Suitable for a good night at home! Action and brutality, risks and despair, hope and fear. Although I've seen this plot a many times I still find myself amused when it is done well.
Truly Barbaric and no shortage of warriors hacking limbs and skewering their enemies hearts or kidneys. The movie looks awesome and the scenery is very fitting to the story.
No disappointments but then again no bars raised in my personal interests. Still... Its not a bad sitting at all.
Great Movie! It has it all. Well made and some good acting. Nice cinematography and good story, loved it because it caught me off guard.
It is A.D. 117 and the Roman garrisons are struggling to contain the Picts, the Celtic inhabitants of the Scottish Highlands. The Picts under their king, Gorlacon, are perfecting guerilla warfare and are eliminating Roman outposts one by one. Centurion Quintus Dias is the only survivor of a Pictish raid and is taken prisoner. In the meantime, the Roman governor of Britannia wants to obtain favour with the central administration, hoping to secure a transfer back to the comforts of Rome. He dispatches the Ninth Legion to the front under General Titus Flavius Virilus, providing him with a mute female Brigantian scout, Etain.
As the legion marches north, they encounter and save Dias, who has escaped. Etain betrays the legion to Gorlacon: the Romans walk into a trap and are annihilated. Dias, with six others, elude death and capture. They learn that Virilus has been taken prisoner and set out to rescue him. They find the Pictish settlement and sneak in at night, but fail to break the general's chains. As they retreat, one of them kills Gorlacon's young son. The next morning, after the dead boy is burned, the general is given a sword and made to duel with Etain, who kills him.
The seven decide to return south via a long detour over the mountains, while Etain with a Pict detachment are sent on horseback to track and kill them, in revenge for the king's son. They eventually catch up with the fugitives, who have to jump off a cliff and into a stream. One is killed by arrows while two separate, pursued by wolves. Dias and his best fighter attempt a night raid on the Pictish camp, while Etain and her warriors do the same. Several men are killed. Dias and his two followers happen upon a hut in the forest and befriend Arianne, who lives there. She shelters them and when Etain comes, she confronts her while the Romans hide under the floorboards. The next morning they leave Arianne and find the closest garrison abandoned: an order on a wall informs them that Roman troops have retreated south, to Hadrian's Wall. As they see Etain approach, they set up a trap inside the fort. A battle ensues, Dias kills Etain, and he and one wounded companion emerge victorious. By chance they reunite with one of their lost companions, who earlier killed Gorlacon's son, and wounded another Roman soldier to leave as bait for a pack of wolves hunting them. Upon reaching Hadrian's Wall, the lost companion worries Dias, who says that he will report his crimes and the two men fight with Dias as the victor. Dias' other companion, in Pictish clothing, is shot by Roman soldiers by mistake. When Dias enters the camp he reports the situation to the governor. The governor has decided to have all Ninth Legion veterans killed, so that his record is not tainted by a military failure. The governor's daughter is trusted with making sure that Dias is also killed. Dias evades the attempt on his life and returns to Arianne in the forest.
This film however, is less of an epic, and more of a historical action film. I would expect no less than that from Neil Marshall- a director whose work I've come to really enjoy, because it is entertaining and aesthetically pleasing, but also because Marshall is a good director who has talent and fulfills an audiences desire to see gore and action done with style, flair, and craft.
Since there's no real consensus as to what happeneed to the Ninth, this allows for a lot of leeway. This particular film is basically a giant chase film. Think Apocalypto but with Romans and Picts with a major lift albeit an earned one) from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and that's what this movie delivers. It tires to blend nonstop action with a but of commentary on honor, duty, and deep themes about war, politics, man versus nature, and man versus man, which I commend the filmmakers for, but in the end, this is really just a superbly well made blood and guts actioner. I'm all for blending pure action with substance, but it is hard to do well, and, even though I consider myself a fan of Marshall's work, I don't think he has quite the chops (yet) to pull this off convincingly. He is at least a little less ambitious and more focused here than he was with Doomsday, which is good, but the film doesn't quite earn the 4 stars I would love to give it. It comes close though.
Perhaps had the story and characters been fleshed out more, then I'd be able to comfortably change my grade. With that said, the performances are pretty good. There's nothing Oscar worthy here, but all things considered, the performances are pretty decent. Even Olga Kurylenko is good. Maybe it's telling that her character has no tongue, but I thought she did alright playing the role of the revenge driven warrior woman archetype. West and Fassbender fill out their roles nicely aswell.
You might think I'm treating what on the surface (and for the most part basically is) appears to be just a standard priod piece action film too kindly or in the same manner that I would an art film, but I call them like I see them. Marshall might make genre films, but he treats them like critically lauded auteurs treat their film. This type of praise is earned because he, like Rob Zombie, does actually show skill and craftsmanship, even if they use it for the types of movies most disregard.
I like the blood and mayhem, but would have liked a bit more (and better handled) substance. But that's fine because the cinematogrpahy is excellent, the pacing is just right, and the music is fitting as well. I'm torn on a specific grade, so let's just call it a split between a straight B and a low B+.
It's a step back in the right direction, but here's to hoping Marshall's next film really puts him back on track.
Centurion isn't a historical epic, it's a historical action flick. You won't get the grandeur and scope of a movie like Gladiator, but if you're looking for some violence and would like to substitute swords and arrows for shotguns and Uzis, then you could do a lot worse.
