Last night was fight night as I finally got around to seeing the 300 “sequel” Rise of an Empire starring Sullivan Stapleton of HBO tv fame Strike Back.
Stapleton stars as Themistocles, an Athenian politician and general who rises up against the invading Persians, much like in the first film but this time on water. To be honest, that is the only difference…and that the Athenians have fancy blue capes rather than the striking red of Sparta.
What first stands out is that this film isn’t a sequel or a prequel as such but rather runs alongside the events of the previous film, demonstrating what was going on while Leonidas and his brave 300 were off fighting in the shade and making walls out of human flesh. Because of this, we get some lovely shots of our fallen hero king that for me was a bit nostalgic lol.
Now, the film itself, though quite long for its genre, is without a doubt action packed from the word go! Themistocles doesn’t hold back on moves and skill and although there is a lot of blood, it isnt exactly gory but artistic and of course looks like the graphic novel it is taken from. There are many a Spartan kick to behold although executed by Athenians lol but admittedly not as much eye candy in this one as its predecessor. Our home grown Jack O’ Connell (who is set to light up the big screen in the coming Starred Up) makes a surprise appearance as young Athenian Calisto, hungry for war and glory.
In addition to the bulging biceps and pulsating pectorals, we have a new addition to the gladiatorial family in the shape of Eva Green as the corrupt and evil though brilliant warrior, Artemisia; the puppeteer of Xerxes. Hers is a welcome addition to the naval battle and Themistocles’ pursuit of her on horseback across a fleet of colliding ships is truly something great to watch, unbelievable but great! The fact that everyone’s favourite Queen aka Lena Headey aka Queen Gorgo aka Queen Cersei Lannister finally joins the fighting as the amazing Spartan woman we all knew she was, is awesome!
The end battle sequence is awesome not only for the level of skill and prowess that is demonstrated but also the CGI technique that is used that makes the whole thing look like a video game!
To wrap up, 300: Rise of an Empire is wickedly entertaining although unnecessary in the sense that it doesnt really explain anything more than what we already know about the 300/Greece and their seemingly never ending battle against the Persians. The new cast do well together although the same level of comradery isnt as evident and the soldiers not as memorable in the previous film but it stills manages to work.
All in a all, a good night out for the inner warrior in all of us! AAOOH!!