NewsBlaze search box Daily News header

300: Rise of An Empire Film Review

By     get stories by email

Higher Body-Count Sequel Trumps the Original

The bloody epic 300 (2007) chronicled the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. when a badly outnumbered band of 300 soldiers were sent on a suicide mission to defend Sparta against a horde of over 100,000 Persian invaders. Based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name, that minimalist, monochromatic adventure was shot almost entirely against blue screens on assorted soundstages.

300: Rise of an Empire is one of those rare sequels which actually improves on an original's formula. This relatively-expansive, higher body-count affair arrives replete with sweeping seascapes and panoramic mob scenes. It also ups the ante in terms of sensuality, especially by exploiting the visual appeal of Eva Green.

At the point of departure, we find the previous picture's triumphant King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) plotting to lead the Persian army against forces led by Greek General Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton). The play-by-play is narrated by Sparta's Queen Gorgo (Headey) who devotes considerable time to a detailed lesson in ancient history to set the table for the wanton slaughter about to ensue.

Among other things, we learn that the commander of the Persian 1,000-ship armada is the warrior goddess Artemisia (Green), a Greek traitor who turned against her own people for good reason. In her youth, she'd been brutally raped and sold into slavery after being forced to witness the murder of her entire family.

The revenge-minded orphan was freed and raised as a warrior by Xerxes' late father, Darius (Yigal Naor). Today, she has blossomed into a ravishing fighting machine as likely to subdue an adversary with her womanly wiles as with her sword. In perhaps the movie's most memorable moment, she decapitates a foe before planting a kissing on his skull's lips.

Such gruesome displays are par for the course, as scene after scene seizes on any excuse for sensuality or stomach-churning depictions of torture and gore. A revisionist tale of female empowerment suggesting the fairer sex was the equal of any man even when engaged in mortal hand-to-hand combat.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for sexuality, nudity, profanity and pervasive violence

Running time: 102 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

See the trailer for 300: Rise of an Empire:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze. Read more reviews by Kam Williams.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Prairie Miller talks to Elizabeth Hurley about The Royals, and to Nina Paley, artist, filmmaker, animator, cartoonist and free culture copyright activist.
Created by Sir James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan was first produced as a play in 1904 and adapted into an illustrated novel seven years thereafter. The enchanting fairy tale made its screen debut as a silent movie in 1924, with assorted remakes, seque
Where to Invade Next hops from one topic to another, never lets the audience know what it's about and, after two hours of cinematic navel gazing, it's unlikely they care.
Prairie Miller has a Halloween Visitation. Cult Horror Director Sam Raimi drops in, Death Of A Salesman In Yiddish and classical concert pianist Hannah Reimann
Bond is back, possibly Daniel Craig's last outing. Can SPECTRE step out of the shadow cast by SKYFALL's great acclaim. Read Kingsley's review to find out!
This race hate documentary chronicles neo-Nazi relocation to Leith, a small town in North Dakota, and what the locals did to get rid of the supremacists.


NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month

Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

Copyright © 2004-2015 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site