300, the cinematic adaptation of Sin City creator Frank Miller’s graphic novel, has two things in abundance: Shouting and violence. Seriously, forget character moments or peaceful reflections from any of the key players in this epic. Those are few and far between and are usually just lead-ins to—you guessed it—more shouting and violence.
Inspired by the legendary tale of the 300 Spartans, the film tells the story of King Leonidas (Gerard Butler, The Phantom of the Opera) as he leads only a handful of his best men into war against the advancing Persian armies of the self-proclaimed God-King Xerxes (an utterly campy Rodrigo Santoro, Love Actually).
Helmed by Zack Snyder (2004’s remake of Dawn of the Dead), 300 makes Gladiator look like a romantic comedy. This is a guy-flick through and through, filled with lots of macho posturing, plenty of blood and gore, and almost non-stop action. There really is little else to it. Even the dialogue is a string of smart-ass, tough guy one-liners.
This isn’t a bad thing though. While history buffs will be groaning at the many inaccuracies, comic fans will be enthralled, as the film, like Miller’s last adaptation Sin City, is nearly identical to the original graphic novel. The fights scenes are elegantly shot, making for some of the most stunningly choreographed battles we’ve seen in a while. The lead actors probably aren’t going to be winning any Oscars for their performances here, but they exude a badass attitude, which is all we really expect from them.
And understand this: If you’re hoping for anything more from this film, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This isn’t a grand historical epic in the same vein as Spartacus or Ben Hur. This is simply an action film that’s going to get your adrenalin pumping.
Did You Know?:
– While the film is probably waaaay too gritty to get much love at the Oscars, the graphic novel is a winner of the comic industry’s award equivalent: The Eisner Award, named after comic legend Will Eisner.
– Snyder has gone on record to say that the phalanx attack that the Spartans use in the film is historically inaccurate so that “while it’s bulls***,” it still “looks cool.”
– Snyder is also set to direct another very highly regarded comic book adaptation: Watchmen.