Saturday, 24 April 2010



Maybe he was just too busy making ads for the Labour Party, the fool, but it would have been great to see him in here somewhere because Sean Pertwee suffered gorily and at inordinate length in Neil Marshall's other films Dog Soldiers and Doomsday, and he's a good strong presence on screen. Not to say that the likes of David Morrissey and Liam Cunningham aren't, but it's a Neil Marshall film and you half expect him to be in it anyway.

You also expect it to a thoroughly entertaining romp, being a Neil Marshall film, and sadly Centurion isn't: it's the least of Marshall's films thus far and a big disappointment, despite a quite surprising level of (literally) headbanging violence for a 15 certificate. AD117 (not 117AD, which doesn't make sense no matter how many Judge Dredd comics you've read): the Romans are in Britain but can't take Scotland as a band of Picts keep on beating them back. A disastrous foray into Pict territory ends with most of the battalion slaughtered and just seven battered survivors who have to make it back south of the border. But the Picts are on their trail....

Severed heads galore, axes in skulls, slit throats: there's plenty of gory mayhem on show which I'm all in favour of. But the fight scenes are all shot in that annoying Saving Private Ryan style with a very fast shutter speed, so you end up with a series of very crisp still frames but no motion blur to give them a sense of flowing action. (At least, they would have been crisp still frames if the Cineworld projectionist had bothered to focus the movie, but as I'd already harangued one of their drones about gauging and another three about the house lights in the last week, I figured if I complained again I'd be barred.) The acting's generally okay - I liked Olga Kurylenko as a mute hunter/warrior in fur and woad - but the weak link is probably Noel Clarke, who's just not very good. And animal lovers should be warned: there's a scene where they kill a deer, dismbowel the carcass and eat the contents of its stomach - a sequence that elicited several groans from the popcorn munchers somewhere behind me.

It's more disappointing than anything else - I've enjoyed all Neil Marshall's films so far, even the 80s genre throwback grab-bag Doomsday, but Centurion just didn't click with me.


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