300: Rise of an Empire

ACTION; 1hr 42min

STARRING: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Lena Headey

There will be (lots of) blood: Stapleton

Operatic to the hilt, director Noam Murro’s continuation of 2007’s 300 embraces the 480 BC Persian invasion of Greece with a doomy fervour that is at once darkly arresting and a smidge on the high side of camp. In the right corner is virtuous Greek general Themistocles of Athens (Stapleton), outnumbered every which way but bristling with his vision of a united Greece. In the left, in full Mardi Gras drag, is demonic Persian god-king Xerxes (Santoro) and his enabling henchwoman, Artemisia (Green). Greek-born and grudge-holding, she’s the inflexible commander of the fearsome Persian navy and a femme fatale of incalculable and vile wiles.


If you’re thinking you won’t have truly lived until you’ve copped one slo-mo, 3-D blood splatter after another, then this could be the lusciously muscled, David–Goliath go-round for you. As an intellectual exercise, the fury and yet more fury — once again adapted from a Frank Miller graphic novel — is conspicuously lacking. But it’s worth a goggling eyeball for the might of its manpower, the sumptuous heft of its extra-special effects, and most of all for warrior-vixen Artemisia, whose Gothic dress sense and gruesome appetites leave the men for dead.