Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Centurion

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: R

Starring:
Michael Fassbender as Centurion Quintus Dias
Andreas Wisniewski as Commander Gratus
Dave Legeno as Vortix
Axelle Carolyn as Aeron
Dominic West as General Titus Flavius Virilus
Noel Clarke as Macros
JJ Feild as Thax
Lee Ross as Septus
David Morrissey as Bothos
Simon Chadwick as Carlisle Messenger
Ulrich Thomsen as Gorlacon
Ryan Atkinson as Gorlacon's Son
Paul Freeman as Governor Julius Agricola
Olga Kurylenko as Etain

Directed by Neil Marshall

Special Features:
Blood, Fire & Fury: Behind The Scenes Of Centurion
Deleted Scenes With Commentary
Outtakes
Interviews With Cast And Crew
Behind The Scenes Footage
Photo Galleries
HDNet: A Look At Centurion
Commentary With Neil Marshall (Writer/Director) And Crew

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 98 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts. Quintus Dias (Fassbender), sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus' (West) legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon. But when the legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines. Enduring the harsh terrain and evading their remorseless Pict pursuers led by revenge-hungry Pict Warrior Etain (Kurylenko), the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and to reach the safety of the Roman frontier."

"Centurion" is rated R for sequences of strong bloody violence, grisly images and language.

Mini-Review:
"Centurion" was a somewhat entertaining film. It starts out a lot like the opening of "Gladiator." We see Roman soldiers battling seemingly more primitive people on the outskirts of their empire. This time instead of battling Barbarians they are fighting Picts in northern England. You see all sorts of swords, arrows, and gory deaths amidst creepy forests. But as the movie progresses, about a third of the way into the story it turns into a chase film. Quintus Dias and a small batch of soldiers who survived an ambush are hunted down one by one. In some respects it feels like "Predator," but instead of aliens you have Picts killing them. It's very much a survival tale from that point onward.

I didn't realize it until I saw the bonus features, but this is apparently based on a legend about a legion of Roman soldiers who disappeared at the edge of the frontier. Apparently this is what prompted the construction of Hadrian's Wall. This story imagines what might have happened to them. It's a great idea for the film and an interesting story.

"Centurion" is a great looking movie. The costumes are impressive and the scenery is both beautiful and haunting. The cast is also excellent. Michael Fassbender is our main hero as Quintus Dias. He's tough and honorable, unlike some of the other soldiers. Dominic West is also memorable as General Titus Flavius Virilus. They spend a lot of time building up his characters, but he's in the movie a lot less than you'd expect. But the real memorable cast member is Olga Kurylenko as Etain. She doesn't have a single word of dialogue in the movie, yet she's equally beautiful and fierce. Director Neil Marshall also goes out of his way to give Etain and the other Picts good justification for the brutal murders they commit. You end up not having a lot of sympathy for the Roman invaders as they're picked off.

The biggest problem I had with "Centurion" was the CG blood spurts they had everywhere. Now I don't like it when there's no blood and it's completely unrealistic. But this movie went way over the top. Every little swipe of a blade is accompanied with a bright red gush of CG blood. It got to the point that I expected a gush of blood if somebody got a paper cut. They should have dialed it back a bit.

If you like war movies or are fascinated by Roman history, then "Centurion" is a film you're going to want to pick up.

You'll find a generous helping of bonus features on this DVD. There's a 'making of' documentary, interviews with the cast and crew, deleted scenes, outtakes, galleries, an HDNet special on the making of the movie, and a commentary. I was particularly interested in the discussion about the original legend the story is based on.

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