add that almost all the blood (of which there is a great deal) appeared to be genuinely liquid rather than the digital sploshing and spurting which you see so much of these days.

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:00 pm

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

Friday, September 24, 2010
Centurion Review.
was gonna go for RE : Afterlife, but it haven't come out, so Centurion would do.. My uncle said it was okay, beside it was either this or King of Fighters or something. If Hollywood has one consistent trend, it's that game-to-movie always suck.

Centurion isn't another epic medieval movie. It has some war scenes, but it's more of a group of men trying to survive rather than large open battle. The story itself remains simple. A legion of Roman soldiers, Ninth Legion, was dispatched to solve a stalemate with the Picts. They are tribal guerrilla people who use brutal sneak attack and surprise tactic to overwhelm the Roman. Although not as well equipped and have less number than Roman, they managed to beat them badly.

The story follows Quintus Dias, the titular Centurion in an attempt to free the general and get the hell out of the enemy's line. Quintus Dias is played by Michael Fassbender. I knew he was at 300, but I didn't know he was at Basterds as well. He served his role well. The desperate noble hero with newly acquired reponsibility to get his men to safety. The only thing is he's not that memorable. He didn't stand out much. I know it's hard not to expect Leonidas from 300 or Spartacus, but he didn't have that leader charisma.

Have you notice the guy at 300.. I'm not sure at first but he's one of the dead 299..

Dominic West as Virilius, the respected leader of Ninth Legion, have more screen presence. It's a far cry from his back-stabbing queen effing role in 300 and he pulled it off. He's the run wild soldier type, but surprisingly has very good leadership. The rest of the soldier aren't that memorable as well. There is one called Leonidas, not the romantic movie guy, Marcros, whose name sounds like anime, but "SPOILER" you only remember them for their death scenes.

"SPOILER" The antagonist came in form of Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko, the Bond girl from Hitman and Max Payne. I kinda remember her. She's small and thin with short hair. Now she has tough character to play, a mute one. She's a hunter of the Pict with some cruel past. This role is hard, I'm trying to write a story and it has mute character as well. I do it in first person view so it's easier to understand her. That doesn't translate well to screen with mute char. She only has pissed off and "I'm-gonna-cut-your-d***-off" faces the entire movie.

It's better if she showed happiness when she killed her enemies, but no she still seemed pissed off. Dude, my kill wasn't rad enough, kill some more. There's a line that said her only joy came from killing Roman, but I couldn't see it through the emo medieval look. It's a good thing I saw this movie, it's an input on the mute char.

The writing needs a mention here. It was great. The writer and director Neil Marshall has cinematic albeit ancient way of narrative. It's another input for me. Some lines are cliche, but he didn't lose focus and went for 300 vibe like some Chinese movie (Strom Warrior. I'm looking at you). It doesn't has many CG as well, it's a plus. The shot of the scenery is good, some remind me of LOTR.

The battle deserves some mention as well. It was bloody, brutal and straight to the point. Some battle even became a stab-fest. It was almost comedical, but I think it's realistic. 300 choreograph is great, it's fluid, but sometime in your face approach can be good too. The gore is staggering and quiet frankly I'm surprised it went through Indo cencorship.

The movie is more of individual struggle rather than grandiose stuff of legend. But what it does, it does well. The irony is this can be pretty much better than RE : Afterlife. Rate 7/10.

Posted by quincytheodore at 3:55 AM

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:07 pm

http://mediaporia.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Cinemist

12:36 AM
Centurion's Blind Ambition

The sword and sandals genre has had a woeful resurgence of late. Not since the Hercules/Maciste/Samson films of the 50’s and 60’s have bare-chested bravura, tunics, and dusty sandals been such a hit at the box office. Recent unfortunate examples include Troy, 300, Clash of the Titans, and Prince of Persia. They all trade on our communal knowledge of some vague, ancient fable which is subsequently blown up in favor of intricate chases, encounters between massive battalions, and monster fights. I’m not a particular fan of the genre, considering sweaty Cro-Magnon brows coupled with wooden dialogue and undisciplined extras all stuffed into grandiose settings do not tempt me as they do some.

Hence I entered Neil Marshall’s new film, Centurion, with equal parts apprehension and growing nausea. But don’t paint me a devotee of self-flagellation just yet. I reasoned that, with starring roles from both Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Inglourious Basterds) and Dominic West (The Wire), there would at least be top-notch, testosterone-soaked emoting on a grand scale. The film begins with a voice-over by Fassbender’s character, Centurion Quintus Dias, as he runs shirtless in the snow, his hands bound, telling us that this is neither the beginning nor end of his story. Voice-overs are never a signal of the immense narrative wealth coming our way. In fact, they are almost always a bad omen for any plot machinations. Already we are given more information than we need — some unspoken excuse for a listless scramble of establishing scenes.

Dias’ aforementioned past is sketched out at a brisk pace. We learn he is a Roman Guard who was captured by the vicious Pict guerilla warriors (some loose Celtic confederation of future Scots) led by their king, Gorlacon (really?!?). The overt analogue to the Iraq War is painfully relayed through text on screen - the Romans portrayed as the bully, raping and killing innocent Pict women and children. However, the Picts are not your run of the mill sedate villagers. They are, instead, gothic-styled curmudgeons, oddly decked out in the “used future” garb from Mad Max with the bad hygiene and handmade weapons to match. Central casting has never had it so good! I was tired of suffering through these cardboard cut-out villains in dystopian sci-fi films, but now they seem to have been transported back a few thousand years. Will we ever be rid of this rampant eyeliner abuse?

Dias is saved by West’s General Titus Flavius Virilus. I think the Roman name doth protest too much. Anyway, the plot actually kicks into gear when the General is captured in a Pict raid and the seven surviving Roman soldiers attempt to save him. Here is yet another homage, this time to Seven Samurai and the Magnificent Seven, with some John Ford vistas thrown in for the hell of it. This ragtag group of ethnic Romans (a Greek, an African, and a Syrian walk into a bar…) are categorically uninteresting as living specimens, but one feels a perverse pleasure as their lives are foreshortened one by one in increasingly gruesome fashion. Their thrilling deaths represent the absolute ceiling of production ambition.

Marshall seems like he’s cutting and pasting from films he saw as a child in England to find his own narrative rhythm. One bright spot is that he appears to be in on his own joke, if only for brief spells. He coats the crude one-liners, the costumes, the hair and make-up, and the character’s tepid motivations in a light campy sheen, which almost makes the meandering, lifeless plot somewhat watchable. The embodiment of this self-derision has to be the mute Pict she-warrior, Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko, who was smoldering two years ago in Quantum of Solace. Thankfully, she doesn’t utter a word in Centurion, as it would only detract from the (un)intentional humor of her steely stares and pouty insouciance during purportedly heated moments.

The director claims that he resisted making another Braveheart by focusing on both the aggressor and the aggrieved equally, but by not choosing a clear perspective, we are left with a muddled view of the Roman expansion, and the Picts are nothing more than a faceless, violent horde with a huge chip on their soldiers. This might have worked had Marshall, also the writer, spent any time at all on complex character development and heightened the political intrigue introduced by a Roman governor. Instead, his main achievement is to mimic and exceed Braveheart’s callous violence. Severed limbs, decapitations, impalings, and assorted skewerings are de rigueur. I’ve never seen so much blood spilt in aesthetic yearnings.

One always hopes a film this ramshackle can achieve cult status, so others can revel in the inanity with equal gape-mouthed awe, but I fear this one will disappear as quickly as it arrives in theaters. Fight or Die indeed!
by Wayne Titus

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:56 pm

http://agilemobileandhostile.blogspot.com/2010/09/this-is-me-catching-up-on-movie-reviews.html

Centurion
Oh Neil Marshall - I had such hopes for you... After the likes of Dog Soldiers, The Descent, and Doomsday your bloody playful storytelling was such a welcome change. Taking on a story of the fabled Ninth Roman Legion and playing with the possibilities of what might have happened to them? Seems like a great pairing for a violent and fun time of tribal Scots butchering sneering Romans. So what happened with the final product of Centurion?

Michael Fassbender is Quintus Dias, the titular hero who survives a brutal Pict (native Scots at the time of the Roman expansion into northern England) attack on his outpost. Barely escaping he quickly runs into the 9th, a stereotypically bawdy group of English-accented Roman badasses. Led by the everyman-hero Gen. Virilus (Dominic West) they’ve been sent to put down the Picts’ native resistance once and for all.

But the natives prove to be a bit more than the Romans had planned on and their numbers are quickly reduced to a very small handful who seek to return to the safe confines of Roman England. Yeah - we’re supposed to root for the evil occupying army against (ahem) the Scots.

The rest of the film plays out like Deliverance (minus the man-raping) or Apocalypto. The only saving grace is that the fleeing Romans are hunted by the Picts’ master tracker, the mute (due to the Romans ripping out her tongue as a kid) Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko who could read a newspaper for 2 hours on screen and hold my attention. They fight and run and fight and run and then hold up for a final confrontation. The end.

