While Gladiator was a modernised and engaging pastiche of the ancient historical epic, Pompeii is written and delivered with the soulless hum of a photocopier.
Things heat up around the midway point, erupting into an orgy of often-impressive CGI, but the spectacle is undercut by Anderson’s cringeworthy action additions and a truly risible ending.
Browning delivers until she’s reduced to just a damsel in distress, while Harington proves he can’t yet carry a film. Sutherland, though, prowls with the maniacal menace of Jay Robinson’s Caligula in The Robe; it’s a toss-up who devours more scenery – him or Vesuvius.
Two guys, one girl: a love triangle set against a tragic historical event. Pompeii desperately wants to be Titanic-us maximus but ends up more Pearl Harbor-ing. Some may find it divertingly entertaining but for fans of the genre it’s been there, done that, got the toga.
CAST: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Harris, Carrie-Anne Moss
DIRECTOR: Paul W. S. Anderson
WRITERS: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler & Michael Robert Johnson
SYNOPSIS: British slave-turned-gladiator Milo is taken to Pompeii to perform in the games, but en route falls in love with a Pompeian noblewoman. However, she already has an admirer in the form of a brutal Roman senator who looks set to seal their fate until the nearby volcano violently intervenes…