“I will attack the Greeks with my entire Navy,” says Artemisia (Eva Green) to the God King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) as they plan to destroy the Greeks and rule supreme in the sequel to the 2005 blockbuster movie 300, 300: Rise of an Empire.
After his victory over Leonidas and his 300 at the battle of Thermopylae, Xerxes marches his Persian Army toward the major Greek city-states including Athens. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), patriot to Greece and the best general the Greeks have, leads his men – most of them farmers and tradesmen, not true warriors – against the invading Persians led by the cunning, bloodthirsty naval commander Artemisia.
With only a small number of ships and men against a huge armada of Persian war ships, Themistokles is hopeful that the strong warriors left in Sparta will, upon hearing about the fall of their King and his 300, join in the fight along with the rest of the Greek states to give them a fighting chance to defeat the Persians once and for all.
Unimpressive and unnecessary, 300: Rise of an Empire is a forgettable sequel that will leave even the die-hard fans of the original film disappointed. There is nothing creative or original in this soulless, empty continuation of the Greeks battle against the Persians.
Sullivan Stapleton is adequate as the Greek’s best General but lacks the presence and strength Gerard Butler brought to the role of King Leonidas in the original film. Eva Green is extremely effective as the sexy, ruthless commander of the Persian naval fleet. Her hatred and contempt for Themistokles is equally matched by her admiration and attraction for him. Her performance is the only worthy thing about the film.
The battle scenes are similar to the original film and are, once again, over-the-top with excessive blood pouring from falling bodies. The slow-motion action is done again and again and again until it becomes painfully tedious and dull. At least in the first film the graphics and overall look of the film were visually breathtaking, and there were some very original-looking warriors and monsters introduced as part of the Persian army. Here, even the battle scenes on the high seas are sure to leave the moviegoing audience drenched in boredom. This film critic kept thinking back to an Academy Award-winning film which truly had some riveting high seas fighting and ships ramming each other in an epic ocean battle: Ben-Hur.
Flat, tiresome, and one big bore, 300: Rise of an Empire is a dismal sequel that’s sure to have fans of the first film wishing they had just re-watched that instead.
300: Rise of an Empire was directed by Noam Murro and is rated R for strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language.
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