Friday, January 22, 2016

Mini movie review: Centurion

I'm a fan of some of Neil Marshall's movies - new(ish) horror classics The Descent and Dog Soldiers - and I like brutal period hack-and-slash movies.  But somehow, Marshall's Centurion just didn't quite work.  I guess there needs to be more than just disembowlings and head-crushings to make a battle/survival flick work.

More's the pity, because Centurion had an above-average cast, including Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones's Davos Seaworth), Imogen Poots and Noel Clark (Mickey Smith, Rose's boyfriend from Doctor Who).  The nutshell story follows a small cohort of Roman soldiers, stranded on the northern frontier of the Empire after bloodthirsty Picts decimate their legion.  It is up to Fassbender's centurion to lead the remaining men through rough country to the safety of the Roman garrison to the south.  The Picts send revenge-obsessed tracker Etain (Kurylenko) after them with a group of warriors and the Romans' safe return is anything but guaranteed.

Marshall has a deft hand with action sequences - that's not in question.  But Centurion's characters are thinly drawn and there's just nothing special about the story unfolding on the screen.  The Descent was also about a group of people in challenging terrain trying to get away from relentless, chasing killers and that is a much, much better movie.

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