300 : Rise Of An Empire

300 : Rise Of An Empire is a 2014 fantasy war/action movie and is a sort of sequel to 2007’s 300 in that the events of this film happen before, during & after the events of the previous film. It is based on the as-yet-unreleased Frank Miller graphic novel Xerxes. Zack Snyder, who directed and co-wrote the original film, acts as writer and producer on Rise of an Empire. The cast includes Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro, David Wenham, Andrew Tiernan, Andrew Pleavin and Peter Mensah reprising their roles from the first film, alongside Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Hans Matheson, Callan Mulvey, and Jack O’Connell.

The film, narrated by Queen Gorgo of Sparta, shows how the Persian king Darius was fatally inured by general Themistocles of Athens as the Persians tried to invade Athens at the Battle of Marathon. Themistocles regretted not killing the future king, Xerses, then a young prince who witnessed the death of his father. Before dying Darius advices not to continue the war as the Greeks can only be killed by the gods. Darius’ faithful naval commander Artemisia, tells Xerses that it is a challenge and tells him to go to a mystic cave and bathes in an otherwordly liquid (??) and when he emerges he turns from a normal Persian man with a beard and hair to that hairless wonder or whatever it is with jewels from the Mr. T rejection pile! Artemisia is actually a Greek woman who defected to Persia as her family was raped and murdered by Greek hoplites and she was taken as a sex slave to the Greeks, who left her for dead in the streets. She was rescued and adopted by the Persians. Her lust for vengeance gained the attention of King Darius and he made her a naval commander after she killed many of his enemies.

Themeistocles alerted by his friend Scyllas, who was spying on the Persians, about their advancement travels to Sparta to ask King Leonaidas for help but as the King is consulting with the Oracle, Gorgo is reluctant for the Spartans to join Athens. Themistocles and his men win the first battle by ramming their ship against a Persian one and attacking them in ambushes and impresses Artemisia so much that she invites him over to talk. On her ship she ties to uses sex to influence him to defect to her side and become her second in command but when he refuses she pushes his aside. The Greeks are caught off guard the next day when the Persians spill tar into the sea and then use torches to ignite the fire, causing several ships to explode. Scyllas is also killed while the army is depleted down. While they rest they learn of the death of Leonidas and his 300 men. Themeistocles visits Gorgo in Sparta while she is mourning Leonidas to ask for her help, but she is too overcome with grief. Before leaving, Themistocles returns Leonidas’ sword, which he took from Ephialtes, who had earlier stolen it, and urges Gorgo to avenge Leonidas.

Athen is destroyed by Xerses while Artemisia learns that Themistocles is still alive and prepares to attack again, against Xerses wishes. The Greek ships crash into the Persians ships, and the two armies battle, beginning the decisive Battle of Salamis. Themistocles and Artemisia fight, which ends in a stalemate with both receiving injuries. However Gorgo has arrived with the Spartan army and allied with the rest of the Greek soldiers from other cities outnumbering the Persians. Themistocles gives Artemisia a chance to surrender before killing her and the Greeks go on to destroy the Persians.

Honestly, I couldn’t stand all that cartoonish blood flowing freely and thought that the story felt tame. Action sequences are great but it really is fantasy more than anything. Mystic otherwordly liquid turns a man into a muscular effeminate mountain? Eva Green is hawt in that sex scene! 6.5 outta 10 for me!

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