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Jon Snow has a thing for leather pants and swords, and he has the body and hair to go with it. That is all the good there is to say about “Pompeii”. It is uninspired to the greatest conceivable degree. Every single element you have seen dozens of times: the rebellious slave / gladiator, the fragile girl attracted by such masculinity, the evil Roman Senator / Consule who messes with local matters and wants to grope the girl, the gladiator fights, the unavoidable natural disaster wiping out what needs wiping out etc. etc. You can remix and amalgamate those ingredients, of course, as people do all the time. If you do, however, you may want to give it a new twist, a new perspective, a new realism, … something, anything new that justifies the effort. As it is, nothing new happens here at all, it feels like a an ill-written, averagely acted 1960s Italian Gladiator film that got colourised. If the idea was to revisit and celebrate the the campness of those originals, that idea has failed as far as I am concerned.

Having said that, there’s no reason not to watch it. There are muscular leather-clad dudes in all sizes and colours, girl slaves with deep cleavages, and there is Kiefer Sutherland with an English accent, just in time before he can breathe “we’re running out of time!” into an anti-terror mobile phone again. On that very basic level of entertainment needs, you will get some satisfaction. I was still wondering why it is possible to spend a lot of money on expensive volcano cgi and not a couple of bucks more on a slightly better team of authors… but maybe they already cut too many corners on their “horse running through burning city” effects team, so there was not too much to work with anymore?

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/pompeii_2013/

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