Starring: Channig Tatum, Jamie Bell
Anyone hooked on TV series Spartacus: Blood And Sand will tell you there is still a lot of mileage in a sword and sandals story, if done well.
Problem with The Eagle is the plot is never engrossing enough for it to be a real shot in the arm for the genre.
Tatum stars as Centurion Marcus Aquila who comes to Roman-occupied Britain to redeem his family name after his father’s entire legion disappears while fighting local warriors.
When he suffers a career-ending injury, Aquila and Esca (Bell), a slave whose life he saves, head into the wilderness to discover what happened to the missing soldiers and retrieve their standard – a gold eagle. After a solid start, The Eagle quickly loses altitude thanks to poor character development. The bond that supposedly exists between Aquila and Esca is never properly established by director Kevin Macdonald, meaning neither character’s actions ring true. It doesn’t help that the accents are all over the place and the dialogue occasionally snigger-inducing.
Plusses include breathtaking cinematography and an excellent climactic skirmish. It’s not enough, though, to make it the next Gladiator.
Good for: Fans of bloody battles.
Watch The Eagle trailer here.
– Pierre de Villiers