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Stars: Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko, Dominic West, Imogen Poots, David Morrissey, Noel Clarke, Ulrich Thomsen, Rachael Stirling

Director: Neil Marshall

Letting the maximum amount of blood spurt on to the screen seems to be the main idea of director Marshall in this bleak action movie, shot in bizarre blue-tinged colour and set in 147 AD.

Rome's most northerly British outpost is set upon by Picts, who rather surprisingly massacre practically the entire garrison, leaving centurion Quintus Dias (Fassbender) as the only survivor. Rescued from picts by a Roman legion based in Carlisle and headed by Titus Virilus (West), Quintus joins the legion - but amazingly this lot, admittedly led into an ambush by treacherous Pict enforcer Elain (Kurylenko), get rolled over by the Picts as well.

One again Quintus survives, this time with six others, promising his dying general that he will 'get his soldiers home'. He doesn't, of course.

The rest of the movie is an orgy of head-chopping and throat-slitting, briefly interrupted for Quintus to fall in love with a white witch (Poots). Alas, Quintus's seven are hardly magnificent, the characters are not ones we care about, and the slaughter becomes monotonous, especially when photographed in Deluxe Colour at its very worst.

Alan Frank

UK 2009. UK Distributor: Pathé (Warner Brothers). Colour by Deluxe.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

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

Review date: 18 Apr 2010