Monday, July 29, 2013

Centurion 21

Centurion (2010) was another Rod Heath/Ferdy on Film suggestion. I knew there were two of these Roman-Legion-in-Britain movies made in 2010-2011, and I could never remember which one was supposed to be good. Once I had his recommendation, I went for it.

This is basically the story of a handful of legionnaires on the Scottish border fighting a guerrilla war against the native Picts. The Legion (the lost Ninth of legend) is soon reduced to a handful, racing across the snowy mountains of Scotland, trying to get back to the Roman line. They are pursued by the beautiful but deadly Etain, played by the exotic Olga Kurylenko, in lovely woad-blue makeup.

In some ways, this is a B-movie sword-and-sandals action romp. It is incredibly bloody - There were more throatcuttings than decapitations, and there were a lot of decapitations. People administered long bloody gashes the way you might pat someone's cheek. From torture to hand-to-hand to melees, there's something for everyone.

But it is also a beautiful film, full of gorgeous scenery and settings. The rugged snow covered mountains, the rugged shirtless Michael Fassbender, the blue-tinted Kurlyenko - it seemed like more of an art film than an action movie sometimes. I understand that it was made on a slim budget, but it doesn't show in the cinematography.

I liked this a lot. I now want to see The Eagle, the 2011 movie about the lost legion. And probably Gladiator, which sort of started the trend. And... any other recent Roman epics? Has anyone remade Ben Hur?

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