FlixChatter Review – 300: Rise of an Empire

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After almost a decade, Warner Bros. finally released a sequel to their sword and sandals hit 300. Before I go into the review of this new movie, I wanted to point out that I was never a fan of the first movie, I didn’t hate it but I thought it’s like I’m watching a video game with nonstop carnage and I was bored with it.

Now I’m not sure if I should call this new movie a sequel since it took place the same timeline as the first movie. It opens right after the end of the first one, we see King Leonidas and his men bodies laying dead and Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) came by and chopped Leonidas’ head off. We hear an exposition voice over by his grieving wife Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), she’s basically telling the audience what’s going on in the movie. Then the movie flashes back and showed how Xerxes became such a powerful figure. We were also introduced to a new hero, Themistokle (Sullivan Stapleton), he’s the general of the Athens’ army. Upon learning that Greek is being invaded by the Persians, he tried to team up Leonidas’ army but the Sparta king refused to even to talk to him. Then we were introduced to another character, Persian’s naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green). She’s of Greek ancestry but something happened to her when she was a child and she vowed to kill every Greeks as much as she could. After the introductions of these characters, the rest of the movie’s basically a non-stop battles after another, just like the first one.

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So apparently the movie was based on Frank Miller‘s graphic novel called Xerxes but since the novel’s really about Xerxes rise to power, the script was written so that it focuses again on the Greeks’ army. The script was written by Zack Snyder, he’s too busy with Man of Steel so he decided not to come back and direct the flick. He and his co-screenwriter Kurt Johnstad didn’t really come up with anything new for this one. Heck they even included a little subplot of a father and son who’re part of the army. Instead of the father losing his son in that battle like the first movie, here the son lost his father. Wow that’ so genius of them to come up with a such a cool twist, I had to roll my eyes when I saw that scene.

Director Noam Murro, whom I never heard of before this movie, stepped behind the cameras this time and basically copied Snyder’s style from the first movie step by step. I wondered if since Snyder’s also the producer, he may have given Murro a style guide on how to shoot each scene the way he likes it. To his credit though, Murro did stage some cool action sequences, much more elaborate than the first movie. But still he didn’t bring anything new to the table for the sequel.

As for the performances, Evan Green looked like she had a lot of fun playing the vicious baddie. Unfortunately for the new hero, Stapleton didn’t really established himself as a leading man here. Even though I didn’t care for the first movie, I thought Gerard Butler was quite effective as the lead in that film. I always thought Lena Headey overacted her role in the first film and she didn’t change my mind in this one. Santoro‘s Xerxes didn’t really have much to do again in this one, he walks around looking like a super villain.

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I can’t say I hate this movie because I didn’t have any expectations for it and in a way, it lived up to my lack of expectations. It would’ve been better maybe if the movie actually focuses on Xerxes’ rise to power but since the studio folks only care about getting the big bucks at the box office, we got the same exact movie as the last one. Nothing new or original here. I’m giving this a two stars rating partly because I enjoyed some of the action sequences and I loved the Dolby Atmos surround sound mix. Fans of the original will probably enjoy this one and get their money’s worth. As for everyone else, this was a waste of time and money.

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What do you think of the 300 sequel?

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34 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review – 300: Rise of an Empire

  1. Solid review Ted. Gotta say I really had no expectations for it either. I thought the first one was pretty cool but ultimately forgettable after that first viewing. The action does has a brutally poetic flow to it but it isn’t something I care to see over and over. This looks like a lot of the same.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Keith, I liked the action scenes in the first film but it just kept getting repetative. It’s pretty much the same film as the first one.

  2. I have yet to see, but as I thought the first flawed but entertaining and as sequels are often worse than the original, I basically expect this to be meh. Hopefully I find I like it more than you do.

    1. Ted S.

      You might like this one James, like I said I was never a fan of the first film and this one was actually the same.

    1. Ted S.

      Well you might like this one even more because Eva Green was quite fun to watch in the film and she um didn’t mind taking off her dress. 🙂

  3. Good review Ted. It’s a pretty dumb movie, but it is still fun for the target-audience. Which is basically masculine, hormone-fueled men who are finally getting a break from their ladies.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha, thanks Rodney, it’s definitely a rental. The bluray disc should be a demo disc, the surround sound in the movie was pretty awesome!

  4. Great review. I haven’t seen this one yet but I’m keeping my expectations low in the hope that I might be pleasantly surprised. I usually like Eva Green but have to say this isn’t the type of film I hoped her career would lead her into. How does she do?

    1. Ted S.

      Eva Green was the only thing in the movie, maybe you might enjoy it more than I did. Like I said, if you’re a fan of the first film then you might enjoy this one.

  5. Good read Ted. I enjoyed 300 but there was a feeling of self-containment within the story – it simply didn’t need a sequel. So I have little interest in this and your negative reaction to it means I’m even more inclined to give this a miss in cinemas.

    1. Ted S.

      That’s exactly, the first film didn’t need a sequel and the only reason why this one got made was so the studio can get more $$$ from people. I don’t mind sequels as long as they’re creative and expand the story from first one, this one was the same thing over and over again.

  6. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ted:

    I enjoyed the original ‘300’ for its faithful adaptation of Frank Miller’s story and better than average CGI work. Can’t say I’m all that fired up with this follow on.

    Good layout, read and critique!

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Jack.

      I’ve never read Miller’s book but I heard the first film was quite faithful. Unfortunately I was never a fan of that film and this sequel didn’t change my mind.

      1. jackdeth72

        That happens sometimes, Ted.

        I caught the trailer for Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s ‘A Dame To Kill For’. Part of the ‘Sin City’ series of tales. Looks kind of interesting. With some new players added.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha, no problem, it’s Ruth’s site so I don’t get offended at all! Thanks for stopping by and read my review.

  7. Can’t say that I agree that fans of the first will enjoy this one. IMO, this movie completely fails to understand just what it was that made the first one so fun and enjoyable in the first place. As a fan of the first one, this movie was disappointing and entirely pointless.

    1. Ted S.

      That’s good to hear Chris, I thought for sure fans of the original would enjoy this one since it’s basically the same movie, well to me anyway. Like I said, I was never a fan of the first movie and so I didn’t care for this one either.

  8. I can understand your rating. I loved the first movie and although this is more of the same I had a great time watching it. I expected a lot of battles and it delivered 🙂

  9. Pingback: » Movie Review – 300 Fernby Films

  10. Pingback: » Movie Review – 300: Rise Of An Empire Fernby Films

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