Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Do you think I enjoy this?

When I was little, I was obsessed with ancient Ancient Greece. Obsessed. And that was before my dad took me to Athens. As I got older, I shirked such scholarly endeavors and became enamored with action movies - the more violent the better. That's all I wanted to watch. Then, as my voice got marginally deeper, and when my bloodlust was (momentarily) quenched, women became all I thought about. Beautiful, mysterious (and um, let's be honest - buxom) creatures that captured my attention and imagination to such a degree, it negated all my other interests entirely. Well, except for movies.

Because, with the cinema, I could have all three. At the same time. 

300: Rise of an Empire isn't a great movie by any stretch, but damned if it isn't a good time. While that good time comes mainly in the form of buckets full of red blood and cups full of Green Eva, I had a solid time with this unnecessary sequel. The original 300 may be a better film, but this one excels in its simplicity. From start to finish, it's one thing, and one thing only: f--king chaotic.

I don't really recall the first flick all that well, as the last time I saw it (all the way through) was eight years ago. Luckily, Rise provides enough explanation of the events to get everyone up to speed.

Apparently, Leonidas' death at the end of 300 has given the Persians the belief that they can take Athens now, too. Turns out, that whole conflict was started by a Greek hombre named Themistocles (some dude named Sullivan Stapleton), who just happened to kill the Persian king. Now, ten years later, the king's son is back and seeking further vengeance. The son is Xerxes, the prettiest man alive (and villain of the first flick), who already decimated the Spartans and is coming for Themistocles and his band of merry men. Did you get all that? Me neither.

What you really need to know is that in Rise, the boogeyman isn't a giant Persian Prince (I mean the Purple Rain guy), but instead a ruthless (and sexy as Hell) naval commander named Artemisia. While the previous title of sexiest thing in any navy ever belonged to Erika Eleniak for her cake-show in Under Siege, Eva Green, playing Artemisia, now owns first place. And second, too. This bitch is a crazy mofo and will stop at nothing to see the Persian empire, among other things, spread.

I should mention that while everything outside of the insanely beautiful action and the insanely beautiful Green isn't really that exciting, it's a good thing there isn't really much of anything else anyway. Seriously. You find me a scene that doesn't have Green glaring, guys getting their limbs sliced off, or my personal favorite, Green glaring as she slices guys' limbs off, and I've got a couple of haystacks I need you to take a look at.

What you probably shouldn't look at, ever, are the Yays and Boos. Eye contact with them will turn you into stone. Or is that Medusa? I'm not sure, but just to be on the safe side, you should probably close your eyes for the next twenty-four hours. 

