Sunday, February 23 2014, 12:36 PM MST
Movie Review: Pompeii
2 out of 5 Stars
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance
Recommended To: Those looking for a watered down version of Gladiator mixed with a cornball romance.
Synopsis: In the shadow of Mount Vesuvius an orphan-slave gladiator seeks revenge on the Roman men who killed his family while wooing the heart of a wealthy merchant.
Review: When it comes to Paul W.S. Anderson films (Resident Evil, Death Race, The Three Musketeers) you pretty much know that you’re going to get something that is nonsensical and bombastic. With Pompeii he channels his inner Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) for some of the most indulgent mayhem ever featured in a motion picture (Transformers: Dark of the Moon probably still has this beat). If you like excess, particularly when it is pushed to its most ridiculous extreme, there’s plenty to look forward to in Pompeii. The only problem is getting there requires you to endure the B-movie version of Gladiator mixed with The Horse Whisperer and a sappy love story that exists to widen the audience and mask the fact that we’ve seen the majority of this story before. Not that I should have had high hopes considering two of the three credited screenwriters were responsible for Batman Forever. This only partially explains the terrible dialogue and wooden performances from a cast that appears to be searching for an exit. Kiefer Sutherland is embarrassingly bad and I can only imagine that his performance is a reflection of his complete lack of interest in the film. Everyone else at least appears to be giving their best with the material placed before them.
If you’re simply looking for an epic disaster film Pompeii will ultimately deliver the chaos and destruction that you’re looking for. You’ll just have to wait an hour or so to get it.
-Ryan Michael Painter