If you've seen any of director Neil Marshall's films -- Dog Soldiers, The Descent, Doomsday -- you've been looking forward to this movie, whether you know it or not. The man does great horror and over-the-top action, so the idea of yet another movie from him about characters in hostile territory, fighting for survival, seems like a sure-fire winner. And, man, Centurion is that.
Inspired by the legend of the disappearance of Rome's 9th Legion, Marshall has come up with a tale of a centurion who escapes capture by the Scottish Picts only to accompany the legion back across enemy lines to wipe them out once and for all. Of course, that doesn't go according to plan, and in a scene reminiscent of The Last of the Mohicans, the legion is wiped out, save a small band of survivors. Now, they have to make it back to the nearest fort before the Picts find them and kill them. So it's basically Gladiator meets Braveheart meets Wrong Turn, where the Braveheart guys are the ones who live in the woods and eat people, and if that doesn't sound awesome to you, I haven't explained it well enough.
The action is spread out, and separated by some decent stretches of running across beautiful highland landscape, but when it happens, it's bloody and great. Axes in heads, blood spurting, the works. Michael Fassbender, who was so fantastic and droll in Inglourious Basterds, doesn't get much time to crack jokes as an intelligent, educated fighter who has to rise to leadership. Dominic West plays the General who leads the 9th, and is so comfortable among his men that he is occasionally mistaken for a common soldier. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is mute throughout the movie, but her silent Pict warrior is brutal and bloodthirsty, and may be a sign of her potential as an action star. (There's also a gentle Pict witch who helps the Romans out as they run, but she's played by Imogen Poots, and I can't type her name without laughing.) If I were Channing Tatum, or anyone involved with The Eagle of the Ninth, I would be very worried about following in this movie's footsteps, because it's another near-perfect film from Marshall... or at least, near-perfectly entertaining.
Did you see Centurion? Let us know what you thought below!
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