The cinematography’s good and the violence, while plentiful, is minimized more for the chase aspects. The story of the disappearance of the 9th is so ripe with possibilities* it’s sad to see them just played out like any other wilderness survival film here - especially by Marshall. It’s okay, probably a decent beer movie, and instantly as forgettable. You can put up your own Hadrian’s Wall to forget about this one.

Rating: D (due to me being savagely disappointed)
(* - One story had the survivors becoming Arthur and his knights of the round table. I like that one.)

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:45 am

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

Donnerstag, September 30, 2010
CENTURION
I liked Centurion, and in no way am I ashamed to admit this. It was kind of cool, much like Olga Kurylenko is somewhat good-looking, and Michael Fassbender's voice is mildly arousing. It's very dark, very bloody, and, SPOILER ALERT, pretty much everyone dies. Fassbender is brilliant (as is his wont), and Kurylenko's mute (good call!) huntress is as delicious as she is terrifying. Plus, everyone says f&#! a lot, which, strangely enough, is something I rather enjoy in a historical drama. On a scale of one to passports (CLICK THE LINK, or you won't get it), Centurion, I'd say, is a totally above-average birth certificate.
Even if I am being overly optimistic, let's put it this way: at least Centurion is better than King Arthur (by miles), although there's even less sex and Mads Mikkelsen is not in it. There is, luckily, just enough sexual innuendo and witty banter among the few (but racially diverse, yay!) remaining soldiers of the legion. Also, Michael Fassbender is the new Mads Mikkelsen, and Dominic West is, well, Dominic West. They make me very happy. I would compose a song to express this happiness, but I can't think of a dignified rhyme for Fassbender.


Eingestellt von Maria the Wise, Relationship Guru um 9/30/2010 11:39:00 PM

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:15 am

http://www.crackingforum.com/movies/475928-centurion-2010-dvdrip-xvid.html

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

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

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

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:17 pm

http://writeriot.blogspot.com/2010/10/film-by-neil-marshall.html

Friday, October 08, 2010
‘A film by Neil Marshall’

Neil Marshall movies are like best-sellers, like Dan Brown, for example. You know what to expect, yet it’s a fun ride till it lasts. He is the best of B-movies. Now, I have used the moniker B-movies not in a derogatory sense, but in a sense that it underlines a particular taste. I know people who revel on movies like this (from the ‘Saw’ movies to ‘Resident Evil’ films, and everything in between.). That’s what they call a cult following, don’t they? In this context, Marshall is sharp, on the edge.
One of the features of B-grade, action, exploitation, adult horror films, which proliferated in the 1970s is super heroine, a tough as nail femme fatale, in movies like ‘Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!,’ ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ and numerous others. In the 1990s Milla Jovovich updates the images for the today’s audience, most famously in Resident Evil. Other followed: Rose McGowan in ‘Planet Terror’ and Kate Beckinsale in ‘Underworld’.

Now, you look at a Neil Marshall picture, you see the same template: The girl power. (I haven’t seen his first feature ‘Dog Soldiers’, so no comments on that one.) ‘The Descent’, his second feature which earned him name and fame and a few awards, has a all woman cast. Recently, a sequel has been released, directed by someone else. ‘Doomsday’ stars Rohna Mitra as a cross between Kate Beckinsale of ‘Underworld’ and Milla Jovovich of ‘Resident Evil’, and she kicks ass. The latest ‘Centurion’ stars Olga Kurylenko as Etain, a warrior-animal out to have Roman blood, and how.

The stage is set. It’s an epic journey for survival. In The Descent, it’s the unidentified inhabitants of the underground cave, in Doomsday, it’s the survivors/victims of the reaper virus, in Centurion, the Picts vs the Romans. It starts with a group, an eclectic group — and as the film progresses, you watch them die, one by one. The body count in Doomsday is better, three survives. However, this is not ‘Final Destination,’ a film about various ingenious ways of killing its characters. In Final Destination, you know everyone is going to die. You sit back and watch (and enjoy!) them dying. In a Neil Marshall film however, you care about the characters who die. Marshall does a smart thing. He hires actors with commanding personality, like Liam Cunningham in ‘Centurion’, and give them a few establishing footage so that the audience can root for them, something that most B horror action movies forget to do.

At the end, a Neil Marshall film is bloody violent, gratuitously visceral, relentlessly fast-paced adventure film. At the end, it does not count much. But as you watch the film, it’s a ride worth the while. You can credit this for picture perfect photography, and top-notch production design, and it does not hurt that Marshall was an professional editor. And the locations?

While The Descent is mostly shot inside a cave, and what photography, both Doomsday and Centurion is located in Scotland. The Hadrian’s wall, which features prominently in Doomsday, becomes the background of the Roman action-epic Centurion.

The Descent is the story of group of hard-assed women who are into adventure sport. After one such adventure Sarah’s husband and daughter is killed in an accident, and she is wounded. One year later, her friends meet and invites her to another adventure in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. It was supposed to be a simple hike, until they discover a cave, not marked in the map. The girls dare each other and decided to explored the cave. They do, and all hell breaks loose. The entrance caves in and they are struck, and they discover that the cave is inhabited by some kind of creature, who are humanoid, but not quite human (Remember the second half of The 13th Warrior?)

In the first look, Doomsday looks like an update on Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later. Mercifully, however, the reaper virus does not turn you into a zombie. But there is no cure. So, when the virus struck Scotland, the British government decided to quarantine the entire country, around the Hadrian’s Wall. A small girl with only one eye managed to get away. Now, 30 years later, in 2032, the girl has grown up into Eden Sinclair, Alice of Resident Evil on Steriods, as the cliché goes. The virus attacks again. Now, Sinclair and her team much go to inside the wall and find a cure. There is blood, chase, and other action sequences, in the tradition of Mad Max (Beyond Thunderdom), and The Warrior, the punk horror style, spiced with mediaeval horror, but the greatest thing about the movie is that it’s able to fight the temptation to turn into a zombie/vampire flick. Kudos.

You cannot make a Gladitor every other day. Even Ridley Scott himself and his leading man could not do it in Robin Hood. Marshall does not even try. In Centurion, the Roman part of the story/background is just an excuse to play around with the action. You are tired of seeing those guns, bombs and other high-tech stuff. It’s time of something ancient, sword and sandal. Michael Fassbender (Of ‘Hunger’, his breakthrough role, who looks a little Jude Law), is Centurion Quitas Dias, who is caught by the Picts, a tribe in ancient Scotland, whom the Romans are trying to dominate but cannot. He is caught and taken to the Pict village from where he flees, to meet the fable ninth legion (history says they marched to fight the Picts something around 117 AD and never returned.). The legion is led by Dominic West (McNaulty of TV Series The Wire), and Dias is inducted. On the way to the Pict stronghold, they are attached. Everyone dies, except for a handful, who are now chased like rabits in a open ground. The chase begins, and bodies roll.

This has been a new trend in British movies, trying to tell an alternate, so-called authentic history behind the popular stories. I think, the trend was started more or less by the latest ‘King Arthur’, starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightly. It claimed to be the authentic history of the King Arthur myth, very different from the Arthur legend, where Arthur becomes a Roman, Guinevere is a Pict princess, and no, she did not have an affair with Sir Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart. The trend from in Ridley Scott’s recent Robin Hood. Russel Crowe’s Robin Longstride is before the legend began. In the same fashion, Centurion tells the story of what happened to the fabled ninth legion. And, since this is a Neil Marshall film, we all know the ending, they all died, except for one, thanks for the small mercies.

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:48 pm

http://www.buyhomevideo.com/genres/drama/centurion/

John E. Larsen October 8th, 2010 at 3:53 am

This is a story set in the time of Roman Britain. It begins with the `myth’ of the 9th Legion, which might have been destroyed in battle with the wild Picts of Scotland. The bulk of the story though is concerned with the flight of a small group of survivors and the merciless pursuit of their fierce and vengeful enemies.

Frankly I struggle to understand the low profile of this film and the lukewarm reports. In my opinion it is a perfectly reasonable movie with some exceptional aspects. These include the stunning scenery which really conveys the bracing cold and desolation but also beauty of the far-North. It looks like an ancient land, all rugged and wild and is almost worth the price of admission alone. The Picts are hard as glacial ice, tough and violent and look very impressive too.

With the story itself I had a few quibbles but it was serviceable. The action scenes were generally good, even tense in places but I was annoyed with some battle scenes which featured the modern technique of very frequent and too fast cut-a-ways, making it hard to know exactly what was happening. A note here, it is very bloody – there are flying limbs, very crushed body bits and blood splattering everywhere. This is however what the weapons of the time did. Both sides are shown as the hard cases they were too. The Picts are savage but the Romans were hardly the Red Cross. The characters are adequate, with the Pict King and the deadly female tracker being quite impressive. I enjoyed watching the Roman legion on the match and in battle, though its camp routine seemed different to the acknowledged practice. But the uniforms and armour looked pretty good to a layman like me. There was also some funny soldier by-play to provide some chuckles.

