Film, Action and adventure
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Set in what is now Scotland in AD 117, ‘The Descent’ director Neil Marshall’s relentless, predictable chase movie draws upon the myth of the mysterious lost Ninth Legion of the Roman army. Stranded behind enemy lines following an ambush by Pictish warriors armed with giant fireballs, a ragtag, multi-ethnic band of Roman soldiers – reluctant leader Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), stalwart Bothos (David Morrissey), joker Thax (JJ Feild), old-timer Brick (Liam Cunningham), agile African Macros (Noel Clarke) and cowardly cook Tarak (Riz Ahmed) – attempt to weave their way across country back to the last Roman fort. Lead by the fearsome Gorlacan (Ulrich Thomsen), and guided by skilled tracker Etain (Olga Kurylenko), the hostile locals remorselessly track their prey.

‘Centurion’ is essentially one long, breathless pursuit sequence, punctuated by violent fight scenes and redundant quieter ones: for example, Quintus’s drippy romance with ostracised Pictish ‘witch’ Arianne (Imogen Poots) adds nothing but some lingering shots of Poots’s ethereally beautiful face. And no amount of relentless forward momentum, head-smacking violence or CGI-enhanced blood-letting can disguise the anaemic characterisation and obvious contrivances. Stick-thin Bond girl Kurylenko’s role as the mute, vengeful warrior Etain is no more believable or convincing than that of Keira Knightley in ‘King Arthur’. Both look as if a faint breeze would blow them over. The fearless, credible Fassbinder deserves better than this, as does ‘The Wire’ alumnus Dominic West, cruelly wasted in an abbreviated cameo as the aptly named commanding officer General Titus Virilus. Finally, the abrupt, unsatisfying ending suggests a crisis of confidence in the cutting room.

By: Nigel Floyd


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday April 23 2010
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Neil Marshall
Screenwriter: Neil Marshall
Cast: Noel Clarke
Olga Kurylenko
Dominic West
Michael Fassbender
David Morrissey

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:2
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  • 1 star:0
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Watch it, if like me, you cant be bothered to shift through the endless crap titles on the watch now section on Lovefilm .... a boredom killer at best.


Completely agree with the reviewer. The 'Picts' as master tacticians is laughable. You'd have to be a Scottish historical revisionist to see this as anything other than the farce it is. And what is the deal with the CGI blood addition?! I was waiting for "POW', 'BOP', and 'SOCKO' to come up on the screen as well!

The movie world ugh

Not sure what the other commenters saw but I'd say the critic was lenient at best. It would seem that in the world of the uneducated, anything goes! Toothpick thin models can take out heavily armored soldiers whilst wielding weapons heavier than them. Characters have to speak modern slang to be relevant. Plot and story must remain minimal so it's not to confusing. This is the new movie standard apparently.


A good movie, basic chase set against Roman times. I enjoyed it. Action scenes were gritty, violent and gave the feel of brutal man to man (and in some cases man to woman) combat. Characterisation is basic, as is the way in nearly all movies, but sufficient for the story. Historically it seems to be a good representation of what we know of the period, both militarily and socially. (Unlike "The Eagle") Whilst one reviewer seems to have a problems with Picts rolling giant fireballs at the Romans this was quite a common way of breaking up formed infantry formations. (Kirk Douglas and his slave army did the same in Spartacus.) The ending is a bit lame and could have been handled better. hard to say why without spoiling it! All in all a very good movie for me.

Andy S

Not quite sure what the reviewer above watched, but a pretty poor review of a very exciting chase movie. Dom West has a lot more than a mere cameo and all the cast are superb. Ok, its a little brisk, but a pure thrill ride noetheless. A must see.


This film has a odd grainy look to it, which at the start i expected to become distracting but i was quickly drawn in to the action and enjoyed it. Shame Dominic West meets his demise so early on. Certainly a must for all Fassbender fans.


I liked it. Fast, bloody chase movie with no flabby navel-gazing bits, lots of mud and some fantastic scenery. Worth a look.