Reviews

Centurion

3

Roman runaways hit the woad…

As pigtailed fatso Obelix was wont to say in the Asterix comic books, these Romans are crazy. And the doomed warriors of the Ninth legion probably had to be to march into Scotland in 117 AD, never (so the legend goes) to be seen again.

Later this year Kevin Macdonald will offer his idea of what happened in The Eagle Of The Ninth. Before that we have Centurion, a blood and thunder epic from Neil Dog Soldiers Marshall that employs this enduring mystery as the basis for a brutal survival thriller that replaces The Descent’s chicks with picks with Picts and conscripts.

As those films showed, Marshall is never happier than when following a dwindling band of heroes being picked off one by one by a savage superior force. Small wonder that, after a few large-scale skirmishes which end with the Ninth decimated and its general (Dominic West) taken captive by Celtic opposite number Gorlacon (Ulrich Thomsen), Centurion narrows its focus to concentrate on seven fugitives.

Led by Quintus (Michael Hunger Fassbender), the sole Roman survivor of an earlier raid on a frontier fort, the pack races to get back across the English border before their woad-wearing pursuers – themselves headed by mute, revenge-seeking banshee Etain (Olga Kurylenko) – catch up with them.

The trouble with this tactic is it frontloads the film with most of its Gladiator and 300-style carnage, peaking too soon with a fiery forest ambush reminiscent of Spartacus.

As a result Centurion gets noticeably less exciting as it goes along, slowing to a crawl during a ho-hum interlude that sees Quintus find refuge and romance with scarred Scottish outcast Imogen Poots.

West’s macho swagger makes a neat complement to Fassbender’s steely resolve, while Kurylenko compensates for her lack of verbals with a feral ferocity only hinted at in Quantum Of Solace.

Like Doomsday before it, alas, Marshall’s latest is more a collection of striking set-pieces than a satisfying whole, for all its eye-snagging vistas and muddy mayhem.

 

Verdict:

Neil Marshall ticks off another genre with an entertaining if uneven historical drama that starts stronger than it finishes.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • PeteSavage

      Apr 23rd 2010, 16:03

      3

      I attended the Centurion screening last night, at the Exclusive "Soho Club" MEMBERS only, celebrity hang-out. The story is set in Roman times in England, and apart from some modern day English, it certainly looked realistic, and historically accurate. The film was action packed, with some great fight scenes. Great British cast, job done.

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      Apr 26th 2010, 13:48

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    • chaosdefined

      Sep 7th 2010, 17:38

      2

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    • chaosdefined

      Sep 7th 2010, 17:45

      2

      Aside from the fact the storyline and action scenes feel recycled and that the pace slows down more and more until the facepalm of a conclusion. What makes this film even more difficult to swallow, is that you can never really empathise with an invading army. On one side we have the Romans, who are trying to conquer Scotland and kill it's people. On the other side we have the Picts who are trying to defend their children and homes, and the whole chase to the border ensues after the murder of a Pict child during a camp infiltration scene. It seems Neil Marshall should really just stay away from films in which he tries to vilify the Scots and try to make something with a bit more substance to it.

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    • kondomuser

      Dec 10th 2010, 21:58

      5

      This movie is a masterpiece of violence and surreal mid evil gore .The story is not unique but execution is flawless. Nobody cares about historical accuracy or love stories in these type of movies and comic relief among killers is just in the way of the action .So in my eyes it is the best movie it can possibly be in the frame it is been set .So let's not be hypocritical and ask anything more because it's not needed at all.

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    • jimb45

      Jan 23rd 2011, 3:23

      5

      This movie was definitely different. I am not sure what to think about this movie at all. I did not like it at all. whistleblower protection act

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