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Pompeii (3D)


Stars: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland, Adelwale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Harris, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Lucas

Director: Paul W S Anderson

Historically dodgy - there was no tsunami at the destruction of Pompeii (just along the Italian coastline from Rome) in 79 AD, nor were any of its inhabitants killed by fireballs: most died from smoke inhalation when Vesuvius erupted.

Even so, this toga-clad hokum in traditional Hollywood style is full of thundering excitement and spectacle, as director Anderson gets the chance to collapse an entire city.

Fulcrum of the action is English slave Milo (Harington, yet another little-known leading man for today's epics) who, as a boy, saw his entire family massacred by Roman troops under the command of the ruthless Corvus (a performance of ripe yet relishable ham from Sutherland). Now, as a gladiator in Pompeii's grandiose arena, Milo gets to meet Corvus again, and the girl (Browning) whose family are being compelled by Corvus to give him her hand in marriage.

Milo is supposed to die in arena combat against champion gladiator Atticus (Akinnuoye-Agbaje), who has been promised his freedom if he wins one last fight. But Milo and Atticus can't be separated in battle, later combining to take on a whole platoon of Roman soldiers and demolish the lot. Cue the volcano...

Dialogue is no better than par for the spectacular course here, but there's tons of fast-moving action and eye-opening special effects as Pompeii breathes (or rather chokes) its last.

David Quinlan

Canada/Germany/USA 2014. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour by deluxe.
105 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

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

Review date: 29 Apr 2014