Perhaps it should be called 300: The Other Guys. As the fact this film exists in effect contradicts the title 300. Many people know it wasn’t just 300 Spartans that fought at the Battle of Thermopylae but many thousands of other Greeks. Also no empire particularly rises, arguably one does but technically it merely remains in existence. The concept is interesting, telling the story of Xerxes rise to God-King status whilst also telling the story of the Battle of Salamis, a battle depicted to have happened concurrently to Leonidas’ battle at Thermopylae.
Rise of an Empire tries to cash in on the success 300 had with revolutionising historical action movies. 300 being one of the first comic book films, where the film resembled the comic book more than a normal film (unlike other comic book films like X-Men, Superman, and Batman, including the earlier ones). This success spawned a new wave of ‘hyper-stylised-fictionalised-reality’ films and tv shows, the two biggest examples being the Spartacus TV series and Immortals. Both relied heavily on expanded visuals, highly detailed action sequences and a helpful dashing of blood and boobs. Rise of an Empire however failed to limit itself from falling into realms of ridiculousness. Whilst 300 wasn’t wholly true it never really lied, there are scenes and passages in Rise that did not or absolutely would not happen, for different reasons than the untrue scenes in 300.
Rise of an Empire contains enough ‘wow!’ and ‘What the Hell!’ moments, including several ‘hahaha no way that’s gross!’ moments. However it does not achieve the same levels of brilliance the original did. The innovation of 300 set it aside from both standard action films and comic-book adaptations and placed it within it’s own hybrid realm somewhere between The Matrix, Gladiator and high budget pornography. The recent instalment comes through as a high budget B-movie. Visually it’s decent enough, the choreography is amazing and the battle sequences follow suit, and for all your perverts who are too high class for pornography there are plenty of boobs. All in all, it’s good enough but absolutely unnecessary.
Verdict – 3/5