When the film 300 first hit the big screen in 2006, I couldn't have been more excited. After getting a chance to see the movie I felt like this film had completely lived up to my expectations. It was original, something new and different. Of course after it was released Hollywood took it upon itself to use the stylized type of shooting and slo-mo action scenes to the fullest. You would see it popping up everywhere in other action flicks and even that soft core porn/ cheesy TV series Spartacus. When word that 300 was getting a follow-up film, I was left with mixed emotions. On one hand I wanted to go back to that world and dig deeper, and on the other, I was just waiting for Hollywood to just ruin this movie. The other night had finally had the chance to check out the prequel/sequel to 300, 300: Rise of an Empire and I must say, it was better than I had expected, but let’s break it down here.
When I say that i felt that it was better than expected, I don't mean to say that I loved it. It was an okay movie. Really this is one of those movies for guys who like movies. A man's man type of flick. In the opening scene we are faced with soldiers wrestling with a topless woman and of course there is a ton more fighting and blood than even the original could bring to the screen. Rise of an Empire gives us a lot more story behind 300. We not only get the back story to what all those guys were fighting about in the first movie, but you get a look into what happens in other parts of the world while the 300 guys of the original film are fighting off the Persians, plus you get what happens after they fall and how everything else plays out.
The main character is this film and our hero is Greek general Themistokles, played by Sullivan Stapleton. We see him being not only the cause for much of the fighting and war in this film, but also has the sole guy who is trying rally the troop to defend his lands from the invading and super pissed-off Persians and their "God King" Xerxes (remember this sparkly gem from the first film?). This time though, Xerxes is not alone, and we get a look and the one who is actually orchestrating most of these attacks and that is his father's head warrior, a woman named Artemisia (played by Eva Green). Artemisia is the kind of bad ass warrior woman that makes a lot of the guys in this film look like weak feeble wimps. After having her family slaughtered by the Greeks and herself being held prisoner and brutalized by them for several years, she is cast aside and left for dead, until a Persian man finds her and nurses her back to health, but not only that, he also teaches her to fight better than most of the Persian warriors. With a chip on her crazy shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon they push forth to crush anyone who gets in their way.
She killed 300 Greeks with this stare alone.
There are a few familiar faces from the first film, Lena Headey reprises her role as Queen Gorgo & David Wenham is back as Dilios. There are also plenty of clips of Gerard Butler from the first film, though he is not actually in this movie.
This film offers plenty of action and the usual graphics you grew accustom to from the first movie. There are some over the top fight scenes and Xerxes is still as shimmery as a Twilight vampire, but the real thing that holds this movie together is the Eva Green. She is a trip to watch up there as she teeters between trying to balance between warrior woman and sexy temptress. She is just interesting enough to watch in this film that I was disappointed that she wasn't in more of it. Themistokles gets old to watch after awhile as he struggles to do the right thing and keep his men alive. We know that he is cunning and will do what's best, but it is so much more fun watching the crazy unpredictable woman on the other ship, just waiting to see which bag of crazy she is gonna open next.
Overall, I would rate this movie with B. I gave it a B because it was waaaaaay better than I expected. I didn't walk out hating it and mad that I would never get those two hours back. There was some fun action. The crowd around me really helped. Watching a movie like this with a bunch of rugby players around you is actually highly recommended because their cheers during the battle scenes totally helped with immersing me in the film. This one is not going to win any awards and no doubt most critics will hate it, but who cares, this is a film you go to for fun. Grabs your friends, maybe have a drink and just sit back and relax and enjoy this one. It is actually kind of a good time.