Director: Paul W. S. Anderson.
Starring: Kit Harington, Kiefer Sutherland, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss.
Running Time: 104 minutes.
Synopsis: Slave-turned-fighter Milo (Kit Harington) is shipped to Pompeii to take part in a Gladiatorial battle. Whilst there he encounters Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), the man who butchered his family. Meanwhile Mount Vesuvius, which overlooks the city, decides to reclaim the land.
Paul W. S. Anderson isn’t a director synonymous with critically acclaimed films; that’s the other Paul Anderson, the one with a ‘T’ in the middle. He does, however, know how to make guilty pleasures (who doesn’t love MORTAL KOMBAT?), and there’s a reason why so many RESIDENT EVIL movies get made. POMPEII has all the makings of the director’s calling-cards, but it won’t get any plaudits for originality. We all know about the real-life destruction of Pompeii, and the film showcases the devastation really well. It’s just the rest of the film that falters.
The plot is your usual slave-and-high-class-Lady-fall-in-love, but this Lady is betrothed to a wicked man who just so happens to be the mortal enemy of the slave boy, as he killed his entire clan. The cast of POMPEII is littered with television’s shining stars, with the principle cast being better known for their television counterparts. But seeing Jon Snow and Mr. Eko team up to take down Jack Bauer becomes rather distracting, especially when we all know who’d really win.
Few actors can play both hero and villain as skillfully as Sutherland, Jr., and as Senator Corvus he is devilishly dastardly, managing to shake-off his CTU persona to become a truly wretched man. However, Kit Harington doesn’t quite create the same distance from a certain brother of the Nightswatch, with his Celt Milo just becoming Jon Snow in a Gladiatorial arena.
The Gladiatorial bouts are breathtakingly brutal, made all the more immersive by the 3D which is less ‘throw things out the screen’, and more about enriching the environment of the film. The destruction of Pompeii is suitably CG and again the 3D element helps with ash and rubble enveloping the viewer. But this film also happens to contain one of the cheesiest endings ever committed to celluloid.
POMPEII is not a film to be taken seriously and makes a great, fun date night film as there is plenty of action for the guys and plenty of abs for the ladies. Popcorn movie lovers will be entertained, but those hoping for more depth and story will be underwhelmed.
(3 / 5) POMPEII is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday 30th April, 2014.