300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE:
WHILE THE FILM IS A STEP BACKWARDS FROM ITS PREDECESSOR AND LACKS GERARD BUTLER, IT’S STILL A BRUTALLY FUN SEQUEL!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B+ (3 stars)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Sullivan Stapleton as Greek general, Themistokles in 300: Rise of an Empire
THIS IS SPARTA!!!!!
The epic battle between Sparta and Persia continue in this epic sequel to Zack Snyder’s 2007 megahit, 300, but this time in the director’s chair is Noam Murro (Smart People) while Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen, Man of Steel) returns as producer and writer. Despite Snyder not directing the sequel, 300: Rise of an Empire has plenty of his trademark extreme violence, over the top special effects, and gripping slow motion shots.
And while the film isn’t as great as the first one and lacks the iconic “THIS IS SPARTA!” kick into the Pit of Death, it’s a decent follow up and still very entertaining.
Returning from 300 are Lena Headey as Gorgo, the Spartan queen and widow of the deceased King Leonidas, Andrew Tiernan (Interview with the Vampire, Edward II) as the creature and Persian servant, Ephialtes, and Rodrigo Santoro (The Last Stand, I Love You Phillip Morris, Rio) as the evil Persian king, Xerxes, sorry folks no Gerard Butler, except in stock footage from the first movie.
King Leonidas and the brave 300 Spartans are dead (spoiler from the last film), and Sparta and Persia are still at war with each other. This time we take the war to the seas with Greek general, Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton-Animal Kingdom, The Hunter, Gangster Squad) and his army of soldiers, who were allies of the 300 Spartans.
They do battle with Persian forces led once again by King Xerxes and accompanying him is his war ally, Artemisia (Eva Green-Casino Royale, Dark Shadows) as the two of them plot to plunge Sparta and Greece into Persian slavery.
Overall 300: Rise of an Empire was an entertaining follow up to a great movie, I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the first one but it wasn’t bad and loaded to the bone with thrilling bloody action and special effects, just like the predecessor. However the big highlight of the new movie is Eva Green’s performance as Artemisia, the evil queen of Persia, she is very over the top, sexy, and entertaining to watch every time she’s on screen, plus you get to see her topless in one of the scenes.
If you’re a fan of the first 300 movie and bloody slow motion action, you’ll be in heaven with the sequel, it has most of the elements that made the first movie good, the action is edgy and in your face, and even better, it’s all in 3D.
The 3D was blood pumping and gut wrenchingly awesome, literally, there are a lot of scenes where it looks like the blood, body parts, and arrows are flying out of the screen; it’s even more effective in IMAX 3D.
So grab yourself a pair of 3D glasses and get your spears and helmets, and be prepared to dine in Hell with 300: Rise of an Empire.