Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro
Written by: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael B. Gordon, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, Lynn Varley
Directed by: Zack Snyder
MPAA Rating: R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity
Running Time: 117
Date: 12/09/2006

300 (2007)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Spears and Loathing

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on Frank Miller's comic book, Zach Snyder's testosterone-fueled, gory gladiator tale looks amazing with its computer-generated sheen, seamlessly incorporating spectacle and human forms. But its hackneyed dialogue and ridiculous bluster rank it a little lower than any of a handful of old gladiator movies made for a fraction of the price. If only Charlton Heston or Victor Mature could have turned up to add some camp value. Snyder's vision is both conservative and homoerotic, though the picture isn't clever enough to be aware of either of these leanings. (One astute writer called it "war porn.") It's a pretty simplistic underdog story: in the year B.C. 480, three hundred Spartan warriors, led by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), face off against thousands of Persian soldiers, led by the evil Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). Lena Headey plays the Queen, Dominic West plays a traitor and David Wenham narrates. It contains more beheadings than perhaps any movie I've ever seen, but also more stupid, eye-rolling moments than any other movie in recent memory.

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