After his Celtic clan has been wiped out by a Roman legion led by Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), young Milo (Kit Harington) becomes a slave until he is old enough to become a gladiator.
After proving his strengths fighting in the outskirts of ancient Brittannia, he is taken to Pompeii to show his skills in the arena. There he falls in love with Cassia, the senator’s daughter (Emily Browning) and finds an unlikely friendship in the Gladiator’s arena of death in the form of champion Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje).
Interrupting the action and drama, Mount Vesuvius explodes into life, destroying everything in its path. Will Milo save his beloved? Will he avenge the death of his family? Can he run faster than an explosion?
We say, “For those about to see this movie, we salute you.”
TAYLOR: Pompeii is a decent enough film. It neither blew me away nor bored me. It became silly at times; one minute the streets are crammed with people making escape impossible for our heroes, but when the bad guys need to get away, they are able to ride horses through vacant streets. I will say this, the effects are great and it was nice to see a disaster movie on a grand scale.
HOWE: The only thing I found grand was Sutherland’s accent. It was so over-the-top and ridiculous, it made me smile every time he spoke. It also looked like his top lip had been stuck to his upper teeth so that’s probably why he sounded like he did.
TAYLOR: He did seem to be having fun.“Fun” might be a strange word to describe a disaster movie, but I think it’s the most apt. Pompeii uses humour, action and a light sprinkling of romance to keep things interesting, interspersed between the odd shaking or rumbling.
“It’s the mountain,” explains the champion Atticus. Only one character in the whole film has the foresight to say, “I’m getting out of here.” The movie, working up to the explosion of the volcano (spoiler alert!) didn’t cause any eye rolls and once Vesuvius blew its top, the plot became secondary to surviving. They’re all doomed to become a future archeological find, of course, but not before they are able to complete their story arcs.
HOWE: I found the action to be some of the better we have seen in a while. The fight scenes in the arena are very well done, nothing too close up so it becomes blurred and you can’t make out who is fighting who. We’ve mentioned before about the 3D aspect in movies being a bit of a waste, but this time out I found it very good. The ash dropping and fire sparks leaping from the big screen looked like you could reach out and touch them.
TAYLOR: I found the look of the film too dark. Even on a bright sunny day, the entire film looked dismal, to the point of making things difficult to see. However, this was more of a curiosity for me than a detriment. If you’re overdue for a good mountain explosion, go see Pompeii.
HOWE: Or you could just make one out of a Coke and Mentos…
— Taylor gives Pompeii 3 pyroclastic flows out of 5.
— Howe gives it 2.5 gods out of 5.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in B.C. Their column Reel Reviews appears in The Morning Star Friday and Sunday.