Fight or die.
Running Time: 97 minutes
US Certificate: N/A UK Certificate: 15
Country: United Kingdom
Neil Marshall’s Centurion is a Roman adventure yarn set in England in 117AD as the Italian invaders are terrorised by the rebellious Picts of Scotland. Quintus Dias (Fassbender) and a handful of multicultural soldiers become stranded behind enemy lines after their regiment is ambushed and massacred by guerrilla bands of Scots. One of the group then manages to kill the Pict king’s son, who in turn sends expert tracker Etain (Kurylenko) out to hunt them down and do nasty things to them. This sets the scene for many bloody battles and men implausibly running up a series of really high mountains.
Overall, Centurion is ruined by a series of small annoyances. Too much time is taken up by aerial shots of mountainous scenery being used as fillers – so much so, you would think that Neil Marshall was a pilot in a previous career. Strangely, all the women have perfect skin and wear lipstick – obviously bought in the nearest Boots pharmacist – and there’s a strange Roman Soldier-witch romantic subplot tacked on at the end. Then don’t get me started on historical movies using cringeworthy anachronistic dialogue to make history more accessible to kids and morons. Even the opening credits are just weird.
These fairly minor but irksome flaws do well to ruin a decent behind-enemy-lines adventure story packed with serviceable hard-hitting action. The ambush scene stands out as brutally realistic and high on detail and generally there is lots of exquisite period detail throughout which stands in stark contrast to much of the laziness that surrounds it. Michael Fassbender is okay as an easy lead to care about and he acts his way through Centurion, as with 300, like a man who’s not quite sure whether his latest project will be great or awful. All in all, it’s an easy way to spend 97 minutes and it’s pretty enjoyable but that doesn’t mean it is particularly good.
It's Got: Cringeworthy dialogue, a decent story, plenty of lipstick.
It Needs: Less of the panaromic scenery shots.
A Roman adventure yarn that, despite some decent action and an interesting enough plot, annoys in a hundred different ways