The Bender Wagon is trundling on at a decent speed and the next dvd to arrive is Centurion.
I am not a Roman historian or an expert on The 9th Legion so I am quite happy to live with the knowledge that the historical inaccuracies will have passed me by. In the great Romans in Britain time-line Centurion takes place as Hadrian’s Wall is being built.
PLOT: After the decimation of The 9th Legion a small band of Roman soldiers led by Quintus (Michael Fassbender) head behind enemy lines in order to rescue their General (Dominic West). The group fail in their task and top off a bad day manage to kill the leader of the Pict’s young son. This unsurprisingly angers Gorlacon, said leader, who sends his best Pictish warriors to kill the soldiers. There is much running across the landscape. The Picts hunt and kill several unmemorable members of the group. The film stops at the midway point to introduce Arianne (Imogen Poots), a ridiculously manicured witch who lives in the most luxurious of shacks. They ditch the love interest and we get on with the chase. The Picts hunt the rest of the group and they fight to the death in a winner takes all battle. The winner of this battle will not shock you. The Roman Army cover up the fate of The 9th Legion in an attempt to save face across the known world. END PLOT
The plot is essentially Behind Enemy Lines for the Roman Era and none the expected beats such as obvious traitors, surprise attacks, misconstrued love interest, copious amounts of running and surprise traitors are left out.
Etain (Olga Kurylenko), the warrior charged with hunting down the Romans, is the only character with an extremely detailed and precise back story despite the fact that her character is mute and only joined the Pict army after her people were killed clearly proving that she is as skilled at charades as she is with a sword.
The only memorable performances are from Michael Fassbender and Dominic West who do the best they can with the little they are given. The rest of the cast make up the numbers until they are killed. It does have to be said that the accents of everyone involved are as unstable as the films version of history.
The action and set pieces are surprisingly gory – heads are hacked off in this film rather than cleanly chopped. The film is directed by Neil Marshall, who brought us the wonderful Dog Soldiers, and his horror routes come to the fore during the blood spurting fight scenes.
Aside from the time spent at the Ikea version of a run down mud hut the film did look good - there were plenty of wide shots which captured the scenic and icy Scottish Highlands very well. The entire cast spent the vast majority of the film looking extremely cold.
Centurion is reasonably entertaining and it does fit into my beloved go to 90min category very nicely. The problem is I already have a go to Roman Army in Britain film in the form of King Arthur. The chances of Centurion usurping this film are slim and this is because King Arthur has one thing going for it that even Michael Fassbender cannot compete with – that Hans Zimmer score.
Centurion gets a 6.5/10. It is disappointing to admit it but the film can just scrapes into the decent category although knowing me it will probably get watched more often than it deserves.