Writer/Director: Neil Marshall
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
UK Release date: 23rd April 2010
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 1st May 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is another take on the legend of the Ninth Legion of Rome. They disappeared in mysterious circumstances when fighting the Picts (Scots) during the time of the Roman occupation of Britain. It’s quite an exciting tale with a lot of blood, guts and gore along the way. Although it’s far from perfect, I quite liked it for its fast pace and some excellent fighting scenes.
The Ninth Legion, lead by General Titus Flavius Virilus are sent north to wipe out the troublesome Picts lead by the fearsome Gorlacon. Amongst their number is Centurion Quintus Dias, who has been posted to the region and knows the type of enemies they will face. They also have a Pict tracker in the shape of the mute Etain, she possesses great skill when it comes to finding the enemy. The Legion is ambushed and almost all are slaughtered, but a handful remain alive and try at first to rescue their captured General and then try to get back south to safety. With the Picts hot on their trail and the elements and terrain against then, can they survive long enough to make it home.
This film obviously didn’t have a huge budget, but considering the limited resourced they had, I think it wasn’t a bad effort. A decent cast was lead by Michael Fassbender as Centurion Quintus Dias, with Dominic West as General Titus Flavius Virilus, David Morrissey as Bothos, Ulrich Thomsen as Gorlacon, Olga Kurylenko as Etain, Liam Cunningham as Brick and Imogen Poots (great name!) as Arianne. All did a good job in, what must have been very trying circumstances.
The plot is quite fast and exciting with some great fight sequences and a few edge-of-your-seat moments. All this was very good and I was enjoying the chase with a nice little dose of betrayal and intrigue thrown in. Unfortunately about two thirds of the way through all the momentum is lost when the surviving few stop to lick their wounds at the house of an outcast. Although an attempt is made to regain some of the lost inertia, it fails to reach the same level. While I thought this section could have bee shorter to help the pacing, I still thought it was a pretty good film. It has a 15 certificate here in the UK which surprised me a little given the level of violence depicted. But over all, a decent enough film (with a few reservations)… Recommended (just).
My Score: 7.1/10