ReviewWriter: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“300”, “The New World”, “ Braveheart”
Set in Britain 120 AD, a muscular Channing Tatum ("Dear John") plays Marcus Flavius Aquila, a Roman centurion commander of a battalion who after leading them to victory, was bluntly (though honourably) discharged due to a severe leg injury. Disappointed and haunted by his past, Aquila dreams of the Eagle of the Ninth, a golden idol carried as a noble military emblem last held by his father; a centurion of the Ninth Legion that mysteriously disappeared along the plains of Caledonia 20 years ago. Determined that the idol still exists, Aquila sets out on a perilous journey along with a young rescued Briton slave Esca (Jamie Bell), to redeem the idol along with the honour of his shamed father.
Based on a children's historical adventure novel "Eagle of the Ninth" by Rosemary Sutcliff, this movie adaptation remains true to its original plot but with a more sinister and violent approach as a twist. Imagine a highly fueled testosterone battle scene with flying limbs, splattered blood and you'll pretty much get the idea. Don't worry ladies this one's for you too, albeit all the action, one may also feast their eyes on Tatum and Bell.
Famed Scottish director Kevin MacDonald ("The Last King of Scotland", "State of Play"), succeeds in depicting the clash of the Romans and the Celtic tribes as historically accurate as possible, and the minimal CGI used in the battle scenes manages to keep things gritty and realistic as audiences are brought right in the thick of it. According to MacDonald's statement: "The story is about friendship; the lead characters are two people from different cultures who don't understand each other and who see the world in different ways, and who must move beyond that to see each other as human beings."
One might notice that Channing Tatum in this macho role may be at times unconvincing as a Roman warrior. Some film critics deem his deficiency of expression as lacklustre. A little more personality and depth could've helped Tatum to make his character more relatable to the audience to invoke compassion. Jamie Bell ("Jumper") however does a better job as a disgruntled slave, and scenes of him speaking in the Gaelic tongue are convincingly flawless. Do watch out for the scenes shared by Tatum and Bell on their journey to recover the idol, as it is to some extent reminiscent to the journey made by Frodo and Sam to Mordor ("The Lord of the Rings").
Audiences with a fascination for Roman history, and epic battle scenes with the just the right amount of humanity, will find themselves right at the helm with this movie.Cinema Online, 10 March 2011