Centurion (2010)

centurion

“My name is Quintus Dias. I am a soldier of Rome. And this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.”

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Eunice’s rating: Sucks to be that guy.

Eunice’s review: Centurion Quintus Dias is all that’s left of his unit after an outpost in 117 AD Britain is attacked by the native Pict, who are led by Gorlacon and deadly in guerrilla warfare.

Meanwhile, the higher ups order General Titus Flavius Virilus to lead the Ninth Legion on a mission to destroy the Pict. He’s also ordered to take along a (female of course) Pict-born tracker named Etain who has sworn allegiance to Rome. Titus and his legion set out and pick up the trail of a chase. After being captured and tortured, Quintus managed to escape and is almost caught again when Titus’ men save him.

Now in any other movie of this kind, Quintus and Titus would’ve formed a friendship. Titus the adored charismatic brute fighter General and Quintus the more cerebral quiet officer. One or both may have developed a thing for Etain. The Pict would’ve been monsters with the Romans (or at least their legion) being good guys.

This is not that movie.

Quintus’ bad day gets worse when Etain turns out to be a spy, and they are led into a massive ambush. Quintus wakes up as one of only seven survivors, which can be broken down as follows: Quintus, the old crusty veteran, the cook, the marathon runner, the rat, the middle aged soldier, and the young soldier. Learning that Titus has been taken prisoner they decide to go rescue him. When they can’t free him, Titus puts Quintus in command and orders him to get the others back safely. Oh, and not only are they unable to rescue Titus, but The Rat kills Gorlacon’s only son on the way out and doesn’t tell anyone he did.

The rest of the movie is about Quintus trying to get everyone to what will eventually be Hadrian’s Wall. But it isn’t only the vengeance seeking (man kill one leader’s kid and people flip!) Picts led by Etain they have to worry about. They have to struggle against the harsh climates, lack of food and supplies, wolves, injuries, and divisions. Unfortunately for everyone Quintus is like Lost‘s Hurley.

Centurion is probably the best example of a ‘C’ I’ve seen in a long time. It is so by the numbers of a hack and slash, put hair on your chest, broad sword swinging manly man “Rargh!” movie. It has a good set of actors, but there’s just too many characters to flesh them out. Other than Quintus, the main character, the only memorable character is Titus, who has about ten minutes of screen time before he dies.

Also while this could’ve been interesting if it had focused more on the men fighting through the wilderness towards safety, giving them more screen time, there is an EXTREMELY unfortunate love story shoehorned in when Quintus and what’s left of the men meet a witch who gives them shelter. Bah!

Also unfortunate is the historical errors. Double bah! But I don’t watch action flicks for facts, so romance subplot = worse offense.

The only thing particularly noteworthy about Centurion is how bloody it is. I mean it spurts, and wells, and gurgles, and pours in rivulets. With squicky squelchy sound effects. Bodies get stabbed and chopped, hacked and minced, in all sorts of anatomical locations. And don’t even get me started on the ookiness of the stag scene, erk. Let me put it this way, it got its R rating solely on violence.

So if you like movies where people fight it out axe vs. sword style, check this out. If you’re like me and have a thing for Michael Fassbender, check this out. For everyone else, if you have nothing else to watch and it comes on TV, it’s not too bad.

Right now he’s thinking, ‘Well, at least things can’t get worse.’ But he is so, so wrong.

Intermission!

  • So much peeing in this movie. This could’ve been called Blood + Pee.
  • Arm wrestling – To the extreme!
  • The fate of the Legio IX Hispana (Ninth Spainish Legion) is one of those things historians can’t agree on. What is known is that, about 117 AD, the Ninth did set out to fight the Picts in what is now Scotland, to then disappear historically. The common legend is that they were completely destroyed, though it is possible that they were transferred, disbanded, or left out of records due to disgrace. Also known for The Massacre of the Ninth as recorded by Tacitus, when the Legion lost 50-80% of its men during the, approximately 60 AD, Boudica revolt.

Groovy Quotes

Quintus: My name is Quintus Dias. I am a soldier of Rome. And this is neither the beginning nor the end of my story.

General Titus: Well, sometimes there are scars that cannot be seen.

Soldier: He’s a ruthless, reckless bastard. And I’d die for him without hesitation.

Officer: Whatever comes out of that mist, lads, you will hold the line.

Quintus: In the chaos of battle, when the ground beneath your feet is a slurry of blood, puke, piss and the entrails of friends and enemies alike, it’s easy to turn to the gods for salvation. But it’s soldiers who do the fighting, and soldiers who do the dying, and the gods never get their feet wet.

Bothos: She’s a Pict and a woman! Two good reasons not to trust her.

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3 comments

  1. I think somebody should do a Roman version of “Attack of the 50-foot Woman,” or “The Incredible Colossal Man.” That is, a citizen of ancient Rome becomes a 50-foot mutant and rampages around. Then they could do another version in the Stone Age. In fact, they could do a whole series of 50-foot mutant period pieces. That would be great.

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