So, it’s well filmed, showing the era about as authentically as you can get. The story itself is ok. There are some good twists and at times, some real tension! In all I found it to be very entertaining. It is a muscular film that deserves an audience. If you have interests in ancient warfare, you should find this quite rewarding.

Rating: 4 / 5


K. Harris October 8th, 2010 at 6:22 am

When I first discovered director Neil Marshall, I was an instant fan. In the horror genre, he did some solid work with the satisfying werewolf tale “Dog Soldiers” and the sublimely staged “The Descent” (which I know has its detractors, but for me was one of the most entertaining films of its year). The “Mad Max” retread “Doomsday” was an inevitable disappointment–but didn’t dispel the notion that, at least, Marshall had a visual flair. I was intrigued to see him wander into “Gladiator” type territory with “Centurion” because the man can stage one heck of a battle. While the film, which is certainly better than “Doomsday,” has a lot going for it–sadly, it ends up missing the mark. My guy reaction as I turned to my friend at the end was “Man, I wanted to like that much more than I did!”

I was genuinely and actively rooting for “Centurion” to be more wholly satisfying–so I guess that’s a positive comment in and of itself. First off, the film looks absolutely incredible. The sweeping countryside and mountainous terrain as the camera pans across is breathtaking. The battle sequences are alive and bloody–not as dreary as some recent higher profile epics. The film sounds fantastic with a pulsing orchestration that fits the film beautifully. But the film’s greatest asset is its star Michael Fassbender. A sensation in the art house favorite “Hunger,” Fassbender claims leading man status with ease. His grounded physicality and intelligence shine through–at times, you think that he’s smarter than the material he’s been dealt.

The film covers the period of A.D. 117 when Roman troops were engaged in a struggle and trying to advance upon the the Picts in the Scottish highlands. The Picts employed guerilla tactics to hold the Romans off for 20 years. I won’t, but could, debate historical accuracy in the film, but it is clearly meant to be an adventure yarn and not a historical treatise. However, the film seems to want us to identify with the Romans and brand the Picts as the villains when all they wanted to do was defend their land from being conquered. Not so bad in my book. My main issues with the film is that sometimes the screenplay can be conveniently silly. Several times the Picts don’t finish off the stragglers after the epic battle by choice (“oh, just let him bleed”). Their guerilla camp is invaded by not one, but about 6, Romans soldiers in a rescue attempt–not very alert for guerillas! And a tracker who could trail soldiers for hundreds of wilderness miles couldn’t find them in a one room cabin! These are but a few examples that had me scratching my head.

I won’t even discuss the unnecessary twist ending or the tacked-on romance, I’ll just say that “Centurion” ended up losing some of my good will. I’d probably still recommend the film as light entertainment, especially if you put your brain on hold, but I wanted it to be great! But look for Fassbender elsewhere–he’s going to be big (I hope)! KGHarris 08/10
Rating: 3 / 5

Senor Zoidbergo October 8th, 2010 at 7:16 am

Centurion is your formulaic hack and slash movie, but Michael Fassbender (he played the British leftenant in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds) steals the show here. The movie is set in Britain during Roman rule and just prior to the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. Pict tribes and barbarians are constantly skirmishing with Roman troops, raiding border towns and attacking forts. Neil Marshall explores a fictitious version of events to explain the disappearance and demise of Legio IX Hispana. While the real 9th legion may have suffered a defeat by Boudica, queen of the Iceni, we’re treated to an interesting version wherein the entire legion (led in a brief appearance by Dominic West) is decimated while fighting the Picts, leaving a few lone survivors who band together to fight guerrilla style in order to maintain their survival.

It is here that Fassbender shines; he is charismatic as the de facto leader of the surviving band of Roman soldiers cum guerrillas. Liam Cunningham is one of the other recognizable actors in the band of soldiers, and he plays the usual gruff veteran soldier, just as he did in Clash of the Titans. The rest of the soldiers are largely unknowns, well, at least to this American viewer. Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later) makes an interesting appearance as a witch, and the witch storyline feels strangely out of place in the movie. The witch is more of an afterthought in an effort to provide some romantic interest to Fassbender. The plot is predictable, but the movie is a guilty pleasure. I’m surprised they were able to equip as many Roman soldier extras as they did in lorica segmentata. Too bad the pila are used incorrectly; it seems Hollywood (I’m looking at you too Gladiator) never gets it right.

For those of you concerned about violence, yes, this movie shows Roman-style warfare in all its brutal, gladius glory. CG blood abounds, heads are bashed, limbs detached, and abdomens disemboweled. One scene with a deer’s intestines strangely reminded me of the tauntaun scene from Empire Strikes Back.

Overall, an impressive job for just a $10 million budget.
Rating: 4 / 5

The Machine October 8th, 2010 at 8:49 am

This is a combination of Gladiator and 300. Seven Roman soldiers must make their way back to Hadrian’s Wall after their legion (IX) is wiped out by the Scottish Picts. The problem is that a Pict war-party is hot on their trail after the legionnaires assassinated the Pict Chieftain’s infant boy.

If you like 300, Gladiator, The Fall of the Roman Empire or even the Spartacus mini-series and can overlook the plot, you’ll love Centurion because there is plenty of blood and guts to fill two hours of celluloid. This film is an ancient slaughter house.
Rating: 5 / 5

Cheese Steak Jimmy October 8th, 2010 at 8:59 am

Neill Marshall knows how to make a genre movie. From the ‘Squaddies vs Werewolves’ carnage of Dog Soldiers [DVD] [2002], through the ‘Cavers vs Underdwellers’ horror of his best film The Descent [DVD] [2005], and on to the ‘Lara Croft versus Punk-Rock Cannibal Scots’ remake/homage of Escape From New York, the under-rated Doomsday [DVD] [2008], Marshall has cheerfully hacked and slashed his way through many a limb on his quest for B-Movie excellence.

Centurion is no different, focussing on the mythical Roman 9th Company as they were sent into the wilds of Scotland to tame the Picts, and on Marshall’s reading, face their annihilation. The soldiers are little more than British Squaddies in Roman Garb, replete with English accents and mano-a-mano bravado that wouldn’t seem out of place in modern War movies. Any faint trace of political analogy with the invasion of Iraq that some critics have detected (Dominic West’s General is sent into Caledonia for political reasons, and against his military assessment of the situation) is swiftly dropped after a first-act battle that leaves the Company decimated and the survivors on the run from the Picts, who are themselves surprisingly fleshed out, and dealt with somewhat sympathetically.

As Devin Faraci at Chud has pointed out, the last two acts of the movie are then basically a more violent version of the middle section of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [DVD] [1969] and the viewer barely has time to get to know the outstanding Michael Fassbender and his motley crew before they are picked off in a chase across the mountains of Scotland by the unshakeable Pictish trackers. Shooting in the extremes of Scotland, Marshall excels in capturing the landscapes, and this is a beautiful looking movie that makes full use of mountain tops and foreboding forests.

There isn’t a lot of originality on display here, but then, Marshall clearly isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s clear he isn’t working on a budget anywhere near what Ridley Scott had on Gladiator [DVD] [2000], but he manages to squeeze every drop of money and get it on the screen. (Anyone interested in a more existential/arthouse movie of ‘viking vs nature’ should check out the lower budget, but equally beautiful Valhalla Rising [DVD] [2009]). Centurion is recommended then for viewers who don’t mind accepting the B-Movie parameters that Marshall embraces from the get-go.
Rating: 4 / 5

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:25 pm

http://innerdiablog.blogspot.com/2010/10/centurion-2010.html

Saturday, October 09, 2010
Centurion (2010)
Historians — the killjoys — are now almost unanimous in the view that the Ninth Legion probably didn't simply vanish in its entirety one day after marching north into the Caldeonian fog.

This year however, two film-makers have decided to stick to the myth, and Neil Marshall — he of underground gribblies fame — is first out of the blocks with this highly entertaining tale of imperial overextension.

It features two of my favourite actors of the movement Michael Fassbender, as the eponymous Centurion Quintus Dias and Dominic West as General Titus Flavius Virilius, the leader of the Ninth tasked by Agricola with dealing with those perennially awkward people in the northern part of Britain.

There's a key moment where you are wondering just how the Picts are going to break down a well-held Roman line, and their (and Marshall's) solution to this challenge comes as a wry surprise.

With the legion destroyed a handful of Roman survivors has to escape from behind enemy lines hotly pursued by the mute Pictish terminator by the name of Etain, played by Olga Kurylenko. It's one long chase sequence, it has a half-hearted subtext about Nato and the Taleban, and it's both brutal and exciting.

Grade: B+(+)

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:26 pm

http://residentevil1st.blogspot.com/2010/10/centurion-review.html

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Centurion Review

The Ninth Legion marched north through Great Britain with orders to take the wild forces Pitti. When the soldiers find themselves behind enemy lines, they are attacked by the same people who were sent to destroy. After the ambush, the few survivors of the Legion to do to get your head into enemy territory, one pursued by the enemy troops and rescue General, the Pitti in ambush, taken prisoner.

