Starring: Kit Harrington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Harris, Carrie Anne Moss, Jessica Lucas, Currie Graham, Sasha Roiz
Directed By: Paul W.S. Anderson
The thing about Paul W.S. Anderson, as a director, is that he is easily mocked by prestigious film types. His movies are typically deplorable action films, right? No quality in his films. That’s what you’d hear from the snobbish film critics of the world. Then, you might ask… well what films has he directed? You’d be surprised to find out he’s the man behind Event Horizon, Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat, Death Race, and two Resident Evil sequels.
Now, obviously Mortal Kombat and Death Race are guilty pleasures, but Resident Evil and Event Horizon are generally viewed as being good films. Right? Would it surprise you to find out that Event Horizon has a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes? It’s the curse of Paul W.S. Anderson. Critics hate his films as much as they hate Adam Sandler. Yet, if you search “Event Horizon Underrated” you’ll find several next-gen critics arguing that Event Horizon is an underrated gem. What Culture put it on a list of 10 Underrated Films To Watch, and Time Magazine put it on a list of 5 Underrated Sci-Fi Masterpieces.
So what then will we say about Pompeii years from now? In many ways, I found it to be a well done movie. I understand that it’s predictable (I mean, come on, it’s a film about Pompeii), and that Kiefer Sutherland is horribly miscast, but I still enjoyed the majority of the film. It’s a great vehicle for Kit Harrington to showcase his leading man potential, wielding a sword for mass audiences like he does on Game of Thrones. I enjoyed Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje in his role, much meatier than the roles he usually gets.
Visually, the film looks great. I saw it at home on blu-ray, and the film looked tremendous. I’m sad that I didn’t see it on a larger screen. I think I was afraid the film would suck, which is part of my conditioning to hate Paul W.S. Anderson films. Shame on me for allowing myself to be conditioned.
If you’re looking for a good action film, Pompeii fits the bill. With two strong lead performances, and plenty of strong visual effects, the film stands tall. It’s also more of a “guys” film, as the romance angle isn’t played up enough to make this a chick flick. It’ll be interesting to see if Pompeii becomes a classic as time advances, like Event Horizon has become. I think it just needs a few more eyes to see it.
FINAL GRADE: B