Saturday, August 24, 2013

Centurion 21 and Up

The Eagle (2011) is the other Lost Legion movie made in 2010-2011 (Centurion is the first one). I had heard that one of these movies is great and the other one stinks. I still don't know which is which.

The Eagle starts with Channing Tatum arriving at a small Roman fort in the north of England. He is the new commander and he is going to whip them into shape. There's a rumor that his father was in the Ninth Legion when they were overrun by the natives and lost the eagle standard - bringing dishonor on the army. But a skirmish with the locals both proves our hero's worth and gets him seriously wounded. He is put out to pasture at Donald Sutherland's villa.

But he is soon fed up with hanging around with politicians and parasites and comes up with a plan to head north, past Hadrian's Wall, with a single local slave (Jamie Bell). This 2-man guerilla operation might succeed where a legion would fail.

In many ways, the two movies are alike. The Eagle could almost be a sequel, since it takes place a generation or so after the Legion was destroyed in Centurion. The depiction of the Picts as naked tattooed savages, a little punk, a little Native American, is similar in both. The overall feeling of the two are quite different. Where Centurion was edgy, gritty and low-budget, The Eagle has a more prestige feeling, with more open, contemplative scenes.

There were a lot of fights in both, and I'm not going to score those any differently. I will say that Tatum seems too cute to be a soldier in several scenes. Bell is much more fun.

In conclusion, a spoiler: The eagle standard is being held by an odd tribe of "seal people". I am sure this is a mistaken translation for "seilie", Scots for "blessed" or "happy".

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