In Pompeii, Paul W.S. Anderson brings us another action adventure movie that, like Anderson’s Resident Evil franchise, does what it does best: action.
Fast-paced and action-packed, Pompeii gives us a somewhat familiar look into the life of a slave-turned-gladiator. Anderson tries to accurately depict everyday life in Pompeii but obviously it isn’t every day that one of the best gladiators in the city falls in love with the daughter of a high-ranking Pompeii citizen.
While the storyline is quite been-there-done-that, Anderson casts the movie well — Kit Harington as the angsty protagonist, opposite Emily Browning as the beautiful yet strong female lead — using subtle techniques to build characters while still providing the appropriate amount of action. As the movie’s villain, Kiefer Sutherland’s performance as Corvus is rather uninspiring, but at least this helps the audience have an extreme distaste for his character.
I had two concerns going into this movie. Because it was 3D I was worried they would, like an increasing number of action movies, rely on shaky camera work and unnecessary gore. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy gory movies as much as the next person but they need context. Second, I was worried that Anderson would take some creative liberties with the ending and go a little crazy. Needless to say I was pleased on both accounts. His action sequences were both realistic and well filmed. There was no unnecessary gore, but it was still rather violent.
Pompeii was a well done movie with an intriguing story. It has a little something for everyone: wonderful graphics and fight sequences for the action lovers out there, underlayed with a compelling love story and more than enough screen time taken up by Harington’s physique, for the more romantically inclined audience.
Most importantly, Anderson stays true to the most important point of the story — the audience is never allowed to forget the movie is about a volcano.