You Are At: AllSands Home > Entertainment > Movie review of Gladiator
"Gladiator" Rated R, 154 minutes

Everyone remembers "Spartacus", Kirk Douglas battling lions and chariots, it was a great film, at least I thought it was truly entertaining. "Gladiator", which was released several weeks ago, is not "Spartacus", but it is an action movie. I guess I was disappointed with this film overall. The movie starts out in the middle of a Roman battle, which turns out to be the last, where Russell Crowe plays Maximus the general. They, of course, win the battle, but then there is a struggle for who will become the new emperor. The current emperor's son (Joaquin Phoenix) takes over, and Maximus, his enemy, ends up in what you might call the minor leagues of gladiator fighting. Eventually he works his way up to fight in Rome, where he vows to kill the emperor for revenge.
The action (fighting would be a better word) scenes in the movie are a bit experimental, the action flashes so quickly that you don't always grasp what is going on. Ridley Scott directed this picture, and I would have hoped for better (he is of course of "Alien" fame), but maybe he did all right with what he had to work with. I would say that the fight scenes were the best part, and Russell Crowe put up another good performance. You get it all, from tigers to chariots. But what lies between is rather dull. There are none too interesting sub-plots, and at one point Phoenix's character turns out to be downright sick (like we didn't know that already), and there is some mention of a past love affair, which neither materializes nor makes sense upon calculation (they both have kids who are about eight, yet they were together then as well?). One thing that other reviews have talked about is that the film has a lot of computer generated effects, but I think that they did an OK job.
I only wish that when the fighters entered the Coliseum in Rome that the thunder of the crowd would make the theater shake, then I might have been satisfied. But apparently the filmmakers did not share my opinion...2 Stars, save it for a night when nothing else is on cable!