Film, Action and adventure
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
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

Release date:
Friday April 23 2010
97 mins

Cast and crew

Neil Marshall
Neil Marshall
Noel Clarke
Olga Kurylenko
Dominic West
Michael Fassbender
David Morrissey
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