Movie Review: 300: Rise of an Empire


Stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, Hans Matheson

Rated R for strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language , Running time102 minutes, Action/War/Drama

Compare to: 300 (2007), The Immortals (2011)

Exactly seven years ago to this day, Zack Snyder’s 300 was released to the unexpecting viewers and Period/Action movies haven’t been the same since. If a movie is made that happens to take place hundreds of years ago, don’t expect historical accuracy and don’t expect to see backgrounds that haven’t been created on a computer.

So is this one even worth watching? Surely all the studios did was notice the scores of films and shows being made in 300’s likeness and say “Hey! This is ours! We need to be cashing in on this again!”

But surprisingly, this doesn’t make any lame attempts are copying it’s predecessor nor does it rip off the original’s own copycats like many sequels are so tempted to do.

While King Leonidas and his brave 300 were doing much of the world’s heavy lifting, they weren’t the only ones fighting against a seemingly unstoppable enemy. Greek General Themistokles wards off the “God King” Xerces’ Navy- led by Xerces own Navy commander and puppeteer, Artemisia; a woman whose furious vendetta with Themistokles may be sole reason for his downfall.


While the first 300 took pride in its single-mindedness and verbose violence, Rise does take pleasure in the latter but surprisingly has a bit more depth than it’s previous installment.

Not to say that much more time is spent on story than blood and guts as much as it is a bit more steady in its story; a few more minutes are spent on back story that doesn’t involve boys killing werewolves but simply exposition actually told in a way you don’t mind seeing. It all looks like one big video game anyway so watching even the slower moments can still be fun.

But “slower” moments for this movie are like going 70mph in the fast lane- sure it’s fast- but you can go even faster.

"Copycat? THIS! IS! A SEQUEL!"

“Copycat? THIS! IS! A SEQUEL!”

Blood, abs and guttural screams are what you came for and it’s definitely what you’ll get. Cinemax’s war/man time/action/drama Strike Back’s lead, Sullivan Stapleton brings to the table much of what he does in his show, albeit with swords instead of modern day weapons. While his portrayal of Themistokles is much more centered and perhaps even unsure of himself in comparison to Gerard Butler’s Leonidas, he does well at handling himself against bigger personalities- like Santoro’s nine-foot tall golden “God King” Xerces, who’s back for War.

But the show stealer has got to be Eva Green’s femme fatale Artemisia, who does a good job at attracting viewers as quick as she is to repel them. Kissing a decapitated head, anyone? Anything past that, I’ll let you decide how she’s seen in the movie.

Also, there's more cheering masses.

Also, there’s more cheering masses.

While there aren’t any cat fights, it’s an interesting parallel here to see Queen Gorga (role reprised by 300’s Lena Headey) and Green’s Artemisia as the only two females in the film, yet their control surpasses any of the male characters. Oh, how the testosterone-laden tables have been turned from the first film.

The issue here at all may be that between all the guts and stabbing, keeping up with anything in the story may just phase any viewers that came for anything more. I don’t know why you would expect it, but at certain points, there’s talking involved and I don’t know how much we’re supposed to care. In comparison to the more interesting exposition, you’re just as likely to zone out and come back when the action starts…which won’t take long.

"Did I ever tell you the story ofHYUUUK-"

“Hey, did I ever tell you the story of-HYUUUK-“

Positives- You’ll get almost exactly what you were looking for- blood and some boobs. Surprised?

Negatives- You’re getting a slightly slower version of what the first film was.

Grade- B-


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