Would it make sense to design armor like that?
  • So...just so you know what kind of party this is...we get some slow motion boob-flopping. Thirty seconds in, no less.
  • It will eventually beat you into a coma, but the stylized action is impossibly stunning. I bet the 3D was bananas.
  • And speaking of amazing depth-of-field...let me just give Green an official Yay. You know, for officialness. Oh, and for beheading a guy and then kissing him. Actually, I looked into the old lady's eye in Big Fish, and that's totally how I go. Can't wait.
  • Time is slowed down probably...400 times. But, while that's pretty cool in itself, I'm actually awarding points for the complete lack of the sound of time slowing down. I hate that shit.
  • One poor bastard gets the ol' Holy Grail of injuries. First, his arm is cut off. Then, unsurprisingly, his leg. And let's just bring it home and decapitate that sumbitch.
  • Bomb Guy. Sure, he basically looks like a less freakier version of the new Ninja Turtles, but this dude is pretty awesome. At least what happens to him is. Cowabunga, indeed.
  • The cinematography is incredible. So many of the shots are so badass, you actually get numb to it. My favorite? The POV boat crash in Sea Battle #2. 
  • There's that typical kid we must protect character that I usually hate, right? Well, in this one, that kid kicks a lot of ass, which I love.
  • On the ridiculous scale, we get a scene featuring someone riding a horse, on a boat, through fire. Yep. Dreams do come true.
  • And finally, the negotiation scene. Fine, the only thing they were negotiating were each other's genitals - vigorously, but from where I'm sitting, that appears to be diplomacy at its finest. And I'm not going to lie to you. I watched this negotiation scene twice. I'm a huge history buff.
Katniss ain't got shit on Themistocles.
  • Xerxes comes out of his little spa day looking rather fancy. This is a Boo because I was wishing Artemisia would have taken a dip as well.
  • I'm pretty sure it's mentioned that someone raped and murdered Artemisia's entire family. Every one? Every single person? Think about that. Not to be a dick, but that's a lot of raping. And murdering. I'm thinking either/or would have sufficed.
  • Themistocles gets his chance at some pre-battle rah-rah talk, and let's just say it's no This. Is. SPARTA!
  • Speaking of ol' Thermi, this guy doesn't age in ten years. At all. Olive oil apparently does wonders on the skin.
  • Guys, I love your abs. Really. They're fantastic. But you know what else is fantastic? Armor. I mean, your stomach is hard and all, but there's this stuff called armor. It's waaayy harder. Totally will help in a sword fight. Promise.
  • We get to see some sea monsters devour some corpses. Cool, right? Right. How about some other magical beasts while were at it? Maybe Pegasus could impale a guy in the nuts?
  • There is a glorious SEA BATTLE. Yay! Then there is ANOTHER ONE.
  • I hope you like leaping.
  • You fight harder than you f--k. Ouch.
  • And speaking of, I think it would be rather difficult to fight for not only my own life, but my entire country's with a raging boner. Seems like a tactical disadvantage. Well played, Artemisia. Well played.
  • As much as blood is spilled in this movie, none of it ever gets on the attacker. Is that too hard to animate?
  • And finally, the ending. That's it? That was quick.
That concludes September 2014 at Two Dollar Cinema. And as much as I like over-the-top violence, gratuitous nudity, and sequels that no one asked for, I'm going to avoid all of that for October 2014. Yep, you guessed it. In October?

Nothing but horror movies!


  1. The only part of this movie I remember was the sex scene. That had to be the meanest sex scene ever. Holy shit. But hey, even I can appreciate slow motion boob flopping.

    1. Yeah, it's likely what anyone will remember from this one, but at least it has that going for it. If only one of the participants had done one of those giant, slo-motion leaps onto the other. That would have been sweet.

      We can all appreciate that. Except maybe that lady's husband.

      No. He probably digs it, too.

  2. That interrogation scene - oh my God! Green certainly doesn't hold back does she? Awesome review mate, very funny stuff :)

    1. Thanks! Yes. She certainly didn't hold back. Rather commendable of her, no?

  3. This is actually sitting on top of my DVD player waiting for me to put it in. Wasn't in any rush to watch it. And then you said "slow motion boob-flopping." So, yeah...

    1. Unfortunately, the slo-mo boobs are flopped under duress, so it's actually kind of a bummer. But, it does a solid job of letting us know that just about anything and everything will be slowed down for our viewing pleasure.

      It's just sitting there? C'mon now. Take care of that.

  4. I really need to see it at last. Eva is amazing, she can make anything watchable. Hell I'm even considering watching Shailene Woodley movie because she's in it.

    But I probably won't, I don't love her enough to suffer through seeing that for 90 minutes.

    1. Even if this movie ends up sucking, it's all too obvious that Green was having a blast with it.

      As for that Shailene comment, I'm going to assume you're very drunk or this is some sort of early-Halloween related prank. Or both.
      I've read enough RFs to know how much you loathe her, even if you find her alternative lifestyle endlessly intriguing and worth mentioning on every talk show ever.

  5. Wish it was more fun. Well, at least more than just what Eva Green does here. Good review.

    1. Thanks, Dan. I have to admit, I actually had a good time with it. In my book it was fun, just not very good. If that makes sense...