The actor Michael Fassbender, who starred in Inglorious Bastards HicoxFirst Class: Magneto in X-Men star the next. I think it's a great player as soon as possible. Olga Kurylenko, Ukrainian actress, who was in Quantum of Solace Bond girl as one of the famous, also played in Centurion. Kurylenko add sex appeal to the massacre, killing what they seem almost sexy.

Fassbender plays Quintus Dias, the captain of the survivors across the desert leading Roman Britain, then left to take the Ninth Legion General.Fifth must save his men alive and his generals before making his return to the Roman line. The group's short novel is pursued by a group of Picts, led by warrior Tin nice (from pllayed Kurylenko.) Tin is a deep hatred of all things Roman and children in all the dead soldiers.

When I saw that he was involved in the action. The special effects are not great, but it was a startling realism. The beauty of the wholeamazing fight scenes that will surely not blood and gore, I was about how things came together for a stay in a story interesting and fun.

The only downside to this film was the slight inaccuracy of the historical fact that the leadership and the policy of 'year 117 AD, but is only slightly lower for those who know more than the Roman culture and spent an average of easily neglected.

With a series of epic battles, which can easilycompared to Gladiator and 300, and an original story that the viewer is concerned, but continues to speak even more important, we must see the film Centurion.
Posted by Pnvt at 3:00 PM

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:33 am

http://theseventhartfilm.blogspot.com/2010/10/centurion-2010.html

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Centurion (2010)

The Romans vs. Picts action thriller Centurion might seem like nothing more than B-movie schlock, but there’s no denying that it’s got a few things going for it. At the top of the list is its star Michael Fassbender, a promising actor who’s made a name for himself recently with roles in films like Inglorious Basterds, Fish Tank, and Hunger. It also doesn’t hurt that it was directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday), the British horror auteur whose three previous films have shown him to be one of the few filmmakers around who actually respects and understands the history and fans of the genre. Throw in Olga Kurylenko as a mute warrior princess, the striking scenery of the Scottish highlands, and a little true history (the film is based on the legendary disappearance of Rome’s Ninth Legion), and there was a chance for Centurion to be memorable. But while Marshall’s hand for directing bone-crushing violence and tense chase scenes certainly doesn’t disappoint, the end product turns out to be the most generic genre exercise he’s attempted yet.

Fassbender stars as Quintus Dias, a Roman centurion serving in the legion during Hadrian’s ill-fated attempt to conquer the modern day United Kingdom. As the film opens, the takeover has turned into something of a quagmire, thanks to unforgiving weather and the presence of the Picts, a group of savage Celtic warriors who use guerilla tactics to repel all invaders. After their Ninth Legion is slaughtered in a surprise attack, Dias and a ragtag group of survivors take off across the countryside with a small war party led by the trident-carrying Etain (Kurylenko) on their trail.

This cat-and-mouse chase aspect of the film appears to have been the necessity of a small budget more than any kind of bold stylistic choice, and Marshall makes it work as best he can. He delivers on a few nice moments of tension, particularly a battle in the woods that leads to a Butch and Sundance nod where the characters are forced to jump off a cliff into a rushing river. Still, the attempt to make the small group of soldiers represent the entire strata of Roman society is hackneyed at best, and at its slower points the movie seems to be about nothing more than guys running through the woods with swords. A few attempts are made at building character—hell, they even introduce a beautiful witch living alone in the woods to add some sexual tension—but none of it ever amounts to more than the requisite pre-death talk of wives and future plans of starting farms and retiring from the soldier game. The striking scenery of the Scottish highlands is often the film’s saving grace, but beautiful as those hillsides may be, I eventually got tired of watching the characters sprint across them during long helicopter shots.

As it turns out, the film’s best moments all come early on, when Dias is still with the Ninth Legion and their charismatic leader, General Titus Virilius. As the General, Dominic West (probably known to most as McNulty from The Wire) steals every one of his scenes, and his presence in the film only succeeds in making it clear how uninteresting and incomplete a character Dias ultimately is. This portion of the movie also features the film’s best action scene, when the Ninth is ambushed on a forest road by an army of Picts. Marshall’s eye for carnage is spot on, but he tends to sacrifice coherence for gore a bit too often, to the point that the battle eventually degrades into one close up of a stabbing and throat slashing after another, with no real regard for continuity or the spatial positioning of any of the characters in the frame. That the blood is often CGI only adds to the confusion, as it has a tendency to make every action scene seem just a little too much like a video game. Still, no one could say Marshall doesn’t have a gift for portraying the brutality of ancient weapons, and throughout the film he continually ups the ante on creative ways for his characters to die by the sword.

Unfortunately, new and interesting uses of a trident can only carry a movie so far, and in the end Marshall fails to bring something new to this genre in the way he has with his other films. If anything, his big accomplishment here is that Centurion has none of the vaguely jingoistic underpinnings that taint so much (American) action cinema. Neither side—Picts or Romans—is presented as being morally superior to the other, and a bit of last minute double-dealing calls into question any easy ideas of heroism or victory. In Marshall’s world, there seems to be no constant righteousness or cause, and death only begets more death. That might not seem like much, but it’s pretty heavy territory for this kind of film to venture into, and hints at how Marshall just might be the next John Carpenter. Centurion, then, seems to be a sort of transitional film for him. Given more money for the production, it’s hard to say what kind of big budget madness he might have been able to concoct, and given less he probably would’ve spent a little more time building tension and writing decent character interaction. As it is, I can't help but think that Centurion had just enough of a budget to be mediocre.
Posted by Evan at 12:28 AM

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:24 pm

http://www.artlink.co.za/news_article.htm?contentID=25737

Centurion
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko
Director: Neil Marshall.

Centurion is a gruesome, hard-edged action escapade that dips into the Roman era for its inspiration. It does not spare its audience in the guts and gore department, and if it had a stronger storyline it would have been a far better movie.

Action hero Michael Fassbender plays a centurion named Quintus Dias who is stationed in the nastiest outpost on the edge of the Roman Empire in Britain.

When they are attacked by the Pict nation, led by its vicious leader Gorlacon, he becomes the sole survivor.

He manages to find his way back to his troops, teams up with a general named Virilus (Dominic West) and together they head back to the action zone when they confront another brutal onslaught from the Picts.

On this occasion seven Romans survive, and it becomes a tense cat-and-mouse chase as a mute, vengeance-obsessed Pict tracker, Etain (Olga Kurylenko), tenaciously follows Quintus and company across the Highlands intent on wiping them all out. It becomes a grim battle to survive.

Director Neil Marshall does an effective job with a controlled narrative that makes it reasonably easy to watch and avoids any themes that overshadow the gritty, unrelenting violence and hard-core battle sequences that punctuate the production.

A recurring problem with Centurion, though, is that between the action sequences the narrative comes to a halt, diverting into an unnecessary sideshow of banter among the men and a brief romantic liaison with a gorgeous outcast witch (Imogen Poots) sporting an ugly scar on her face.

Also interesting to note is the PC make-up of the Roman legion which includes a member of the African tribe, an Asian and a motley collection of funny men and tough guys.

The leads are commanding entities and most viewers won’t object to following them through this lurid, unforgiving landscape of relentless war and unending brutality and nastiness. In its genre it all works remarkably well.

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:35 pm

http://betweentheseats.blogspot.com/2010/10/glory-of-rome-centurion.html

Friday, October 15, 2010
Glory of Rome: Centurion
Centurion (2010, Neil Marshall)
B-

I love a good chase movie. More precisely, I like chases in films, period. Whether the characters are racing through the streets of large cities, through canyons, forests, whether they are engaged in the chase by car, plane, horseback or even on foot, all of these variables can result in a thrilling and satisfying sequence. I need only point film lovers to George Roy Hill’s western classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to support my feelings. When word got out that Englishmen Neil Marshall was working on a project set in the time of the Roman Empire, I think the curiosity of his fan base had been aroused. When I learned that much of the film would consist of a chase involving Roman soldiers and warriors of a ‘barbarian hoard!’ (I’m still working on a buzz from seeing Gladiator last week), I was absolutely on board with the upcoming movie. In the end, what audiences were served with was precisely what I had wished for, which, ironically, proved to be problematic in some ways.


It was while watching Centurion that something stupendously obvious struck me. My love for some of cinema’s quintessential chase sequences had as much to do with the quality and excitement of the pursuits themselves as it did with my attachment and interest with the characters involved. I don’t just like the 20 minute, cross country pursuit in Butch Cassidy because it looks cool (which it does), but because I am emotionally invested in the titular characters who are at risk of life in prison or worse if they are apprehended by the authorities and whoever the hell ‘that guy’ is. For all of Centurion’s grittiness and unabashed violence, both elements that I welcome with open arms on almost all occasions including this one, Marshall’s pawns in the field never grabbed me in the way that many characters in other films have. Succinctly put, Centurion is the fictional depiction of a Roman campaign of conquest which failed miserably in the northern region of what is now Britain. More precisely, the Romans are attempting to put an end to a ferocious resistance from the Picts (a reasonably primitive, if remarkably brave, society). But this mission quickly goes awry and soon enough Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) and the surviving members of the platoon are on the run…for their lives! From what I gather, the overall plot is based on some historical facts in that there was the mysterious disappearance of a Roman platoon in Britain at some point, but no one is certain of what exactly happened to them, so I hope nobody accepts Centurion as a history lesson.

