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300: Rise of an Empire (3D) (DQ)


Stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, Igal Naor, Callan Mulvey, Jack O'Connell, Ben Turner, Andrew Tiernan

Director: Noam Murro

Testosterone gone mad, awesome battle scenes, dreadful acting (some of the worst in a major film for some time), and limbs and heads hacked off left, right and centre, Yes, 300 is back, and this one throws in giant killer fish, a frenzied sex scene played as single combat, and even history's first suicide bomber.

The evil Persian commander (fiercely played by Eva Green) has the hero (Australia's Sullivan Stapleton) at her mercy at the climax, but somehow contrives to let him off the hook. Yes, it's that kind of film, with more fake spurting blood than you could shake a sword at.

The 300 Spartans have been killed at Thermopylae, and the Persian king Xerxes (Santoro) moves to crush all of Greece, laying waste to Athens (cue bare-breasted damsels being dragged off screaming). The Spartan queen (Headey) refuses to come to her mother country's aid with her sizeable fleet, and the gallant Themistocles (Sullivan) is left with a few ships with which to take on the mighty Persian armada.

Defeated after winning a couple of early skirmishes, he faces a final showdown at the legendary battle of Salamis. The film looks impressive, and seldom have so many rippling abs stormed across the screen: the producers must have combed half the gyms of the world for their obligatory cast of thousands.

The dialogue, though quite lacking in humour, is really no worse than in Errol Flynn's (or even Steve Reeves') day), but the delivery of it certainly is. Nothing more to say: if you like this sort of thing, you'll go to see it for the action. Discerning audiences, though, deserve more.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 04 Mar 2014