300 Review

300 movie posterSynopsis
When Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his Persian army threaten Greece, King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) wishes to take his Spartan army to face him. After consulting the Ephors at Delphi, they refuse to allow him to declare war. Displeased, Leonidas takes a three hundred of his best Spartan soldiers to stop the invaders at Thermopylae.

Review
I really enjoy movies like 300; simple plot, great action and awesome visuals. Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name, 300 is a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae during the Persian Wars. Know right away that it is not a documentary nor very accurate (read not at all) to the actual battle. But man does it look amazing.

The visual style of the film is up there as one of my favorites. The coloring over the film gives it almost an airbrushed feel, a very similar style to its source material. Most of the movie was shot using blue and green screens, with most of the environment being computer generated. It creates a very surreal look and feel that is exceptional.

Few movies offer the brutality 300 does. The first forty-five minutes or so are spent setting up the Spartans and the battle ahead, but once it starts, it goes all out. But in contrast, the non-action scenes lack something to hold my attention. During these intermittent scenes, I was just itching to get back to the action.  Although I understand it couldn’t be ninety minutes of fighting, the other scenes aren’t as interesting.

Zack Snyder was the best directorial choice for this film. This was only his second film (his first being the Dawn of the Dead remake) as director, but his style fits perfectly. His hyper-realistic style really brings an element to the movie that makes it feel unique.

A strength and a weakness of this movies is the plot. It’s very simple: Leonidas and his men fight Xerxes at the Hot Gates. Along with some politics happening back in Sparta, that’s pretty much all there is to it. This makes way for some breathtaking cinematography and action sequences. However, the action and thin plot doesn’t allow for much characterization.  So if you are looking for some deep character moments, you won’t find them here.

Sometimes it is great to just watch a movie with a simple premise. 300 may not be the most thought provoking movie out there, but what it lacks characterization, or any real story for that matter, it offers spectacular visuals and pure, unfiltered action. Zack Snyder proves that he is a specialist when it comes to working with “hyper-realism.” Visually stunning and unapologetically brutal, 300 is one of my favorite ways to kill an afternoon (pun intended).

Rating
4/5

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Zack Snyder – Director/Screenplay
Kurt Johnstad – Screenplay
Michael Gordon – Screenplay
Tyler Bates – Composer

Gerard Butler – King Leonidas
Lena Headey – Queen Gorgo
Dominic West – Theron
David Wenham – Dilios
Vincent Regan – Captain
Michael Fassbender – Stelios
Tom Wisdom – Astinos
Andrew Pleavin – Daxos
Andrew Tiernan – Ephialtes
Rodrigo Santoro – Xerxes

Lightning Review: RoboCop 2

RoboCop 2 movie posterSynopsis
Omni Consumer Products (OCP) plans to foreclose on Detroit and putting the city under the control of OCP, taking them one step closer to building Delta City. Feeling that RoboCop (Peter Weller) is costing the company too much, OCP develops “RoboCop 2” under the direction of Dr. Juliette Faxx (Belinda Bauer) after finding the perfect candidate in the drug addict Cain (Tom Noonan). But when OCP loses control of Cain, RoboCop must fight a bigger and stronger version of himself in order to protect Detroit.

Review
I really enjoyed the first RoboCop, it was gruesome but satirical and had some interesting themes at the heart of it. RoboCop 2 is just as violent as its predecessor but lacks the thematic undertones. It appeared like it was going to delve more into RoboCop’s humanity and past life, something I wish the first had done more of, but that was skipped over pretty quickly. This movie is more or less a melting pot of several ideas that could have been developed into their own RoboCop movie but instead they were all thrown together and as a result, none were fully developed. The most disappointing, however, was Cain. He had the potential to be a really great villain but instead his character is fairly weak. And his design as “RoboCop 2” is hideous and one of the worst designs for a robot I have seen. RoboCop 2 could have been a strong sequel if it had been able to expand any of the several concepts laid throughout the film.

Rating
2/5

For the rest of the RoboCop franchise, check out my reviews for RoboCop and RoboCop 3.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Irvin Kershner – Director
Frank Miller – Story/Screenplay
Walon Green – Screenplay
Leonard Rosenman – Composer

Peter Weller – RoboCop
Nancy Allen – Anne Lewis
Dan O’Herlihy – The Old Man
Felton Perry – Donal Johnson
Belinda Bauer – Dr. Juliette Fox
Robert Doqui – Sgt. Reed
Tom Noonan – Cain
Galyn Gorg – Angie
Gabriel Damon – Hob
Willard E. Pugh – Mayor Kuzak
Stephen Lee – Duffy
Roger Aaron Brown – Whittaker