Despite the reservations I have regarding this film, it nonetheless hit the mark in many respects. As I wrote earlier in this review, I enjoy a good bloodbath every now and then, and Marshall, with this film and his previous efforts, has proven that he is suited to give audiences some excellent, gory action sequences. The unforgiving nature of the Roman-Pict rivalry is shown in some unflinching manner, with brutality and a despicable lack of manners shown when the two sides cross paths. The movie’s central piece when the Picts send out a small but notoriously able search party (led by Olga Kurylenko) after the remaining Roman refugees also features some intense scenes of suspense. Some of the less fortunate Roman fugitives who are caught up with by the Picts are offered in some rather inglorious ways to say the least. The most interesting character during this stretch of the film happens to be the hunter played by Kurylenko, a mute hunter who wants to capture the fleeing Roman soldiers to avenge the death of her family. Unable to speak somehow makes her a more terrifying figure than I had foreseen and her uncanny ability to sniff out Quintus Dias and his men far miles away means that our protagonists mu constantly be on their guard, which does indeed mean that the movie’s stakes are sufficiently clear and pertinent. Marshall’s camera also offers some arresting cinematography, opening a window for the viewer that showcases a world both visually arresting and littered with its fair share of dangers. Marshall commits himself to this ballet of visual splendour and danger, with action scenes filmed and edited with a precise level of kinetic feel, precision and grace.

Of course, there is something not working right if the most interesting character also happens to be the one who can’t speak a word. Centurion’s weaknesses lie very much with its script, which director Marshall penned. It is one thing to have a great idea for a chase movie, and I think Centurion does have that great idea going for it, but if those in danger of being caught are not sufficiently interesting, then clearly something will be lacking. Thus is the most significant problem with this movie. The characters are not engaging, no matter how much pre-battle banter they may share. Quintus Dias, the Roman who takes the mantle in leading his countrymen to safety, is the biggest issue. Michael Fassbender is asked to narrate some of the character’s thoughts so the audience can better understand what he is thinking, but nothing especially thought-provoking or original is ever said. And lest some get confused, this isn’t an issue with the performance of the actor, Fassbender is fine here, but with what he was given to do based on the text. There is a lack of gravitas about the unfortunate band (or fortunate, depending on your point of view) who travel the frigid British countryside. There are a few instances when the group is awarded some downtime to gather their strength, during which time they share some thoughts naturally, but again, nothing really interesting is said. My interest in the chase had more to do with the unknown cruelty that awaited whomever was caught rather than my investment in the individuals being chased. In that sense, I was still rooting for their safe return home, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

Centurion also goes through various story loops that don’t ever mean very much by the film’s end. Not long ago I wrote a review about one of the director’s previous outings, The Descent, awarding it high praise despite the fact that perhaps the script shifted storylines often. With Centurion, this same issue does a disservice to the overall movie. The connection that links the Quintus Dias character to the following Roman campaign feels aimless, as does an attempt to rescue the army’s commander (played by Dominic West) after the latter is kidnapped by the Picts. Neither of these story elements amount to anything significant, nor does the eventual separation of our surviving band into two teams.

If anyone is determined to watch Neil Marshall’s Centurion, I would suggest that he or she proceed with a certain level of caution. There are a handful of moments and scenes which reminded me of how solid a filmmaker Marshall is at times and how creative he can be with his camera. He also has the ability to get the most out of his cast, regardless of whether or not his scripts are of the highest quality or not. However, in the end, Centurion feels inconsequential. Many of its details fled my mind as the days after seeing it went by. For 90 minutes, I was rewarded with just enough for it to be worth my time overall, but I’m not convinced I need to watch it again anytime soon.

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:36 pm

http://pipteam.com/fanniegoines/2010/10/15/centurion/

Centurion
15th October 2010 by norristten under Centurion

Centurion Good filming, bad story – Andy – Portland, Maine, USA
I love fantasy movies, and usually don’t even need a good story, but this film is just undeveloped and empty. Beautifully empty, though. The locations have great variety: mountains, rivers, forests. The costumes are detailed and look authentic on both sides. The fighting is ok: nice weapons and armor, but filmed with too many quick camera cuts. The characters are attractive: the hunter looks mysterious and the Roman leader looks leader-ish. But again there is an emptiness: there is little personality displayed at all. The story is at times not just empty, it is absurd. An entire legion follows one Pictish woman? 7 wounded and tired men on foot evade a skilled tracking party on horseback in their native land? The trackers get within range of a throwing axe and lose them? The tracker sees no signs inside or outside the hut that the Romans were with the witch? The hunted decide to fight what looks like an evenly matched hunting party only after running hundreds of miles, starving, and losing half their men? Thax the Roman just appears one night after so many miles and gets such a chilly reception as if anyone could know killing the Pict child would start the hunt, and then draws his sword on another Roman within site of Hadrian’s Wall? Just bizarre.
: AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in the face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts. Quintus Dias (Fassbinder), sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus’ (West) legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon. But when the legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines. Enduring the harsh terrain and evading their remorseless Pict pursuers led by the revenge hungry Pict Warrior Etain (Kurylenko), the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and to reach the safety of the Roman frontier. Centurion isn’t just a rousing adventure, but a return to form for The Descent director Neil Marshall after the disappointing Doomsday. Irish actor Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) plays Quintus Dias, a Roman soldier attempting to defend the Empire against Northern England’s indigenous Pict population, when they take him captive. Once General Virilus (The Wire‘s Dominic West), who inspires fierce devotion in his men, gets wind of the skirmish, he sets out to vanquish opposition leader Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen) with the aid of Etain (Quantum of Solace‘s Olga Kurylenko), a mute tracker. Though his Ninth Legion, which includes Bothos (David Morrissey) and Brick (Liam Cunningham, Fassbender’s Hunger costar), tracks down Quintus, the Picts slaughter most other comrades and seize Virilus, shifting the battle for conquest into a struggle for survival, a Marshall specialty since Dog Soldiers. Only Arianne (Solitary Man‘s Imogen Poots), a medicine woman who treats Bothos’s wounds, arrives as a light in the darkness, holding out the promise of romance should Quintus make it out of Pict territory alive. Though Centurion isn’t a world away from historical epics like Braveheart and Gladiator–and succumbs to some of the same genre clichés–Marshall conjures up more of a Western feel with the Romans standing in for cowboys and the Picts for Indians. There’s carnage aplenty, but also stunning Highland vistas in shades of emerald and teal. And though Fassbender is a fine actor, West and Kurylenko end up stealing the show by virtue of their more dynamic performances. –Kathleen C. Fennessy
Centurion

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sun Oct 17, 2010 8:48 pm

http://coffeeandpieohmy.typepad.com/coffee-and-pie-oh-my/2010/10/centurion.html

10/17/2010
Centurion

Film-Centurion-570
Written and directed by the British genre specialist Neil Marshall (The Descent), Centurion is one badass Roman warrior epic. It’s so good, in fact, that I’m baffled as to why it failed to receive a wide U.S. theatrical release. In August, it appeared in a handful of theaters, grossed $120,000 domestically and then pretty much disappeared. Look for it to garner considerable interest among action fans and history buffs when the swords-and-sandals splatterfest comes to DVD and Blu-ray on November 2.

The movie is an astonishing return to form for Marshall, who followed up the critical and commercial success of The Descent with Doomsday, a post-apocalyptic thriller that, while energetically directed, failed to live up to its predecessor. Whereas Doomsday was something of a hodgepodge – part Blade Runner rip-off, part Monty Python and the Holy Grail played straight, with the cast of Mad Max flown in for good measure – Centurion is much more tightly focused. It zeroes in on Rome’s military campaign in Caledonia in the year 117 AD. Ill-equipped for guerilla warfare and facing a rough terrain, the Ninth Legion is all but wiped out by an insurgent force known as the Picts. The film follows eight soldiers as they attempt to escape the country with their lives.

The battle scenes are pure, bloody spectacle, distinguished by a filmmaker with an uncommonly focused eye for poetic horror imagery. They make Ridley Scott’s historical action pictures (Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood) look about as violent as a David Lean epic. You want exploding blood packs? We’ve got exploding packs! Heads are lopped off not at the neck but at the nose, splashing the blue-tinted landscape with red. One is reminded of the central image in The Descent: the heroine, crazed and vengeful, swimming through a river of blood. Marshall makes vividly clear that war is not just a battle of man versus man but also of man versus nature. The soldiers must contend with the elements: mosquitoes, wolves and even fallen logs, which, if stepped on the wrong way, might leave you a mangled mess.

