Bullet Points: Pompeii
I’m going to save you an hour and forty minutes of your life; instead of watching Pompeii, pull up Gladiator on Netflix and watch it instead. Pompeii is a sad cash grab using the popularity of Game of Thrones and the awesome Ridley Scott Gladiator film as a basis for a movie that is so ridiculous that it’s only defining quality of note is its use of crumbling walls and a shaking ground to build suspense. Somehow walls falling down and roofs collapsing cause buildings to catch fire and I found myself rooting for the volcano for most of the movie. Go Mount Vesuvius!
The Gist: Kit Harrington plays a horse whispering gladiator known as “The Celt” whose tribe was massacred by the Romans and he was enslaved and turned into a gladiator until eventually being taken to Pompeii to fight in the games. A family is trying to build a large arena in the city so a mean old Senator from Rome has come to Pompeii and he just so happens to be the guy who killed Harrington’s people 17 years earlier. The Senator is also hot for the young daughter but she spoke with The Celt and thought he had dreamy eyes and now is devoted to him.
The Cast: Kit Harrington has the charisma of a block of cheese and it doesn’t help that his name is Milo and they call him “The Celt” cause he was found there when he was a small boy. In fact, it kinda reminds me of when they called Maximus “Spaniard” in Gladiator, no? Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays the role of “black Gladiator friend” just like in that other movie I’ve mentioned several times. AAA eventually turns out to be the ultimate good guy as he’s trying to save the Roman people who were just cheering for his death. Emily Browning plays the one-note female lead who aside from visiting Rome earlier only has one character trait: she wants to bone The Celt. They did meet twice before she fell utterly in love and risked her life to save him. I bet that happens all the time.
I gotta give it to him, Harrington got pretty shredded.
The Villains: The Romans are the bad guys yet again and Kiefer Sutherland plays the most unbelievable Senator in the long history of the Roman Empire in film. God knows what kind of accent he uses. He sounds like he’s trying to do some sort of English accent but that he just had his wisdom teeth removed. Or maybe he had taken a swig of mouthwash and tried to read his lines without spilling it from his mouth. That is the best way that I can describe it. At one point, though, Kiefer gives up the accent and just screams “YOU BITCH” at a girl.
Kiefer Sutherland chews up scenery with the best of them.
The Action: Earlier in the film a horse is startled by bubbling water and it bucks of its rider and runs away but later in the movie a friggin’ volcano is erupting all over the city but the horses pay no attention to the balls of fire landing all around them. There’s also the fact that when the volcano is erupting the city streets are filled with people running all over each other but then our happy couple of 3 minutes just ride a horse down an empty street to the city limits. I guess everyone cleared out at that point. Oh yeah, then a gust of wind and fire blows through the city, killing everything in its path but somehow leaving their ashen bodies exactly where they stood. Please stop…
While the actual eruption of Mt. Vesuvius is the final third of the movie, the first two parts are pretty much like fast-forwarding through Gladiator.
Take it Home:
- Gladiator 2 Pompeii: They smush all the great shit that Gladiator did right like character development, motive, and epic battle scenes into about 35 minutes so we’re left with an abbreviated mess of a movie. It would almost work as a made for TV sequel to Gladiator but that would make it the most expensive made for TV movie of all time.
- Real life: Archeologists really did find among the ruins of Pompeii a couple clutching one another but they weren’t in the pose shown in the film. There was also a large bulking, possibly African man found in the arena.
- Cry about it: Kit Harrington got pretty shredded but he was said to have developed body dysmorphia and was always working out and trying to get into better shape. What a sissy, I’d like to see Hugh Jackman kick his ass.