<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Starring Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Abaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland, Paz Vega, Currie Graham, Sasha Roiz
Pompeii is yet another gladiator-slave movie in 3D that fits the formula and cliché with just a smidgen of a redeeming twist at the end.
3D and mythology seem to go hand in hand
Romans, Greeks, Gods and battles in the arena seem to be filmmaker’s favourites now what with 3D tech getting all-pervasive. But it’s so darn predictable. Downtrodden and orphaned underdog kid grows up to despise the rulers of the kingdom and plots revenge but then falls in love with the princess and must do battle in the arena, usually with a beefy black guy as a sidekick. Sound familiar?
Kneel before the mighty Rome
Rome seems just as bad as Hitler’s conquered empire doesn’t it. Tyrannical, merciless rulers, slaves and slaughter are common to both. So here in 79 AD – I have no idea when that is – little Milo’s parents are hacked off by Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) and 17 years later Milo is a strapping champion fighter called the Celt but neither Corvus nor his bodyguard Proculus seem to have aged more than a week!
Then Milo catches the eye of Cassia (Emily Browning) the daughter of the ruler of Pompeii and blah, blah, blah. Well I don’t really have to tell you the story now do I?
To the victor go the spoils
For the first half, Pompeii plays out predictably enough with love blooming between Cassia and Milo, and Senator Corvus getting all jealous since he wants Cassia for his bride and makes Milo fight in the arena, to the death. Leading to a pretty high-adrenalin battle where Milo’s new slave buddy Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Abaje) becomes yet another token black man assisting the white protagonist and doing a much better job than the hero, I might add.
Paul W.S. Anderson has had a series of flops and poorly rated films so no surprises with this one. The dialogue is sloppy and not until the second half do you get some reasonably good sequences when Mt. Vesuvius erupts and steals the show from all the actors who do what they are predictably expected to do.
Sure the end is a tad unconventional but it’s not really impressive since the lead actor Kit Harington fails miserably as a leading man, though he’s leagues better than Kellan Lutz’s in the latest Hercules movie.