Olga

The most familiar name in the cast is Michael Fassbender, who plays one of the few surviving soldiers. A major talent, Fassbender had a lot more to work with in his two star-making performances: as the smooth-talking movie critic in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and as the Christ-like IRA soldier Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen’s Hunger. His character in Centurion is one of those quiet-hero types familiar from ‘80s action flicks. The British thespian makes the most of it, proving he has the charisma for above-the-title roles. Olga Kurylenko, the Ukrainian actress/model who played the Bond girl in Quantum of Solace, has a far meatier role as Etain, a mute warrior from a Celtic tribe. As a little girl, Etain saw her family butchered by Roman soldiers before having her tongue cut out. Now, she hunts the Romans with ferocious tenacity. Beautiful and scary at the same time, her presence haunts the film: a babe in wolf’s clothing.

Shot on a relatively meager budget of $15 million, Centurion is a first-rate action picture. It at least partially tells a true story. The Romans lost their military campaign in Caledonia, and the empire’s territories fell in the following few centuries. Before leaving a land dubbed “the graveyard of ambition,” one of the soldiers observes that “we fought for nothing.” The film ends with a friendly fire incident and a politically convenient cover-up. Of course, none of this has any relevance to what’s going on in the world today, none whatsoever.

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:00 am

http://www.pluckyoutoo.com/2010/10/movies-with-milky-centurion.html

Monday, October 18, 2010
Movies with Milky: Centurion

Is CG blood cheaper or easier? I just want to know why it's so prevalent these days. Everything from Rob Zombie putting a CG Bowie knife in someone's chest in THE DEVIL'S REJECTS to the virtual buckets of CG blood in Neil Marshall's latest, CENTURION. It looks so fake. Are squibs too dangerous? I'm guessing it makes filming a lot easier, as the Pict just falls down and then we can add the gore later, so if they flub it, no re-shoot required. However, I'll forgive this latest film by the guy who gave us DOOMSDAY (full review) THE DESCENT and DOG SOLDIERS because he makes films that are just so much damn fun that I can overlook their flaws. This one has the usual- some off pacing with an overlong second act, and a few meandering subplots that could have used a rewrite- but they are easily forgiven with the tons of bloody action we get. Marshall knows how to engage the audience and he does a great job here.

My kingdom for a tongue!

CENTURION tells the story of the Roman Ninth Legion (wikipedia link) which was glossed over in the history books, due to the Romans' brutal defeat by an uprising of the Picts. I liked this bloody version better than the fun sword & sandal version THE LAST LEGION (full review) that came out a few years back. Michael Fassbender (the British spy who can't count to 3 in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS) plays Centurion Quintus Dias, the lone survivor of the most remote garrison north of Londinium in the overstretched Roman Empire. The story begins after we meet him, and soon a guard has a spear thrust into his crotch and the place is overrun by marauding Picts, in a spectacular and bloody battle that doesn't rely on silly movie cliches. Don't get attached to anyone, because in a swordfight, people get hurt...

The problem with rabble is there's so many of them!

Quintus escapes, and flees south to get the rest of the legion ready for this onslaught, but the Picts are very well prepared with ambushes. The leader has a "tame Pict" tracker played by Olga Kurylenko - Camille from QUANTUM OF SOLACE- who unfortunately had her tongue cut out by Roman soldiers as a child. Unfortunate because this gives us a mute female lead, but I guess her accent might have been odd, given that everyone has a British one. Anyway, she's the female badass in this Marshall flick, and I like his better than Joss Whedon's, because they actually look like they can kick your ass instead of being anime characters from a fanboy's wet dream. She's got the Rhona Mitra role this time, except she can't say any snappy one-liners.

Run, Fassbender, run!!

The story bogs down a bit with betrayals and aborted rescues, but the battles are a blast, and it's a fitting tale to explain the loss of the Ninth Legion. It's a lot like OUTLANDER (full review) without aliens, and I'm glad more films like this are being made. If CG blood allows us to have more bloody sword & sandal flicks, then so be it! This one is definitely worth a rental, and I'll be adding the Blu-Ray to my collection when it is released. Milky loved it as well, and recommended it. I haven't seen this many heads get lopped off since the French Revolution (yes, I was there) and the battles will make you fondly remember BRAVEHEART and GLADIATOR. Fave kill? Someone gets chopped in the mouth and the whole top of their head gets removed.

Rating:
3.5 severed tongues out of 5

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:16 pm

http://blog.stevepalmer.com/2010/10/dvd-centurion-blu-ray.html

Saturday, October 16, 2010
DVD: Centurion (Blu-ray)

Ahh, a good day, but a busy one. I had a speedy journey back (from the school), and arrived home around 5.30. The girls had bought me a chocolate bottle of wine with ‘Mr Chairman’ piped on it – excellent!

We then sat down to a good meal of steak and chips with a glass of wine or three. Next, rifled-through through my growing collection of unwatched (I’ve just been too busy!) Blu-ray DVDs and chose Centurion, a sort of Gladiator-lite but with (even) more blood and (much) less of a story.

Starring Michael Fassbender, it’s certainly not a film to watch whilst eating your kebab if you’re squeamish. It didn’t hold-back in the blood department or the ‘thuds’ and ‘squelching’ sounds during the numerous fight-scenes – yuk! – and was the most graphically violent films I’ve ever seen.

On the plus side, the scenery was stunning (New Zealand?) and the sound-track was pretty good too! Definitely worth a watch – just don’t eat at the same time!

stars45

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:41 am

http://adhocclassicism.blogspot.com/2010/11/legio-ix-hispana.html

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Legio IX Hispana

I had been looking forward to seeing the new Roman-era film, Centurion, for quite some time. After release, it turned out to be a straight-to-DVDer and I later found this to be very surprising, considering the quality I saw when I finally watched the film last night. Brand spanking new to the local RedBox, my wife picked it up for me on a special request.

Barring two or three historical inaccuracies, I was very pleased with the Neil Marshall-directed flick. Centurion stars Northern Irish-born Michael Fassbender (300, Inglourious Basterds) as Centurion Quintus Dias and Dominic West (300, The Punisher: War Zone) as General Titus Flavius Virilus in a solid, Mark Antony-esque performance. The story follows Dias, captured by the Picts, a Scottish people out of Northern Britannia, and his return to the Roman fold just before finding himself on the run again from the often blue-faced Celts. Movies boasting the ragtag crew-drawn-together-by-fate element usually repell me, but Neil Marshall simply makes it work here. His ragtag crew is a group of legionary survivors of the forest Pict surprise attack, and Marshall really did his homework by seeing to it the soldiers were native to assorted lands outside of the Italian peninsula (as legions and auxiliary units were often made up of soldiers hailing from all over the Roman Empire). In a realistic scenario, the crew, led by the charismatic Dias, sheds their armor and flees for the nearest Roman garrison, several days journey away. Of course, the Picts are hot on their trail, led by the attractive but often frightening Etain, a Pict whose extraordinary skills as a tracker have been enhanced by her loss of speech (her tongue was cut out by Romans when she was a child). Suffice it to say, she has a pretty heavy axe to grind with the survivors of the 9th Legion, or the Legio IX Hispana. The entire film, my wife sided with Etain and the Picts, as she claims a heavy Scottish ancestry, while I cast my lot with Dias, our films reluctant hero.

The historical inaccuracies were few in number but they were present. The legionary short swords, the gladius, was throughout the film used as thrusting and hacking weapon. In actuality, the swords were only used for thrusting, as they were very sharp at the tips but not so much on the edges of the double blade. Hacking was done by way of the Roman axe. The second inaccuracy was the presence of a witch in pagan Britannia. Yes, this was probably a normal thing to see during the first century AD, the time in which the film takes place. The thing is, the Picts have banished one of their own, Arianne, played by Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later), for being a witch when they themselves at this time practiced Druid-like rituals, probably not much different than that of what we now consider to be witchcraft. Maybe she was to the Picts what they considered to be a witch inside their pagan religion, but I doubt the writer of the film had this in mind when penning the script. It was almost like Arianne's part was only written as an instrument of aid to Dias and his men, which she turned out to be. The only reason she wouldn't be living among her fellow Picts at this would be due to banishment. If you want to banish someone, what better way to do it than to call them a witch?

Films set in the Roman era are really few and far between these days, and when one like Centurion comes along I of course jump at the chance to see it. I didn't like the film simply because it's a new Roman movie. I liked it because it's a good story with good acting and good cinematography. Chase movies are fun and that's what this one is, reminding me of a perfect mix between Gladiator and Apocalypto. The movie is very gory, almost over the top, but this didn't take away from the story. Roman battles were bloody, but I doubt many soldiers took a well-aimed spear to the mouth as seen in Centurion.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Before I saw it, it was on my Christmas list. Now that I've seen it, it's still on my Christmas list. There are several movies that I can honesty say that I wish I had written, and Centurion is probably one of them. Michael Fassbender and Dominic West give the best performances by far, but most others aren't too far behind. Hadrian's Wall makes a cameo in this film and I initially thought that Governor Julius Agricola was actually Hadrian until logic got the better of me. Hadrian was at this time living it up in Rome with wife and boyfriend on the side. In any case, Centurion is well worth the watch and I expect to like it even more the second time.

