a review by Rex Beavers
Oftentimes in cinema, when an axe is swung with full force towards a person’s skull the result is that the weapon remains lodged in the target’s forehead, an expression of surprise remains on the victim’s face, and their corpse falls lifelessly to the ground. Neil Marshall’s Centurion tells a different story, wherein the force of the axe results in a massive explosion of bone and blood and the axe itself falls unencumbered to the ground. Similar stories are told about decapitations that do not occur where the head meets the neck, but begin somewhere around the bridge of the nose. Those fond of the violence and gore as depicted in Neil Marshall’s horror flick The Descent will probably not be left wanting. The violence is brutal, massive, and stunning. Of course, there’s a story to go along with the men and women in this movie who swing the axes and thrust the spears, and it’s a decent one.
In a surprise twist, Neil Marshall’s Centurion follows the story of a roman centurion. He’s a halfway decent dude with the unfortunate quirk of being a member of the power hungry roman army posted far north, and fighting a losing war against the Picts, who are justified in the defense of their homeland but are just as rotten in their own right. Circumstances lead to the centurion becoming a member of an awesomely rag tag band of heroes who would all like to go home and leave the madness of war behind but can only do so under pursuit of the leader of the Picts and his ensemble of stone cold killers who all share the common trait of possessing an all-consuming and unquenchable thirst for vengeance. It’s a simple story that’s told well with solid characters and realistic motives that make the plot easy to digest (although I suspect digestible plot isn’t a high concern among the readership here at the Trash Collective.)
Just before the screening of Centurion that I was present for at the inaugural Actionfest film festival, there was discussion surrounding what genre to pin the flick down in, but I wouldn’t say that there is one unless “The Descent with war instead of ladies in a cave and everyone is a monster” is a genre. Arguments were made that Centurion is a war movie, an action movie, or as a member of the Actionfest staff suggested, a chase movie. While none of these genres are inaccurate, none of them quite pin it down for me and I simply suggest that it is a good movie.
Finally, written praise is deserved by Actionfest and the Carolina theater (with its not one, but TWO bars) in Asheville, NC. Both are either things or places that I cannot wait to visit again. Should Actionfest become an annual event, I highly suggest making plans to attend. They brewed their own Actionfest beer, and that’s a level of dedication I intend to expose myself to as much as possible in this life.
Oh yeah, I wont say when, but at one point, a spear gets thrust into a dick. Four Stars.