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Pompeii (2014) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 21 August 2013


Jay´s Review

Okay. It's a new year so I can have a new WSF (Worst So Far), although I'm sure there will be even worse as the year goes on. As a rule, I find most clichés to be diverting, but not the groaners in this thing. I'm sure the gales of laughter that met the finale were NOT what the director had in mind. (To be fair, sometimes a screening audience is a tough sell.)

Director Paul W.S. Anderson ("The Three Musketeers" Ugh!) specializes in Computer Generated Imaging, so this actioner contains no surprises, but this bloodbath piled cruelty upon cruelty: lashings, bashings, smashings and slashings, so I kept my eyes covered and my yawns smothered much of the time. How many ways can they draw blood or cause mental anguish? (One couple actually brought a toddler. Okay, okay, no profanity, so no harm.....)

These folks have had better roles, but they give it their best:

  • * Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ("Thor: The Dark World") has our sympathy as the gladiator promised his freedom if he wins his last fight. Yeah... right...
  • * Kit Harington ("Game of Thrones") is our hero, a Celt with uncommon fighting skills, enslaved by Roman soldiers since childhood. Of course it's love at first sight when our heroine makes her entrance.
  • * Emily Browning ("Sucker Punch") is that heroine. She is betrothed (unwillingly) to a Roman senator by her less-than-courageous father.
  • * Jared Harris ("Mad Men") is that father, who apparently backed the wrong politician and now has to make amends to the current powers that be.
  • * Carrie-Anne Moss ("Vegas") is his wife. At least she can see the political scene clearly, although there is very little she can do about it.
  • * Kiefer Sutherland (Lots of TV) is the dastardly senator from Rome who lusts after our heroine and wants to invest in real estate in our fair city. (Pompeii was considered a resort town by the Romans.)

No fight is worth watching unless there are insurmountable odds (which of course our hero surmounts) and lots of blood. And we only HEAR him break that horse's neck....

I don't remember archaeologists mentioning a tsunami, do you? I thought it was pyroclastic (searing) blasts and ash-fall from Mount Vesuvius that killed the good folks in Pompeii. By the way, the plaster casts we associate with Pompeii were created when archaeologists injected a substance into the hollows in the solidified ash which were left after corpses decomposed.

Expect lots of swordplay, spear thrusts, fist fights, earthquakes, a volcanic eruption, and a tsunami. Only one chaste little kiss though, and no sweaty bodies (PG-13). Whew!

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