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I haven't checked my mail in 3 years but heck, give it a try anyway:




Times are good for a movie fan/history teacher/video gamer. Two movies vaguely based on history/video games and wholly based on awesomeness in short time. This almost makes up for the ludicrous prices they now ask for the popcorn I devour at such times.

Prince of Persia was first but only awesome because of a funny ostrich racing organizer and Ben Kingsley being a stereotypical villain the likes of which are rarely seen. And now, there is Centurion. A movie based on the fact that the Roman empire was freaking enormous and surrounded by horrible, barely human enemies on every side there was. The Germans on the left, the Picts on the north, the Numidians on the south and the Dacians at another left somewhere. This particular picture focuses on the Picts who are, as mentioned barely human yet wholly awesome.

 We follow the exploits of centurion Quintus Dias who has the miserable task of being on a frontier fort in Britannia at the times the Romans started to realize they couldn't defeat the Picts. I've rarely felt so sorry for a movie character as this guy gets overrun along with all his troops twice and runs for his life a lot. And running he does, from horrifying enemies. I haven't seen this good a chase since Mel Gibson's medieval comedy 'Apocalypto' although a scene where the hero throws a bee hive full of angry bees at his pursuers is curiously missing here. Dias is accompanied by a group of soldiers who all survive a vicious Pict ambush and go on a mission to save their captured commander. These are all comic book awesome characters. We have the old grumpy soldier, the black guy out to prove himself, the traitor and of course, the cook boy who turns out to be one murderingly badass warrior. They are chased in turn by a Pict woman who can smell like a wolf and fights like a demon. So, its basically  your average history lesson put on the movie screen.

'Fuck this shiiiiiiiit!'

The whole movie looks like it was filmed with grey filters and that's quite deliberate. The idea is to make England look like a miserable place for the Romans. They could have saved the trouble. I've filmed England and no matter what lenses you use the country almost always looks pretty miserable. Something with the weather no doubt..

The makers of this flick understand the art of awesome movie making very well. They use ideas from as far back as Stanley Kubrick's 'Spartacus' in the ambush of the Roman army as they're bombarded with flaming boulders. The Picts look like painted demons from hell and when the Roman survivors clash with them its a clash of cultures and ferocity. Just perfect for a violence oriented moviegoer like myself. Also, the hints at the reasons for the massive wall of Hadrian being built satisfy the history fans, even if they are completely and utterly made up.

What we have then, is an awesome movie with roaring violent action and tension to make everyone happy.  Please, let the English make more movies. These people know what they're doing.


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