Posted by Liam Hoyle at 3:30 PM

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:32 pm

http://gospelofsparky.blogspot.com/2010/11/eye-candy-481-centurion.html

Monday, November 8, 2010
Eye Candy #481 - "Centurion"
Centurion: The latest offering from director Neil Marshall (“Dog Soldiers”, “The Descent”), this film is about the Roman Ninth Legion and their mysterious “disappearance” in 2nd century Britain while fighting against the Picts (some say “disappearance”, others say annihilation). Very much in the same vein as “King Arthur” from several years back, with shades of “Gladiator” thrown in as well, this is basically a violent, gory chase picture, as the survivors of the Ninth Legion attempt to save their general and flee to safety behind Hadrian‘s Wall, all while avoiding the Pict soldiers that are chasing after them. Lots of familiar faces here - Michael Fassbender in the lead, Dominic West, Liam Cunningham (a Marshall alum), David Morrissey, Noel Clarke, to name a few. It’s a good cast. And when I say ‘gory’, I mean it - beheadings, throats slit, axes to the forehead, spears to the chest, death by tree, arrows to the face, all manner of pleasantness. Blood positively explodes out of people. Not high art, fairly mindless, but entertaining for what it is. Woodchuck sez, “Worth a look.”
Posted by Sparky the Woodchuck at 6:08 PM

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:16 pm

http://flicksfan.blogspot.com/2010/11/movie-reviews-centurion.html

MOVIE REVIEWS: CENTURION
ON DVD

A Roman soldier (Michael Fassbender) leads a small band of troops on a mission to rescue a key Roman general after becoming trapped in the territory of their sworn enemies in this period action-adventure film from director Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday). The year is A.D. 117: despite the growing strength of the Roman Empire, a fierce tribe known as the Picts has prevented Hadrian's armies from conquering northern Britain. The Picts offer a devastating display of their guerilla power when they raid a Roman frontier fort, and Quintus just barely manages to escape with his life. Thirsting for revenge, Quintus joins General Virilus' Ninth Legion as the squadron begins traveling north on a mission to find and kill Gorlacon, the leader of the Picts. That mission is complicated when the Ninth Legion is ambushed and General Virilus is captured, leaving his men stranded behind enemy lines. Now, as the Quintus and the surviving members of the Ninth Legion are hunted from the shadows, they prepare to make one last, desperate bid to save General Virilus and reach the Roman frontier before being captured or killed by the Picts. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Director: Neil Marshall

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

Release Date: Aug 27, 2010

Rated R for grisly images, strong bloody violence and language

Runtime: 1 hr. 37 min.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller

Review:

Neil Marshall’s Gladiator meets The Warriors bloody exercise is a surprising film in many ways. Throughout the run time there are blood spurts aplenty, body parts are cleaved at a amazing rate, Marshall’s ability to keep this interesting and shoot it beautifully elevate this film over the usual genre garbage. Marshall has an exceptional talent to create films that keep genre fans happy (see The Decent, Dog Soldiers & Doomsday) but what’s generally overlooked is his growth as a filmmaker. Marshall gives this film an epic feel with huge expansive landscape shots that gives the audience a real scene of the location. It sounds like a small thing but visually it’s a huge plus for this film that occasionally falters with hackneyed scripting. The cast is all game with only a few hiccups. Michael Fassbender is impressively comfortable in a leading man role. He brings a nice sense of gravitas even when delivering some of the more wooden dialogue. Olga Kurylenko is hit or miss throughout; occasionally she finds the right sense of danger and menace while other times it looks like she’s just playing dress up. Marshall’s wife Axelle Carolyn actually comes off far more menacing in a small role. Dominic West delivers solid work but he’s given a terribly small role. Those looking for a strong history lesson should probably look elsewhere but those looking for a solid piece of genre filmmaking that’s fairly entertaining throughout should find plenty to like here.

B
Posted by Daniel at 9:50 AM
Labels: David Morrissey Neil Marshall, Dominic West, MOVIE REVIEWS: CENTURION Michael Fassbender, Noel Clarke, Olga Kurylenko

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:16 pm

http://www.lifepurposepassionandtrustinggod.com/2010/11/centurion-moment.html

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A Centurion Moment

I had the opportunity to watch the movie Centurion this past weekend and although I'll admit there was plenty of gruesome bloody scenes, I enjoyed it. I'm not one for horror/scary rampant killing movies but I will take one like this plus if you know me, then you know that I will just about find a message out of anything. So here we go Smile

This movie shares a story of a Roman soldier (Quintus Dias played by Michael Fassbender) leading his (remaining) army of men home after a horrible massacre. Sounds simple enough but the problem comes in when the journey home is pursued by an enemy woman from a type of guerilla fighters group with one mission on their mind: killing romans. The soldiers are tracked through the woods with every mood they make being found out. But here is the defining moment (and hence my message).

"I don't know about you but I'm tired of running"

With not even a handful of men left to fight, Quintus Dias decides that enough is enough and takes a stand. Not just any stand though. This is a stand to FIGHT. We are going to use what we have and then fight and that's exactly what he does. I won't tell you what happened (this time) but in that moment I thought about how we too as believers have to at some point decide to take a stand and fight. We too have an enemy that has one mission and that is to "kill, steal and destroy us"(John 10:10) and if we don't at some point stop to fight then we might be running all of our life and therefore taking a chance of dying on the journey.

So I ask....what are you running from? Are you running from the debt collectors that call you every day? Are you running from love or a responsibility in a relationships? (side note: we can avoid people because we don't want to "fall" but I think it's time to learn how to handle the situation) What about a dream and fear is chasing you? What ever it is, decide to fight. Use the word of God, use friends to talk to but remain and fight. Yes you may get a little "dirty" but what child does not when learning how to walk.

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" ~ Philippians 2:12


Posted by Monica Alicia at 8:03 AM

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:41 pm

http://celluloidinsanity.blogspot.com/2010/11/review-145-centurion.html

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Review #145 - Centurion
RATING: ☺☺

After the extra sugary dose from 'Letters to Juliet', I was feeling a bit sticky (from the sugar mind you). I needed to wash it off, and the best way to do it is...blood. Lots and lots of blood. After seeing the trailer from Centurion, I figured that was exactly the cleaning solution I needed. Lots of testosterone to counter the effects of all that estrogen induced fantasy, and cold barren landscapes of Britannia to contrast with the honey like Tuscan vineyards. Although it did clean my system, I was left feeling a bit dirty nonetheless. I'm beginning to think Neil Marshall's 'The Descent' was a one hit wonder. Everything else I've watched from him so far have been severely inferior.

The film is based on the massacre of Roman Legions in Teutoburg, Germania. The story will lead you to believe it's based on the mysterious disappearance of the IX Legion, one of the most feared legions in Roman history, at the hands of the Picts in Britannia. Truth is, nobody is sure about the fate of the ninth. There are evidence that shows the ninth was still active in Germania after serving some time in Britannia. It doesn't really matter. The only reason I said this is based is the battle of Teutoburg, is because some parts of the first battle scene in the film are almost an exact copy of a reenactment of the battle I once saw in one documentary in the History channel. I kid you not. The same camera angles, the same shots, same action. This is becoming a staple in Neil Marshall's work. Everything seems to have been 'borrowed' from other sources. This was especially evident in Doomsday, but it's also present here. But the film is not even about the story of the legion, it's about a bunch of survivors from the battle trying to return back to safety while being hunted down by the Picts.

I can't really say I didn't enjoy the film, but after the last one, I guess anything with some grit would look good. It's not that Centurion is good. Let's start with the plot. The film is basically broken in two halves:
First half introduces some of the main characters and leads to the first battle. Here, Marshall does try to give you a feeling for a couple of the characters, mainly the centurion (Michael Fassbender) and the Roman general (Dominic West), but it's not very effective, and due to the nature of the second half of the movie, there's simply no time for more character development. It's almost like the director was in a hurry to get to the battle and wasn't to be bothered with minor details such as characterization. This is evident in the introduction of the Pict scout Etain (Olga Kurylenko). Such a key character is just thrown in the story as someone of trust to the Romans, without a single explanation of her background or the reasons why she should be trusted. She's mute. How did she gain the trust of the Romans? Are we expected to believe an experienced general which so far seems to possess common sense, would blindly trust a Pict woman who doesn't talk? This is the perfect example of the rushed job nature of the plot. It hurts the credibility of everything that comes afterwards. The first half ends with the clash between Romans and Picts.
After the battle takes place, the film begins it's second half, in what I like to call, the marathon men segment. Basically, the seven survivors run for their lives. And run. And then run some more. I'm not exactly a couch potato kinda a guy, but let me tell you, the film left me exausted just by seeing them run. And run. And run. See what I mean when I said there wouldn't be time for character development? Hard to do it while running all the time. There are a few pauses in the action to try and do precisely that, but for the most part they would be better off not doing it at all. You'll get some glimpses on what makes Etain tick and Brick's (Liam Cunningham) personality, but it's too little. It's hard to care for the fate of characters you don't know well enough. It's not enough to know the guy is a cook to make it care for him. Plot problems persist in this second half. It starts with a very unrealistic decision made by the romans, which I won't say to avoid spoil anything, continues with inconsistencies in character behaviour (some of the romans) and talents (how does a hunter who can smell his prey from yards away, suddenly loses that ability when the prey is right under his nose?), and ends with the introduction of a romantic subplot that feels somewhat out of place. Actually, I was not so much against the introduction of the Imogen Poots character, as I was for the holes in logic necessary to make it work in the end.
Overall, my biggest problem with the movie was plot/script decisions and weak characterization (I could live without the intrusive and unnecessary voice-overs throughout the movie too). It's just too much for the good stuff in 'Centurion' to balance things out. Lets's talk about those.
The battles. As I said before regarding the first battle, some parts look like an episode of the History channel, which sounds a bit lame for a feature film. I suppose the budget for the film didn't allow for better? Fortunately things improve once the hand to hand combat begins. Any budgetary constraints are cleverly disguised with some quick editing. Not so quick that you can't follow the action, but quick enough to make up for the obvious lack of extras. And it's freaking brutal. Every body part which can be chopped off in battle, probably is, and you'll get to watch it in full technicolor glory. I must applaude the decision not to shy away from the carnage as it lends a certain realism and consistency to the time period this is taking place. Everything in the film looks primitive and rough around the edges. Everything from the clothing and equipment, to the villages and the forts, helps create a believable time period in what was a frontier zone for the Roman Empire. Therefore, it's only fitting the violence of warfare to be depicted the way it is. The cinematography is great, and as far as I can tell, this was shot on location and not done by computers. It looks so much better this way.
The acting. I actually liked the actors. I just think they didn't have much to work on. Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and Liam Cunningham, if given some time and decent material in the film, could have turned things very interesting indeed. Olga Kurylenko as the bad ass chick really owns the movie...without uttering a single word, which was possibly the wisest decision by Neil Marshall ;-) That fact speaks volumes of what you can expect from 'Centurion'

