Thursday, September 2, 2010

Centurion (2010)

I'm not sure how to review Centurion: on the one hand it's a basic action/travel tale movie with gratuitous violence from the 300 mould and little to no plot, direction, ending or character development.  On the other hand it's all of the above things. You can view those points as negatives if you're looking for the next Mulholland Drive, or positives if you want to kill a couple of hours watching grown men in costumes chop each other arms off. Personally I took a bit of a positive view, and it paid off. I had never heard of Centurion until after watching The Expendables and reading reviews with comparisons between the two i.e. no plot, no characterisation, lots of loud noises and death. Ever the fan of Romans (especially after the epic Spartacus) I was sold on the idea and signed up.

It doesn't matter what's going on here, you only need to know that gratuitous killing is but moments away.
It doesn't matter what's going on here, you only need to know that gratuitous killing is but moments away.

Centurion is a movie of many disjointed parts. Characters come and go, the story has no direction and we're never quite sure what this is all about. It's kind of good in that a few cliches are avoided, such as a big battle of retribution at the end or portraying either side as the real bad guys. It's kind of bad in that the movie ends and you wonder what is was all about. The answer is sword porn. Centurion is really only an excuse to take swords waved at people and lots of limbs sliced off. The methods of slaughter depicted are many and varied: decapitation, lots of throat cutting, disembowelment, stabbed, stabbed with a spear, clubbed, burned and so on. It's done quite well except for that overwrought blood thing from 300.

Good guy / bad girl
Quintus, just moments away from gutting another faceless extra

None of the actors excel and none of the chicks are especially hot. We have Michael Fassbender as the titular good guy Centurion Quintus Dias, Liam Cunningham from Dog Soldiers as a guy called Brick, Olga Kurylenko as the main bad guy...or girl as it is here, Noel Clarke from Dr Who as token black guy with very non-period accent, and Imogen Poots from 28 Weeks Later as some girl who lives in the woods.

Olga Kurylenko - Good lord. Okay, not so bad.
Olga Kurylenko - Good lord. Okay, not so bad.

Ultimately, Centurion is a drinks night movie or something best enjoyed while a little un-sober. It doesn't matter in the end whether the story made sense (or even existed), because I don't think it was supposed to. As an exercise in simple entertainment, Centurion has achieved it's objective.


Summary: An action winner with no substance past the opening credits. Leave brain at the door but bring in your 6-pack.

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