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300: Rise of the Empire

March 13, 2014

300: Rise of the Empire R

It’s always been hard for me not to go into a film screening without some level of expectation, be it positive or negative. I will readily admit that I make a conscious effort to suppress any emotions beforehand but considering the lackluster previews for the second installment of 300, the expectation level was not very high going into this thing. Also add to the fact that I’m no fan of Zack Snyder’s original 300 and that may go a long way in explaining my utter disdain and contempt for yet another in a long list of bad films that have been littering screens this year thus far.

Now that I’ve come clean regarding the baggage that I brought going into this film—which I believe is a critic’s responsibility, by the way—perhaps it’s also worth considering that it isn’t just me.

The beautiful Eva Green as Artemisia

Possibly, it’s that 300: Rise of an Empire is just a poorly made film, eager to insult the audience’s intelligence by not even making any attempt whatsoever to give moviegoers anything but the smallest skeleton of a plot and bloated action sequences that seem to go on forever. For me, the 103 minutes spent with this film couldn’t end fast enough.

If you’ve seen any number of these sword and sandal films I suppose you know what to expect. Still, I’ll fill you in on a few of the details just for good measure. In case you don’t remember how the first 300 turned out, let me remind you that all of the major characters expired before that film’s credits rolled, which would lead one to scratch their heads in wonder as to why this film even exists. At any rate, Greek General Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) is outraged at the deaths of the original 300. He makes it his mission, seeking help wherever he can get it, to defeat the Parisian army. The Parisians are spearheaded—no pun intended—by Artemisia (Eva Green). There is an attempt to explain why Artemisia has such an itch to conquer the Greeks. We are told that the Greeks murdered the kid’s family right before her eyes and then tossed the poor kid in to prison as a bonus, where lecherous men did numerous unmentionable things to her.

The film goes overboard in nearly every technical department, from the storyboarding all the way down to the horrendously overly stylized action sequences and the over the top, slow motion blood-spurting. There doesn’t seem to be one organic moment in the film. The actors, with one notable exception, bring nothing to the film either. Eva Green in her performance as Artemisia is the exception to the rule. She seems to be actually attempting to bring something to the proceedings and even offers the audience a bit more of a glimpse of herself than they may be expecting. It’s one of the few moments likely to rouse one from the dullness of the proceedings.

This movie is playing at the Carmike in Hickory, and many other theaters.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at



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