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Troy (2004)

For honor

Directed by:

Wolfgang Petersen

Wolfgang Petersen

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 163 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States, United States

Women, eh? You do everything for them – give them cheap-looking trinkets, whisk them off to your fictional Trojan palace, save them from having to live with a bellowing cornflake-bearded man-beast. And what do you get in return? War, that’s what. And war, as we all know, is good for absolutely nothing.

That’s the vague premise behind ‘Troy’, the first of this year’s big bustling epics. Set 3200 years ago, it offers a not-particularly-valuable insight into what happens when a spineless Trojan Prince (Orlando Bloom) nicks another bloke’s missus. Unsurprisingly – given that the lady in question is Ancient Greece’s most cherished hottie Helen (Diane Kruger), the scorned hubby is brawl-loving nutter Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), and Menelaus’ brother is warmongering loudmouth Agamemnon (Brian Cox) – all Hell breaks loose, and the Greek army hot-foot it to Troy to retrieve their missing piece of totty.

Plotline in place, the film goes on to focus predominantly on a woefully miscast Brad Pitt as Achilles, who’s renowned as Greece’s greatest ever warrior – even if he does have a dodgy heel. He gets drawn into a bout of handbags with Troy’s other, less wimpy Prince Hector, and you just know there’s going to be a good ol’ fashioned square go before the ridiculously long 160 minutes are up.

“Underwhelming” is perhaps the best way to describe ‘Troy’. There’s no denying that it’s been impressively put-together, but there’s a constant feeling that there’s nothing here we haven’t seen done before – and better – in a hundred epics to have gone before it. Despite its myriad of action sequences, the whole thing moves along at a snail’s pace, so loaded is it with fist-bitingly bad dialogue.

It also has to be said that some terrible decisions have been made on the part of the casting department. Pitt’s a good actor but just too lightweight and pretty to play Achilles, Bana is decent but always looks uncomfortable delivering the ridiculously bad lines he’s expected to spout, the largely-unknown Kruger seems totally out of her depth, and Bloom – as always – is just plain rubbish. Only Peter O’Toole, as Trojan leader Priam, really manages to impress. But let’s face it – he’s Peter O’Toole, so that’s hardly a big shockerooney.

‘Troy’ is loosely-based on Homer’s ‘The Illiad’, and I’m guessing that if the man himself was around to see this he’d follow in the footsteps of his superior namesake and greet it with one big “D’oh!”. This is easily one of the weakest epics of recent years.

It's Got: Just about all the old British beardy over-the-top stage actors you can think of.

It Needs: Brian Blessed – if only to complete the set.

Alternatives:

Apocalypse Now, Helen of Troy, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Saving Private Ryan, The Last Samurai, The Thin Red Line, Unforgiven

Summary

Visually stunning, but totally hollow in every other department.

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