The new war film, “The Eagle,” touts the intense drama of “The Gladiator” and the art-house style of “300.” And, with a sweaty Channing Tatum playing a young centurion, it’s becoming one of the most intriguing Roman dramas in recent years.
The story begins with The Ninth Legion, the Roman warrior troop led by Flavius Aquila (Aladár Laklóth), seeking to conquer the British highlands. Along with his 5,000 soldiers Flavius bares the golden emblem of Rome — the Eagle of the Ninth. However, after both the soldiers and the Eagle vanish, the film flashes forward 20 years, introducing Flavius’ young son Marcus Flavius Aquila (Tatum), who is eager to restore his father’s honor by unraveling the mystery of the lost Eagle.
The first half hour of the film is exciting and moves rather quickly, though the primary battle sequences fail to provide the guts and gore viewers expect from a war drama. Unfortunately, the pace screeches to halt shortly after Marcus sets out on his journey. Instead, the tense mood and stunning visuals of the desolate and haunting highlands drive the plot. The film manages to hold the audience’s attention, though just barely. Tatum’s rough character alienates viewers, resulting in apathy toward his success.
While “The Eagle” is enjoyable, viewers should not go to the theater expecting a knockout — better they wait until it’s available for rent.
“The Eagle” was written by Jeremy Brock and directed by Kevin Macdonald.
2.5 out of 4 stars