Eight years ago, audiences were first introduced to King Leonidas and the brave 300. Against monumental odds, the Spartan king and his personal guard took a stand against Xerxes and the Persian army. “300” was a bloody, action-packed story with a ton of style, but how would the series fair in 2014?
Released March 7, “300: Rise of an Empire” was directed by Noam Murro and stars Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, and Rodrigo Santoro. Zack Snyder, director of the original “300,” remained in the project both as writer and producer.
The movie tells the story of Greek general Themistokles (Stapleton) as he leads the charge against the Persian forces led by Xerxes (Santoro) and Artemisia (Green).
The film begins with a brief narrative from Queen Gorgo, Leonidas’s wife from the original film, before viewers are immediately thrown into a battle led by Themistokles. As armies collide in a bloody, gory skirmish, it is apparent that the film holds the same stylish technique as its predecessor.
On the other hand, outside of the visually pleasing battles and choreography, “300: Rise of an Empire” misses the mark.
One of the biggest downfalls of “300: Rise of an Empire” is the confusing timeline. The film takes place before, during, and after the events of the original film, as it jumps through time without warning.
Though I was able to follow the plot, for those who have not seen the film since its release, or at all for that matter, the story may be slightly confusing.
Beyond the sporadic plot, this method of storytelling felt rushed and under developed, as the movie runs at only 102 minutes.
Although “300: Rise of an Empire” is entertaining and fun, it lacks the same intensity that Leonidas and his 300 Spartans brought to audiences in 2006.
The characters are underdeveloped, the plot is not as compelling, and though the film has its moments, by the third act the story has lost most of its steam.
I’m giving “300: Rise of an Empire” 2.5/5 kernels.