Bloody Visuals Detract from Ancient Legends

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300: Rise of an Empire

Director: Noam Murro

Starring: Eva Green, Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Lena Headey, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, David Wenham

300: Rise of an Empire lacks the visual punch of the original 300 directed by Zach Snyder which made himself and its star Gerard Butler enormously famous. In this follow up sequel, 300 Rise of an Empire looks at the fortunes of the God King Xerxes, a fabulously gold clad Rodrigo Santoro as he attempts to invade the Greek Isles and its major city states. It shows the ruthless of the invading Persians in nautical battles which took place almost simultaneously to the battle of Thermopylae when 300 Spartans saved Greece by becoming martyrs. In 300: Rise of an Empire, audiences can expect a necrophiliac lustful and sexy naval commander Artemisia wonderfully overplayed by Eva Green (The Dreamers, Casino Royale) getting off on decapitations and drowning of her own sailors as she viciously commands the Persian fleet ordering them to defeat the Greek ships at all costs. The Greeks in this case are represented by muscle bound Themistocles who just happened to be the daring soldier that killed Xerxes father King Darius with a fateful arrow that changed the course of these two ancient civilizations.

Lena Headey (now famous in the HBO Series Game of Thrones) reprises her role as Queen Gorgo of the Spartans who not only narrates the entire ancient diatribe but also features as a plot device for avenging the death of Leonidas in 300 against the invading Persians. What makes 300: Rise of an Empire worth watching is brutal sex scene bordering on sadomasochism between Artemisa and Themistocles on board a Persian vessel reminding audiences of the tangible psychological link between sex and death.

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Unfortunately the blood visuals and excessive gore featured in 3D in this sequel detracts stylistically from what could have been a really fascinating narrative about ancient civilizations battling it out on turbulent Mediterranean seas. Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton could not rival Gerard Butler in screen presence with the only redeeming feature being the audacious Eva Green making the most of her bloodthirsty and vengeful role as the kinky and sadistic Artemisia, a tragic Greek woman who has turned on her own nation after her family was brutally slaughtered.

Ancient history buffs will enjoy 300: Rise of an Empire but this is an unworthy sequel to the fabulously dazzling and original film and will land up being regarded as mere popcorn viewing. 300 Rise of an Empire is fun, sexy and slightly disturbing but not fantastic and definitely not worth it in 3D especially as Israeli director Noam Murro chose gore and bloodlust over historical accuracy. Callan Mulvey and Jack O’Connell also star as father and son team Scyllias and Calisto valiantly fighting the Persians and providing a less than emotional subplot to the real Aegean drama of the nautical battle between Persians and Ancient Greeks.

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