Was anyone really calling out for a sequel to 2007’s 300? Were you watching 300 and thinking “This is all good, but I wonder what the Athenians were doing before, after and during the events of this film?” If so, then this may be the film for you. But will it be as fun as the original?
While King Leonidas and his men are in battle against Xeres (Rodrigo Santoro) the Athenians try to fight their own battle against the Persians. General Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton), who has history with Xeres, prepares to lead his men in the fight. But will they be more successful than the Spartans?
Considering 300 ended with deaths of the 300 Spartans a sequel was always going to be problematic. So Rise of an Empire tires to be a prequel, sequel and parallel -equal (not a word but go with me) which leaves the narrative in a bit of a mess. And as Gerald Butler’s Leonidas no longer with us this follow-up is missing a male lead with any real presence. Themistocles, and his Athenian soldiers are poor replacements for the Spartans. In fact most of 300: Rise of an Empire retreads 300‘s best bits with more slow-mo fights, rousing speeches, men wearing impractical and barely there fighting gear etc. For the majority of its running time it seems like an unfunny parody of its predecessor.
But there is one shining light to Rise of an Empire, and that is Eva Green. Green plays mad, bad and psychotic Artemisia. She looks like she’s having a whale of a time as the villainous Greek whose diverted to the Persian side and risen to rank of Naval Commander. She’s a crazy breath of fresh air next to the dull Athenians, whether its kissing the lips of a decapitated head, or her interesting take on negotiating a peace treaty, Green is brilliant to watch. Unfortunately the film suffers whenever she’s off the screen. A movie focusing on her would have been much more entertaining.
Rating 2.5/5 – only watch for Eva Green’s brilliantly batty performance in this otherwise disappointing follow-up