I was a bit unsure on my personal rating for this film, but I doubt it's something I would watch a second time. Too many blunders to really make it worth. Unless you're a fanatic about all things Roman, or complete gaga with Kurylenko, you'll probably better off giving this a pass.

at 15:07

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:13 pm

http://insidepulse.com/2010/11/15/monday-morning-critic-centurion-jessica-alba-and/

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – Centurion

Something that’s bugged me about the rise of Sam Worthington is that for all the hype about his talent, and how he was the next big star, when I have yet to see the talent that’s been hyped for so long. He’s been in a number of high profile films, and he was an adequate action hero in them, but he doesn’t really have a screen presence or charisma that a guy who headlines a handful of summer blockbusters is supposed to. I just don’t see it in him. I see lots of others who have it but just haven’t had the opportunity to show it, like Timothy Olyphant or Michael Fassbender.

Olyphant finally has his chance with Justified, one of the best shows on television that people aren’t watching en masse. Fassbender has had a slow but steady rise since he hit the big time with 300, given the distinction of having one of history’s greatest one-line taunts. He’s not quite a huge star, but after the next X-Men film everyone will know who he is. And they’ll want to check out Centurion, a sort of poor man’s 300 revolving around the doomed Ninth Legion of the Roman Army.

It has a rather simple premise: Dias (Fassbender) is the sole survivor of an attack and captured by the enemy. Rescued by the Roman Ninth, and later betrayed from within, he ends up amongst a small group of survivors who has to fight their way from behind enemy lines all the back to safe territory. Think of The Warriors but with Gladiator sensibilities, from the guy behind both Descent films and Doomsday.

Eschewing things like character development and plot for near non-stop action sequences; this is essentially District B13 for the epic set. At a trim 90 minutes or so, this is a really quick viewing. Marshall has an insanely high pace that he keeps up, with a pause only a handful of times, for the length of the film. It gives the film a sense of urgency that is reminiscent of The Warriors but with the violence knob turned all the way up. This is a swords and sandals film that really pushes the limit of the R-rating for a change.

The problem is that this is the popcorn version of the usual epic swords and sandals film; there’s enough room that another hour of material of character development that the film could compete with the usual sorts like Gladiator as there’s a story to be found here about a group of men trying to get home against all odds. As it is Centurion is a nice find on DVD and bound for cult status for all the right reasons.

Slightly less than strong recommendation.

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Re: Centurion Reviews 3

Post by Admin on Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:31 pm

http://paracinema.net/2010/11/centurion/

Centurion

0 Comments 12 November 2010

Centurion (2010)

Written and directed by Neil Marshall

Starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko

The last release from Magnet’s second run of their 6-Shooter Film Series, Neil Marshall’s Centurion follows a group of Roman soldiers as they struggle to make their home across the wintery landscape of Northern Britain in AD 117, all the while being pursued by the merciless Picts. Subtitles helpfully inform us that the Picts have held their ground against the encroaching Roman Empire for 20 years, noting their use of guerilla tactics to overcome the imperial war machine. When our story begins, it is with the Roman’s last desperate attempt to conquer the native peoples. With the tagline “History is Written in Blood”, Centurion is out to appease the gorehound in you from the start. The problem is that it rarely takes the time to think about much else.

Right from the get-go it’s apparent that something is a little off with Centurion. The opening credits play out as the camera glides through giant, CG-names superimposed over helicopter shots panning the snowy terrain. I’m not opposed to a little stylization now and then, but this sort of unnecessary spectacle right off the bat only foreshadows the shallow energy that is to come. We are soon introduced to Quintus (Michael Fassbender, who was excellent as the British film-expert in Inglourious Basterds), a Roman soldier escaping the Picts shirtless through the snow. ”This is neither the beginning nor the end of my story” he announces in voice-over, marking perhaps the only time in the entire film that his narration is marginally useful.

Soon after his escape, Quintus meets with a troupe of fellow Roman soldiers, who are keeping the company of a Pict tracker named Etain (Olga Kurylenko). She, like the other female members of the Pict tribe, wears a lot of dramatic eye makeup for no apparent reason other than to look cool (if Doomsday is any indication, Marshall just likes his women with stylish eyes). Etain soon betrays the Romans, who lose their general as a prisoner of war. They attempt a rescue, and one of their number kills the Pict king’s son to keep him quiet during their failed stealth mission. All of this convoluted back-and-forth really only serves two purposes: 1) to provide a fight early in the film, and 2) to give the Picts a good reason to hunt the remaining Romans as they flee in retreat. This in turn gives the film a plot, and the rest of the runtime is pretty much spent as Quintus and his band of survivors try to outrun Etain and her group of hunters.

Centurion is a very bloody film, though for a movie trying to sell itself on that alone, the violence feels incredibly standard. Most battles are composed in the same way: a light blue digital filter, a shutter speed effect, and shot after shot of bodies being hacked up into CGI blood. It’s a derivation of Gladiator‘s opening sequence dumbed down by the perpetual and seemingly endless intercutting of knife-into-flesh shots. Occasionally these fight scenes have a touch of inspiration — burning boulders rolling onto a Roman squad in fearful symmetry, camera zooms revealing hidden dangers over ridges — but for the most part they seem to only serve the purpose of violent spectacle. Films like Gladiator, which Centurion borrows more than a little from, do this, but append the death with meaningful character development demonstrating how the violence has affected the protagonists.

When Centurion does slow down, it almost seems as though it will have something more complicated to say about what’s going on. Does it bother Quintus that his nemesis Etain is fighting them because her family was raped and tortured by Romans when she was a child? Are the Romans (conquerors of natives) really the good guys here? When (SPOILER) Quintus kills the Roman traitor in his group, is it at all meaningful that that traitor is the man responsible for killing the Pict king’s son, and thus Quintus is the one delivering the Pict’s final vengeance? These complications are mostly glossed over and made more palatable by narrative contrivances — the traitor pulls a knife on Quintus first, so no introspection necessary here. (END SPOILER) Occasionally Marshall tries to imbed the film’s quieter moments with meaning by use of the pre-discussed narration, but again, the clichés Quintus delivers explicitly tell us how he is feeling, rather than allowing Fassbender (a very talented actor) to communicate those sentiments with his face. One example: “What cruel devices does Fate have in store for us, that we find sanctuary in the home of our enemy…is she angel, or devil?” In not allowing the actors to act out their doubts, desires, and inner conflicts, the film dismisses any complicated human emotion they may be experiencing in lieu of an easily-digestible one-liner.

There are some interesting choices in Centurion. I particularly appreciated the character’s use of curse words and slang — period pieces often forget how normal people talk, and it was savvy of Marshall to put colloquial dialogue into the mouths of his characters. Also interesting is the political turn at the film’s ending, where (SPOILER) the Roman government decides that Quintus, as the sole survivor of the ordeal, should die lest he reveal to the world that the Roman Empire ever suffered a defeat. Even this, however, quickly turns into a stylish limb-removing brawl (more CGI blood!) that inexplicably segues into a happy ending. (END SPOILER) It was also nice to see Noel Clarke (Mickey from “Doctor Who”) in a supporting role. When all is said and done, however, Centurion is a one-act film more interested in its bouts of bloodshed than the more complex reasoning behind them. Like 300, it treats the past with unforgivable simplicity. As one character remarks, “We fought for nothing.” Exactly.

Grade: C-

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