Apparently, chick flicks aren’t the only films living in the Dead Zone of movies. Greeks and Romans wearing sandals and bearing swords are populating this slow time of year at the cinema. It began with the less than Herculean tale of The Legend of Hercules earlier this year. The Spartans return in the next installment of the 300 franchise that will hopefully breathe life into the Dead Zone in March. This week we get gladiators, slaves and Roman royals running from Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in the disaster film Pompeii.
Who better to direct a disaster that no one cares about than the most mediocre director in Hollywood, Paul W.S. Anderson. Anderson has made a living creating terrible video-game-film adaptations (Resident Evil & Mortal Kombat) and managing to wreck two franchises with one film in the form of AVP: Alien vs Predator. You would have thought Hollywood would have given up on Anderson after the ridiculous The Three Musketeers and the underperforming Resident: Evil Retribution. Instead Anderson is right back to his dumb film tricks with Pompeii.
Pompeii is nothing more than a blatant Titanic rip off, but features a volcano in substitution for the infamous ship. You have a slave-turned-Gladiator, Milo (Kit Harington), who falls for a wealthy Roman girl named Cassia (Emily Browning). Along with the impending doom of the eruption, an evil Roman Senator played by the surprisingly bad Kiefer Sutherland wants Cassia as his wife. Was Billy Zane not available to play this role? Every scene is straight out of Titanic, including the last scene of the two young lovers facing their fate that almost identically mirrored Jack’s tearful drowning at the conclusion of Titanic.
Throw in some dialogue and scenes borrowed from Gladiator for the men and you have exactly what you would expect from a Paul W.S. Anderson film. A complete and total disaster with the absence of life – and I’m not referring to Mount Vesuvius blowing its top. Anderson still manages to get his beloved body count up on-screen in Pompeii even with the PG-13 rating. I would have preferred the volcano to erupt in the first five minutes of Pompeii to spare us from this terrible attempt at a disaster love story.
Overall, I give Pompeii 1 out of 4 stars.
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