Despite its bleak atmosphere and sparse storyline, period drama The Eagle is a pleasant surprise. It entertains with some great sword play, and the themes of honor and bravery overcome the simplicity of the story.
It really all comes down to the story. Just like Tatum wasn't up to the task of bringing the character to life, the filmmakers weren't up to the task of bringing the story to life, and that makes all the difference.
Sadly not a movie about the big-chinned ski jumper Eddie Edwards, this underwhelming feature instead revolves around the 'Ted and Ralph' style bromance between a master and servant during the Roman occupation of England.
Take Braveheart, Gladiator and Apocalypto, leave them to simmer in an iron-age pot and you've got The Eagle, a sword-swooshing slice of historical action that's plenty entertaining, if a touch familiar.