Bomb Rating: 

I don't know about anybody else, but if I'm watching a car chase or a martial arts fight or one guy hacking another guy's head off with an axe, I want to see it. Is that so hard? For some unknown reason, directors are equating style with the ability to shake the camera around so the audience can't see anything. Now this idiotic trend has grabbed Ridley Scott by the testicles. Let me give you an idea what watching this film's action sequences is like:

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Now, wasn't that fun? Russell Crowe plays General Maximus, who's the leader of the armies of the Roman Empire. He's just finished beating the crap out of the barbarian hordes when Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) decides he's going to make Maximus the new emperor, spurning his cleft-lip son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). This pisses Commodus off so he kills dear old dad, kills Maximus's family, and tries to kill Maximus, who barely escapes. Maximus ends up a slave, but he starts fighting, eventually becomes the best gladiator in the land and travels back to Rome so he can have his revenge on Commodus.

Aside from the action sequences, which made me feel like someone was jackhammering my head, the major problem with the film lies with Commodus, who, if he had any brains at all, would have had Maximus killed the second he saw him. Just take him in the back and bash in his head, then insist he slipped in the tub. Instead, Maximus is able to plot with Commodus's sister, Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), and one of the senators (Derek Jacobi). Of course, Commodus is clueless the entire time. Basically, by the time the film is over, you wonder how the Roman Empire managed to conquer anything.

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Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

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