Directed by Zack Snyder, staring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Lena Headey. After the fall of the 300 Spartans, the torch has now been passed to the Greeks to try and defend against Xerxes and Artemisia.
This is the sequel from the much loved original – 300. In this film we see a new branch of technology being used to great effect. However, what made 300 particularly good, was the history it was constructed from, from the start of 300 we are given a detailed account of how Spartan boys were raised and their teaching of the ideology towards war.
While towards the end of 300 it may have lost factual basis in favour of monsters and blood there were enough unique and memorable moments to entertain throughout.
Rise of an empire is a much weaker film, no history is given other then the about the Greeks and their particular skills at sea. The history we are afforded is a re run of what we saw in 300, the audience is ready to move.
While Rise of an empire tries to be vaguely interesting it fails simply because, unlike the original, this is pure fantasy with no historical base. For some reason after the clarity of 300 this feels stereotypical and contrived, history based to fantasy story yet pretending to be a follow on. Rehashing the special effects and plot lines to a degree means the father son act has been all seen before and so there is little entertainment here that could not be better delivered by simply watching the first film again.
While the entertainment factor is high, with the usual Znyder effects of slow motion war and blood, this can only entertain for so long. The two films are interlinked and they constantly remind the viewer of more memorable moments. The one that easily comes to mind is Gerard Butler kicking the Persian messenger into the well; that moment went on to become common in social banter – if you had seen the film you immediately understood the context. Rise of an Empire fails connect in the same manner which is frustrating as the cast is excellent, better use could really have made of the many of the character Athenians, with new concepts rather then simply recycling ideas from the first film.
OVERALL** while it is entertaining to see the special effects Zynder is famous for, they become dull and over used. A shame considering the cast is strong and while we do see use of the sea battles they could have been used for better effect.
RECOMMENDATION – With a stronger first film, there is little reason to watch this second instalment, other then the potential of a third act.