Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Harris, Carrie-Anne Moss
Review by Jordan
Paul W.S. Anderson (not to be confused with the lesser director of a similar name responsible for little films such as Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There will be Blood… sarcasm of course intended) is nothing if not consistent, having forged a catalogue that veers from sci-fi horror to epic action with each of his movies (bar the actually fantastic Event Horizon and hugely important Resident Evil… no sarcasm) having in common a severe lack of involving plot or characters worth rooting for when the world is often falling down around them.
Pompeii, his 11th feature film and 4th in 3D, continues in his now established tradition of visual spectacle over viewer involvement yet also manages to do what Mortal Kombat (1995), Soldier (1998), Alien vs. Predator (2004), Death Race (2008) and The Three Musketeers (2011) are repeatably capable of despite their many flaws, and that is provide sheer brainless escapism that can have you laughing in unbelief of the cheesiness and cheering in delight of the entertainment in equal measure.
This latest masterpiece tells the story of Milo (Kit Harington), a Gladiator who must fight to free not only himself and his fellow slaves from Roman captivity while the great volcano unleashes its fury upon the emerging city at it’s base, but also to win the heart of the beautiful Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of wealthy and honorable merchant Severus (Jared Harris, still in want of a role worthy of his indisputable talents) who has been forcefully betrothed to weaselly Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland). With a Game of Thrones star in the lead and support from two once renowned talents in Sutherland and Carrie-Anne Moss (as Severus’ tightly wound wife) who appear to have officially reached their lowest career points thus far, serving up performances that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons with the 24 star in particular embarrassing himself possibly beyond redemption, Pompeii does act as a B-grade Gladiator with an added natural disaster and excess scolding at the camera for good measure.
So, with mind-numbing dialogue and a story among the more farfetched imaginable, it’s unlikely that Anderson will win over any new fans with his latest effort. When you’re married to Milla Jovovich though, and continue to have funding thrown your way to make increasingly loose video game adaptions, maybe such trivial things as pleasing a paying audience don’t matter.