Running Time: 114 minutes
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald
Rating: 4.5 out of 10
Marcus Aquila (Tatum) and his slave (Bell) must travel to the untamed north of Britain to recapture the Roman’s golden eagle and his families honor.
So, I have wanted to see this movie for a number of reasons and now that I finally have, I come away unfulfilled. I recently finished reading a series by Jack Whyte, detailing the Roman to Camelot transition of Britain. Coupled that with my natural love of this type of genre, and Jamie Bell being one of my favorite young actors, this was sure to be a hit, right? Wrong. See, new sword swinging movies of long ago have some stiff competition to live up to. They face the awesomeness of Braveheart. The adrenalin rush of the Coliseum, in Gladiator. To the lesser acclaimed but still well done King Arthur, and Kingdom of Heaven. The Eagle presents itself as a low budget standard affair and offers little in the way of thrill or even entertainment. I find that Jamie Bell is suffering a little from Paul Bettany disease, as he seems to be cast in movies where he is too good of an actor to be in. Tatum should stick to pure action films, and Bell to drama films, as the duo was average together on screen. The gripping power that can come from a powerful duo on screen was never close to being achieved. The film tries to paint young Marcus Aquila as a Roman patriot that leads by heroic example. He leads his army into poor odds situation/battles and doesn’t back down. The fact of the matter is without blood spray in these types of movies, the fighting always looks fake and lacks passion. Tatum has the body and the looks to be a legitimate action star, but without the stylized professional fight scenes he just looks lost up there. The film also suffers from been there and done that of movies. At one time you think you are watching a scene from Gladiator, with a thumbs up or a thumbs down scene. Another looks like a scene from King Arthur as they journey north of Hadrian’s Wall, so this film never really captures its own identity. Obviously, films will be similar in some points, but when you are not lost in the story of the film they become glaring. About halfway through this film, the viewer will start to lag as really the characters are not the type you are cheering for. The films costuming and the men of the north are decently done, so one does get the feeling that this film could have gone in the right direction with a bigger budget. By the time the end rolls around, the viewer is tired of this journey to recapture the Golden Eagle and just wants this film to end. The most telling sign of woe for this film is a supporting role by Donald Sutherland, who is a chameleon in his own right. He is as forgettable as they come in this, which is a rare thing for him. Overall, director Kevin Macdonald has not failed completely in putting this movie together but he certainly didn’t capture the struggle of those turbulent times, nor did he entertain his audience. I do not recommend this movie for struggling to survive is a valiant tale, but it is not always worth watching.
T Factor + If you do not mind PG-13 fight scenes then this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like this genre then it could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: King Arthur, Kingdom of Heaven.