Michael Fassbender and Olga Kurylenko star on opposite sides of this movie. Fassbender is a Roman centurion in Britain who has been among the only survivors of two attacks by the warring Picts on his fellow soldiers. Kurylenko is a mute Pictish woman working with the Romans, who turns out to be more than she seems. Both of the stars prove credible in their action scenes, which are the main showpieces of the movie.
The battles are what you'd expect from (director) Neil Marshall - visceral, brutal, and with copious amounts of blood. They occur frequently, and they never fail to have a high body count. If you're at all familiar with the story/legend of the Ninth Legion (which Centurion was adapted from), then you know not to expect many of the main characters to survive. You also probably know that there really aren't any true "good guys". The Romans are fighting to control the territory they've conquered, and the Picts are fighting for revenge and freedom. Both sides do some terrible things, but the Romans are presented as our main characters here, and therefore, our protagonists.
This is a much more simple and conventional movie than Marshall's other work like The Descent and Doomsday, and it's probably his most mainstream flick, as well. But, there's nothing wrong with a straight-forward action movie if it's entertaining. I probably won't rush to own Centurion or see it again, but it was certainly worth seeing once. Fans of Imogen Poots will definitely want to check this out, as she has a nice (if somewhat brief) role.
A fine enough chase film that uses the 2nd century Roman conquest of Britain as its backdrop. While there is solid action throughout the film, once it settles down on its B-movie-like plot, the film works quite well. However, while some of the storytelling is a bit clunky, the visuals present in this film make up for it. Some great scenery is blended with ample amounts of bloodshed that is shot in a very brutal manner. It doesn't hurt that a few good character actors head up the cast either.
Michael Fassbender stars as Centurion Quintus Dias, a Roman centurion who essentially goes through hell, getting beat up constantly along the way. Quintus manages to get captured during a raid of his camp, only to be taken to the stronghold of barbarians known as the Pict. However, Quintus does manage to escape and make his way back to a legion of soldiers lead by General Titus Virilus (Dominic West). This legion is being helped by a Pict tracker known as Etain (Olga Kurylenko), who is a warrior woman with no ability to speak due to the lack of a tongue, as it was ripped out by Roman soldiers when she was young. Things turn for the worse when it turns out that Etain has been leading the legion into a trap, leaving almost all the soldiers dead and the General captured. It is soon up to Quintus and a small group of remaining soldiers to rescue the General, as long as they can survive being chased by the vicious group of warriors now led by Etain.
The film was directed by Neil Marshall, who previously made the spelunking horror film, The Decent, and the messy but entertaining sci-fi flick, Doomsday. The thing that holds true between all of these films, is that Marshall is a fan of delivering some pretty violent movies. Here he has made a sword and sandals film that gets to the point and works as a fairly straight-forward action flick. The way he shoots his action is in a way that is up close but still comprehensible, which is fine. It is a visceral sort of take on the material that makes it all the more effective.
From a narrative perspective, there is a bit more to be desired. It takes a bit of time before the real plot sort of takes hold, having an extended start up of sorts, being sure to handle all of the elements that lead up to its second half. I could somewhat compare this to how Apacolypto builds into its extended third act, which is entirely a chase. In addition, the film doesn't exactly present the strongest sort of characters, beyond some basic traits for each, but the actors involved make up for it, for the most part.
Now, with all that being said, the film works in terms of how well filmed it is. The look of this film, as the soldiers travel across various wintery countrysides, forests, and mountains is all nicely done. While this film didn't see a wide release in America, it certainly has the look of an epic, with all the wide shots of these soldiers. That being said, the film is less than 100 minutes, and knows how to get down and dirty with its violence, without too much fat on the bones of this film.
I must also make a special note about Kurylenko as Etain. While I have not really enjoyed her as the latest Bond girl or in films such as Hitman or Max Payne, I did find her quite effective here. It may have been due to the fact that she only needed to intimidate foes based on here looks and present a physical presence. As she was not required to speak, maybe that was for the better.
The film is overall a little mixed in telling a great story, but the way the action is shot and the fun involved in the whole chase element of the film makes up for it. I have enjoyed Marshall's style as a filmmaker thus far, and continue to hope for more genre exercises in the future from him.
Soldier: He's a ruthless, reckless bastard. And I'd die for him without hesitation.
I think it could have been a lot better all things counting. The story was missing a little oompf. Reminded me of King Arthur, but I liked King Arthur better.
Director: Neil Marshall
Summary: In 2nd-century Britain, Roman fighter Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender) is the lone survivor of a Pictish attack on a Roman frontier post. Eager for revenge, he joins the Ninth Legion -- under General Virilus (Dominic West) -- and journeys north on a mission to destroy the Picts.
My Thoughts: "Writer-director Neil Marshall's sword-and-sandals film is an entertaining, action packed, bloody adventure. Great fighting scenes too. I may be alone on this, but I think Olga Kurylenko resembles Catherine Zeta Jones a bit. She could be her daughter. Once again, I may be alone on that thought. I usually do not lean toward films like these, but I have been watching more of them lately. My reasons are I just don't want to miss out on a possible good film. Trying to expand my movie taste. So I am happy that so far I am liking these types of films. I find them to be more interesting then I had previously thought. This film leaves promise of a sequel, which I am hoping for. I really would like to see were the character Centurion goes from where the film left off. If you like action-adventure and some gore mixed in with it, then this is a film for you to see."