Pompeii Movie Review
You know nothing, Jon Snow. Like how to pick your first feature-length starring role. Paul W.S. Anderson continues his assault on audiences with Pompeii, a mindless and cheesy action movie that takes Gladiator and adds a volcano and bad dialogue into the equation. As far as Paul W.S. Anderson movies go, however, it could have been a lot worse.
Kit Harington ("Game of Thrones") plays Milo, a slave-turned-gladiator who has a much less interesting back story than Maximus did in Gladiator. Milo, not to be confused with your dog, is subjected to various gladiator fights while somehow wooing local Roman "princess" Cassia (Emily Browning) and avoiding death by the hands of the evil Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland). The entire plot is merely filler in lieu of the inevitable Mt. Vesuvius eruption that kills everyone.
Harington does his best with the material given to him, which isn't much. There is a lot of shouting, some political scheming, a forced marriage proposals and some sappy romance that really makes no sense.
But the story is secondary to the action and effects. And if you go in expecting nothing more than action and effects, Pompeii isn't a complete disaster of a disaster movie. Anderson offers up plenty of swashbuckling medieval action—none of it particularly memorable, but simultaneously not terrible—which adequately makes up for the fact the movie is like a poor man's version of Gladiator. The volcano stuff at the end of the movie is cheesy and goofy as hell, but also harmless and mindless fun.
Pompeii is not a good movie, because Paul W.S. Anderson is practically incapable of making good movies, but it also delivers a lot of silly, fast-paced action that works on a rudimentary level. If you like your disaster movies disaster-filled and don't care about the nuances of a good screenplay, you could do worse.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.