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Non-Review Review: Pompeii

Pompeii is a cliché love story nested inside a cheesy b-movie sitting inside a good old-fashioned disaster movie. None of these elements are entirely successful – in fact, there are points where the love story is downright painful – but Paul W.S. Anderson manages to construct a reliably pulpy (if entirely predictable) action adventure. While by no means exceptional – it’s a mess from both a plotting and a thematic perspective – Pompeii does look as sound quite nice. As with a lot of Anderson’s films, there’s a sense that the director is more interested in his action sequences than the characters trapped inside them.

Setting the town alight...

Setting the town alight…

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Non-Review Review: Gladiator

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

– Maximus sums up the plot in case you were sleeping for the first hour and a half

The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story!

– Commodus also reiterates the plot in case you weren’t paying attention

I think a lot of the appeal of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator rested on the fact we hadn’t seen a film quite like this in over a generation. In the years since we’ve witnessed a rejuvenated genre, with historical epics becoming more and more common. It’s easy to forget the impact of the Ridley Scott’s swords-and-sandals epic in the wake of films like King Arthur, Robin Hood or even Kingdom of Heaven – let alone 300 or shows like Spartacus: Blood & Sand. And yet, even after all these big all-action historical endeavours, there’s still something special about Gladiator.

It's the eye of the tiger...

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