Directed by: Neil Marshall
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Axelle Carolyn
Running Time: 1 hr 37 mins
Release Date: September 10, 2010
PLOT: The Roman army has been battling against the Pictish army for years in Northern Britain. After a devastating attack, a small group of soldiers are all that survive of the Romans. Now they are behind enemy lines and must try to get back home.
WHO’S IT FOR? Do you like those Syfy made for TV movies? Either that, or have you ever wanted to hate the underdog? All others, steer clear.
EXPECTATIONS: A fellow critic saw this months ago at SXSW and remembers good things, but then again he was also under an influence. That’s all I knew.
Michael Fassbender as Centurion Quintus Dias: Fassbender was brilliant as Lt. Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds. We know he can act. But if this is your first time watching him, you’ll think he’s a dime a dozen.
As a Roman solider who escapes the Picts, he’s your typical hero. He has heart, loyalty and the knack for not dying. We don’t know why he feels strongly about anything, accept that he does. It’s as though they simply said, “Insert main character here,” and moved on.
Dominic West as General Titus Flavius Virilus: He’s beloved as the General. Everyone talks about it. They can’t get enough of this guy. So, when the Picts get their hands on him, all the soldiers are sad, but the audience is the one who really loses here. Sure, West plays it over the top, but at least there is some energy (albeit campy) in his acting.
Olga Kurylenko as Etain: This is where I need to ask, did I miss the point? Etain is our villain who will stop at nothing to kill the remaining Roman soldiers. She’s the enemy (as shown in this movie). Here’s the thing … she’s got a great reason to be mad. Her parents will killed right in front of her. Her tongue was cut out, so she couldn’t tell the tale. Oh, she was also raped. Don’t you just hate her? No? Me neither. I wanted her to kill every Roman in site, and anyone who was willing to help the soldiers on their quest to get home. Also, it entered my head on multiple occasions, did they have this beautiful woman not speak because of the character, or her lack of acting chops? I don’t know the reason, but it had me thinking.
Imogen Poots as Arianne: If only every witch was as beautiful as this one. Quintus and the rest of his gang encounter Aeron about an hour into this film. The only thing I was thinking was, “My god, I can’t believe they are attempting to introduce the potential love interest this far along into the film.” It didn’t work at all. The Picts think she might be a witch and that’s why they leave her alone, but I wish they could have left this character alone as well (as in out of the movie).
TALKING: We are men, we fight and kill and care. It’s like every line of dialogue that wasn’t good enough to end up in Braveheart. “If you’ve come here looking for a fight, then you’ll get it.” There’s nothing new with this material, so you just end up waiting for the action. Also, perhaps the Romans could have had a couple conversations about how it seems the Picts have every right to want to fight.
SIGHTS: There is plenty of violence with heads, legs and arms flying off at a rapid pace. There’s no humor in the killing, it’s all supposed to be just like it was long ago. Except here’s the problem, every ounce of blood is CGI. That sort of thing works when there’s more special effects (Sin City) or it’s supposed to be insane (Kill Bill). Here, it just takes you away from any time frame around 117 A.D. There was only one battle that proved interesting. The Picts used some huge rolling fire balls to start an attack.
SOUNDS: Clang, clang, clang goes the swords. The musical score doesn’t do anything for the emotional level of the audience. It’s like most of the rest of this movie, forgettable.
BEST SCENE: I’m going with the fire balls. It’s an easy answer with an action movie that didn’t conquer any new ground.
ENDING: Am I supposed to care who lived and who died? Am I supposed to care that anyone gets a happily ever after? If so, then the ending failed.
QUESTIONS: Why are we following the Romans in this story? Also, couldn’t any of the armies just used more archers? If they would have, I think about half of the battles would have resulted in a different outcome.
REWATCHABILITY: No. I’m done with this Roman army.
Centurion is a cat and mouse game. The mouse has been raped, almost all of its friends have been killed, and its little mouse home has been burned to the ground. Do you know who did this? It’s the cat. Now here’s where Centurion makes one of its many mistakes … we (the audience) is stuck on the side of the cat. That’s right, we’re supposed to root for the cat in this mess. The Picts are trying to defend their way of life. The Romans are trying to crush them and take over the world. Don’t we want the Picts to win here? Don’t we want someone who has their tongue removed to get her revenge? Well, not in this movie. We’re supposed to feel sorry for the poor Roman army. Can’t they ever catch a break and simply kill everyone who doesn’t want to be ruled by them?
The opening credits come flying at you like this is just another 3D movie. But Centurion doesn’t have 3D or anything new to offer its audience.
FINAL SCORE: 3/10