A German-Canadian collaboration Pompeii is a 2014 historical disaster movie directed by Paul W. S Anderson. The film stars Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, and Kiefer Sutherland.
Back in 62 AE, a Celtic village of horsemen is attacked by the Romans led by Corvus and they are totally wiped out. A young boy named Milo is the only survivor and watches as Corvus personally kills his parents. Later Milo is captured by slave traders and sold as a slave. 17 years later, groomed as a gladiator, he is bought by slave master Graceus and brought to Pompeii with other slaves. On the road to the city a horse that is carrying a carriage falls in front of the slaves, injured and struggling. Cassia and her servant Ariadne are in the carriage on their way back to Pompeii from Rome and they come out of the carriage. Milo offers to help as he understands horses and is allowed to; however there is nothing he can do for the horse, so he snaps it’s neck killing it and ending it’s misery. Milo and the slaves are taken to the arena while Cassia, daughter of Pompeii’s ruler Severus, goes home to see her mother Aurelia and father. Severus is hoping to have the new Emperor Titus invest in plans to rebuild Pompeii but Cassia warns him of Rome becoming more corrupt.
At night a servant named Felix rides Cassia’s horse but is thrown off and killed when a quake from the nearby Mount Vesuvius causes the earth to open up under him. At the arena Milo starts a rivalry with the reigning champions gladiator Atticus who by Roman law will be given his freedom after he attains one more victory. Although they fight each other to show off their strengths, Atticus saves Milo’s life when another gladiator tries to sneak up from behind and kill Milo for revenge on his brother’s death. A grand party thrown by Severus to honour the visiting Corvus, now a respected Senator, and to seek favour in getting Emperor Titus to invest in the former’s plan to rebuilt Pompeii. Corvus, who seeks Cassia, says that although the emperor won’t invest in the plans, he himself will. An earthquake frightens Cassia’s horse Milo helps calm one down & then takes Cassia on a ride, telling her that they cannot be together. When they are caught Corvus is about to kill Milo but Cassia pleads for his life to be spared so the Celt is instead lashed in public. The next day is to be a huge gladiator event with a filled amphitheater.
Instead of Milo & Atticus facing each other, Corvus orders him killed in the first battle and wicked trainer Bellator (Currie Graham) convinces Graecus to sacrifice Atticus as well. The two of them are chained along with other gladiators as a large group of Roman soldiers attack them. Working together Milo & Atticus are the only two left as they kill all the Romans. During the battle, Corvus forces Cassia to agree to marry him by threatening to have her family killed for supposed treason against the Emperor. When Cassia defies him, Corvus has his men lock her up in a villa. Corvus has his officer Proculus fight Milo one to one when Vesuvius errupts creating quakes that cause the arena to collapse, sending Milo and Proculus crashing to the jail levels. Milo opens the prisoner gates and in the rush Proculus escaping while the gladiators kill Bellator. Servus tries to kill Corvus but is stopped by the Senator and killed instead. The volcano sends out balls of fire as the people flee and try to make it to the harbour and the ships that they are trying to escape in are destroyed. Milo races to the villa to rescue Cassia but Aredna is killed when a huge section collapses. Cassia is captured at the arena by Corvus who feels in a chariot and pursued by Milo while Atticus and Proculus face off.
The Roman manages to mortally wound Atticus, but the gladiator rises up to break the blade and use it to kill the soldier. Dodging the fireballs and as the city around them is destroyed Milo catches up to Corvus & Cassia as the chariot crashes at the temple of Appolo. While Milo & Corvus fight, Cassia manages to chain Corvus to a building and she & Milo ride off on a horse. As the gas & lava rush through the city Atticus proudly meets his fate while Corvus is also incinerated. At the city outskirts, the horse throws off Milo and Cassia. Milo tells Cassia to leave on her own. Instead, she sends the horse off, not wanting to spend her last few moments running. She and Milo passionately kiss as the pyroclastic flow engulfs them. The last shot is of the duo’s carbonized bodies locked in an eternal embrace.
In my opinion the production, sets, costumes, designs and special effects all rock. They are great but we have a bad rushed story that fails to capture the imagination and the actors do not have time to work to gain our sympathy and emotions. This is huge failure on the part of the movie makers, especially as everybody dies in this film! They should have tried making the movie longer or writing it better to give us more empathy for the cast of characters. On a budget of $80 million, the film made back around 97 million. 6.5 outta 10 for the movie!