Centurion – Neil Marshall
The Lord of the Rings films have had a massive impact on the film industry in how films look and how certain historic events are told through the same way, but i never thought that films would then try to capitalise on the success as much as the latest British film, directed by Neil Marshall, Centurion. Described as a historical thriller, the story of a war in Scotland, leading the Ninth legion to wipe out the Picts has a strange mix of Lord of the Rings-esque scenery sequences mixed with casual violence and fighting seen in Robin Hood or Apocalypto and throw in themes seen in 300 or King Arthur. It all seems to be mixed to create a violent film about soldiers that we don’t seem to care too much about. Of course i don’t want to know their whole life and back story, but i still need to know something about them to actually care. That’s why LOTR works because we care about each individual character and their outcome in the war of the rings. Featuring a cast full of familiar British faces such as Michael Fassbender, who had a recent turn in Hollywood with a great performance in Inglorious Basterds, Dominic West, Noel Clarke, as a black athlete pushed into the war (is that racist?) and David Morrissey, plus featuring the attractive but somewhat psychotic Olga Kurylenko.
It’s a ensemble cast which features a mixed bag of shitty actors trying to be in a film that is lacking in script and emotion but makes up for it in mindless violence. The story, set in A.D. 117, sees a war between the Romans and the Picts, the Celtic’s who roam the Scottish Highlands and use guerrilla tactics to eliminate the Romans from different places, one by one. The main character is Quintus, played by Michael Fassbender, who is taken hostage after a Pict raid, but is soon saved by Roman legions that are brought in to demolish the terrifying and brutal Pict warriors. After a twist in betrayal from a Brigantian scout, a mute female named Etain and played by Olga Kurylenko, who marches the Roman legion into a trap killing nearly everyone in the legion, leaving only Quintus and six other men who have joined the fight late. Several brutal fighting scenes follow and one by one, the men are killed leaving only a handful at the end. It’s a revenge story for Etain who tracks these men to kill them for what the Roman soldiers did to her family.
With a lot of names and a lot of different characters, it’s hard to follow and grasp what’s going on and the scenes in-between the fight sequences aren’t paced right and the script is poor, overall, just a boring, over-violent, poor scripted film.