dir. by Neil Marshall
Genre: Action, historical fiction
Script: Neil Marshall
Cast: Dominic West, Liam Cunningham, Michael Fassbender, Nick Frost, Olga Kurylenko, Ulrich Thomsen
Setting: Roman Britain
I love and adore Dog Soldiers. And The Decent was pretty damn good too Of course Doomsday was utterly preposterous but you win some, you lose some. And I was still prepared to take a chance on Neil Marshall, especially when the story is about Roman soldiers on the run in the second century. I mean it had to be better than King Arthur, right?
Loosely inspired by the missing Ninth Legion Marshall’s story is about a Roman legion that pushes into territory controlled by the Picts in order to win Britain to the empire for once and for all. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way, and the legion are annihilated. This is the story of the small group of survivors who are on the run, and being relentlessly hunted down as they search for the safety of Roman Britain.
The one thing I have to say about Marshall is that he works best with these sort of ensemble casts and although some characters have a lot more to do than others you always get a fairly decent sense of who is who, and I didn’t really have to spend too long trying to figure out who was on screen at the moment, or who had just died.
And speaking of deaths, well, let’s just say that if you are squeamish, or don’t see the point in epic blood loss in a film that this probably isn’t one for you. There is loads of bloody action here, from the clash of the Roman & Pict armies, to the individual fights and the hunting down of the soldiers. All very well done I have to say.
The one thing that is both good and bad about this film is that in a way Marshall was too sympathetic to his “bad guys”. I know that I, for one, was totally rooting for them, because, well, lets face it, the Romans did come and invade their homes, slaughter their families and try and end their way of living. Who wouldn’t want a bit of pay back. So I never really felt like hating the bad guy as much as a should. Although they were pretty kick-ass.
And the film gets an extra thumbs up from me because of the sex of some of those bad guys. And how the fact that they were women wasn’t really remarked upon, and that they were every bit as blood-thirsty and capable as the men they hunted with. More so in some cases.
All in all a more than enjoyable violent trip to the cinema was had. It isn’t going to win any oscars, but damn it if it won’t get the adrenaline pumping.