Parmageddon is nigh in this cheesy ancient-world action melodrama whose simmering main character is a moody Mount Vesuvius. The structure of ‘Gladiator’ looms large as sullen slave turned fighter Milo (Kit Harington from ‘Game of Thrones’, with a six pack and five fewer facial expressions) draws the attention of Cassia (Emily Browning), a wealthy daughter of the city. Unfortunately, such flirtations are frowned upon in AD 79, especially by rapacious Roman senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), who claims the young woman for his prize while ordering his guards to ‘Kill them, kill them all!’, no less than twice.
It feels like centuries before multiple horizon shots of the volcano become the full-on eruption we’re waiting for. Digital plumes of fireballs are impressive, as will be your ability to detach from the human tragedy onscreen. ‘Pompeii’ didn’t have to be so bad: elsewhere, director Paul WS Anderson has displayed a flair for stylish nonsense, particularly with ‘Resident Evil’ (2002). But there’s not enough villainy here – nor lip-smacking comeuppance – to justify anyone’s death by ash or falling column.