300: Rise of an Empire (2014): Blood, gore, and sex. Do you really want the rundown on what the story of 301 is? It's kind of an origin story on Xerxes, it's kind of the sea battle of Thermopylae that occurred while the 300 stood their ground at The Hot Gates, and it's kind of....well, the Greeks actually winning eventually. Sort of. Honestly the "story" is rather confusing and hard to follow.
So this movie is crazy and laughably bad. If you go into it expecting it to be ridiculous, over-the-top, gory, violent, sex-filling, and mindless, you will not be disappointed. If you want to sit through 102 minutes of 300 with new characters, you won't be disappointed either. However, that's all you're going to get. This movie tries so hard to be 300, and while it is very similar to it, it certainly lacks the "punch" that 300 had. For all of its faults the original 300 was still a groundbreaking movie, with its over-the-top style and the creative and original slow-motion techniques it used. All 30+ minutes of slow-motion. (Not even kidding....there are over 30 minutes of slow-mo shots in the first 300.) So 301 (shoutout to one of my friends calling this movie 301, definitely a better way to identify this movie than 300 2) used the same techniques that 300 used. But since these techniques have been used A LOT over the last 8 years, it makes 301 feel stale and bland and not creative in any way.
Oh ya. The "story" is rather confusing and hard to follow. I was able to follow it only because I watched the History channel's special on the Persian invasion of Greece and since the movie kind of follows the historical timeline, I was able to understand what was going on. However if you are unfamiliar with the real-life events, you will be totally and utterly confused. And eventually you'll stop caring and just enjoy the violence, speed-ramping slow motion, (slow-mo start of something then it speeds up...which happens A LOT) and tits. Lots of Eva Green's tits. This is definitely a guy movie. If you are offended by what I'm saying, I can PROMISE you that this movie is not for you. On top of the story being hard to follow for most, it was pretty stupid anyway. Lena Headey's (Queen Gorgo of Sparta) storyline was totally unbelievable, and the sex scene between Eva Green and Sullivan Stapleton was clearly just the movie putting in a sex scene so we could see Eva Green's tits. It made no sense, and it was very awkward because it was a hate-sex-fetish scene between the leaders of the opposing factions. Um....what?
Ok, let's pause real quick and talk about the big plus in 301. While this movie may sound like it's incredibly sexist and degrading to women, it's not. Least not as much. Why? Eva Green and Lena Headey's characters are bamfs. BAMFS. While we don't see Headey all that much, ALL of the real enjoyment in this movie occurs whenever Eva Green is on the screen. This is her movie, and her character is a badass chick in charge of everything and everyone on the Persian side is scared sh*tless of her and does whatever she says. Eva Green is clearly having a ball in this movie, as she is screen-hogging whenever we see her, much like Gerald Butler did in the original 300. And in contrast to Kiefer Sutherland's screen-hogging in Pompeii, I thoroughly enjoyed Eva Green in this. I hope this movie creates a badass persona around Green as it did Butler, because I want to see her play more over-the-top badass roles. Honestly, the movie kind of shuts down whenever Eva Green is not on the screen. The scenes with Stapleton are bland and his acting is very sub-par, and no one else on the Greek side is worth noting besides Headey, who does everything she can to make her ridiculously unbelievable storyline believable with her considerable acting talent. Oh, and Xerxes is just an afterthought after his early background story. Kinda wish I could've seen more of him, but when Eva Green defies him it i onse of the best scenes of the movie. Oh ya and she has a line in her final duel with Stapleton about their sex scene earlier that makes the awkward scene worth it. But again, it's all Eva Green being AWESOME. Totally awesome.
To sum up, this movie is still stupid, but I did really enjoy myself. I think it definitely helps if you see it with friends and with some alcohol flowing through your system, as there will be a lot of yelling and OH NO (S)HE DIDN'T!s involved. But other than that, and Eva Green's acting, this movie fails to be as powerful as the original 300. And it is definitely not groundbreaking in any way. If you enjoyed the first 300 you will not be disappointed, but if you're going to watch only one or the other, watch 300. Not 301. Oh and one more thing: this movie is VERY R. Just don't even think about seeing this with anyone under about 15. It is even far more gory than 300 even. Just....don't. No.
The Critique: ridiculous and over-the-top, 301 provides a lot of mindless action and Eva Green badassery, but not much else.
The Recommendation: Guys and fans of 300 will enjoy themselves, but that's it.Eva Green is still objectified so most ladies will not enjoy themselves anywhere near as much. I would not recommend this as a date movie guys. She will not be happy.
The Verdict: 4/10 Below Average
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