Thursday, July 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Review: The abs strike back in ’300′ sequel

By
From page B3 | March 07, 2014 |

The glistening abs are back in “300: Rise of an Empire,” and they’ve been doing crunches.

Like its forerunner, the 2007 hit “300,” ”Rise of an Empire” again plunges us into bloody, hyper-stylized Greek history: mythology with muscles. The computer-generated warfare franchise is now a third of the way to a six-pack.

Made clearly to capitalize on the popularity of “300,” ”Rise of an Empire” is something like collected behind-the-scenes from the Persian invasion featured in “300.” Whereas the first film chronicled, ab by ab, the Spartans’ heroic stand in the Battle of Thermopylae against Xerxes’s Persian invasion, “Rise of an Empire” is about the concurrent naval fight, the Battle of Artemisium.

This may be war by sea, but the ingredients of “300″ are largely unaltered. An outnumbered band of Greeks staves off a tyrannical Persian army below roiling skies of red and gray. Manly honor is fetishized to a comical degree. Blood spills like soup.

These two films, very much intertwined, provoke a number of questions: Did everyone forget their shirts? Is this a workout video? Or is this just the most absurdly ridiculous thing ever?

Yes and no. In “Rise of an Empire,” Zack Snyder moves from the director’s chair to producer (and co-screenwriter with Kurt Johnstad), leaving Noam Murro to helm the film. But Snyder’s imprint is unmistakable, with his visual style carried over, mimicking the extremes of Frank Miller’s comic book illustrations (the inspiration of both movies).

These are easy films to make fun of. It’s why perhaps the best thing to come out of “300″ was the viral video “It’s Raining Men,” a clip of the movie’s Mediterranean men in various states of brotherly togetherness, set to the disco tune.

But they’re also precisely the movies they seek to be: Some kind of grandly warped, excessively heightened dream of mythical battle. It’s as if Douglas Sirk made a combat video game.

At least it’s the women who reign in “Rise of an Empire,” though one wouldn’t expect that given its seconds into the film when naked breasts make their first gratuitous appearance. The male actors here — Sullivan Stapleton as the Greek hero Themistokles, Santoro, back as the bronzed Xerxes — are easily outdone by the females.

There is Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey of “Game of Thrones”) lordly presiding over Sparta. But as Persian commander Artemisia, Eva Green rules ferociously over the film. She drives the Persians with a warrior’s desperate thirst for revenge and a stare that makes the men of her army cower.

It’s like a reckoning of the macho multitudes of “300.” She single-handedly spoils the landscape of manly torsos.

___

“300: Rise of an Empire,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “strong sustained sequences of stylized bloody violence throughout, a sex scene, nudity and some language.” Running time: 102 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Artists with trowels transform highway wall

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
 
County court employees rally against cuts, furloughs

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Crews to begin Vacaville slurry seal street project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

2nd candidate eyes Vacaville mayoral run

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Bertani schedules town hall meet

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
 
Vacaville police arrest fugitive Dezmon Frazier

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

Sesame Street USO tour visits Travis

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Carranza | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: July 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Weather for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: July 21, 2013

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Lawsuit tests racial policy at California prisons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Honduran families deported back to a bleak future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Watch out for Bobby Jindal

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A7

 
Rick Perry’s contradiction

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Editorial Cartoons for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Good men lost due to Bergdahl

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Is Logue tripping over words?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for July 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

I resent my husband for not defending me to his mother

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for July 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

CBS event marks civil rights anniversary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Filmmaker Michael Moore’s divorce is finalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
CBS says Colbert keeping CBS’ ‘Late Show’ in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Raiders start to arrive for start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

 
Tight end Vernon Davis arrives at 49ers training camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pence drives in 3, Giants beat Phillies 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cespedes hits 2 HRs, A’s hold off Astros 9-7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Big innings fuels 16-1 Expos victory in Area 1 opener

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
4 Cities to meet with USOC about 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Testimony ends in trial over $2B Clippers sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Playful Pole wins Tour stage, as Nibali marches on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mavericks’ Felton pleads guilty in NYC gun case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles reach deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Seattle’s Sidney Rice announces his retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Broncos owner giving up control due to Alzheimer’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

GM issues 6 more safety recalls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Joseph Ross Smith Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9