300: Rise Of An Empire: What You Need To Know
The sequel to the shirtless Gerard Butler epic 300 comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday (September 29) - entitled 300: Rise Of An Empire (because calling it ‘300 2’ would just be confusing). Here’s all you need to know about the slow-mo swords-and sandals sequel. All together now: “This. Is. SPARTA!”
Who’s in it?
With Gerard Bulter’s Leonidas and the rest of his 300 spartans not surviving the first film, the focus now turns to Themistocles, played Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton. You might recognise him from Sky 1’s Strike Back or 2010’s Aussie crime thriller Animal Kingdom. Backing him up is Skins and Starred Up’s Jack O’Connell.
Returning on the side is of the bad guys are Rodrigo Santoro and Game Of Thrones’s Lena Headey as King Xerxes and Queen Gorgo respectively. Stealing the show however, is Casino Royale’s Eva Green as the manipulative naval commander Artemisia.
What’s the plot?
Following the defeat of the Spartans in the first movie, Persian madman King Xerxes continues his advances on the city-states of Greece. 300: Rise Of An Empire acts as both a prequel and a sequel to the original, filling in the background of Xerxes and also showing Greece’s attempts to halt the onward Persian march.
Queen Gorgo relates to her men how Xerxes’ father King Darius was killed in battle. Before being slain by General Themistocles, Darius instructed his son not to continue their attacks on Greece, as they could only be defeated by a god. The devious Artemisia however twists Darius’ words, challenging Xerxes to actually become a god and only fuelling his mania.
Back in the present day, Themistocles once again prepares to battle the Persians, forming a shaky allegiance with the other Greek states. But can he defeat the combined tyranny of both Xerxes and Artemisia?
Does it deliver?
It’s another thundering period action romp that’s sure to entertain fans of the first movie. Everything you loved about 300 is still there- the battles, the slow motion, the sweaty abs. The naval warfare also adds another dimension to the fight scenes, meaning we get a bit more variety than the simple hack and slash of the original film It mixes in a bit of Master And Commander along with the Gladiator influences.
300: Rise Of An Empire does lack the simplicity of the first movie – that was a timeless tale of heroism where as the sequel has two different time frames and a lot more political intrigue. The ace in the sequel’s hand though is a magnificent performance from Eva Green. Her Artemisia is sultry, sexy, devious and completely over the top. We doubt we’ll see a better movie baddie all year.
300: Rise Of An Empire is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday (September 29th).