Some things can only be done once and maintain that same essence of astonishment and marvel that wowed its audience. When Zack Snyder brought his unique style and amazing effects too “300” (’06), the silver screen adaptation of Frank Miller’s infamous graphic novel of the same name, the bewilderment was undeniable. Tactlessly, “300: Rise of an Empire” doesn’t have the same compelling effect the second time around.
“300: Rise of an Empire” picks up exactly where “300” conclude with Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) swinging an axe at the head of Leonidas. As the rest of Greece prepares to battle the Persian Empire, the origin of Xerxes’ hate for the country is revealed. But Greece will not fold easily. Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), a legend in his own right, prepares the Greeks to face a tidal wave of vengeance against the Persian navy and reclaim the freedom of his country.
Like its predecessor, “300: Rise of an Empire” lives off distinctive visuals – it’s really only strength.
The slow-motion effect that was mildly used in “300” as awesome aesthetic decoration, becomes an overused device that distracts from what little substance the film has to offer. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing,” and “300: Rise of an Empire” makes that obvious.
Of course these films don’t invite people in for a riveting narrative, they’re filled with hacking, slashing and gallons of blood for a reason, but the trail blazed by the first of it’s kind left little room for improvement. And in the end, the sequel falls short of success.
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