What I learned from 300: Rise of an Empire:
1. The laws of gravity, centrifugal force and physics did not apply to Ancient Greece.
2. Ancient Persian women were totally liberated and empowered, serving as warriors, generals and all around butt-kickers. They also had a lot of cool smoky black eye makeup.
3. Oceans have hills that boats can come over in a slow, menacing way, just like tanks over a hill in a WWII movie or calvary in a Western.
4. Everything in Greece was on fire all the time.
5. Ancient Greeks did a lot of ab work.
Although “campy” would be kind, there is a lot of goofy fun in this sequel to 300. Taking place parallel to, then after the events in that film, Rise of an Empire continues the tale from history, as the Greeks face and defeat Darius of Persia’s navy at Salamis. Once the viewer realizes this is not an attempt at providing a historical document, they can turn off their brain and enjoy the bloody mayhem. And mayhem it is. Eva Green chews some scenery as Greek Admiral and war chief Artemisia fighting for the Persians. Lena Headey reprises her role as Spartan Queen Gorgo from 300. Will this poor woman ever be cast as anything but a belligerent, ill-tempered authoritarian? She’s certainly exploiting that niche for all it is worth. Some generic six-pack guy plays the Greek Admiral Themistokles. He does a great job looking tough and showing the results of 1700 hours worth of sit-ups. This flick does have something for everyone, as smart people can watch to point out historical inaccuracies and dumb people like me can just enjoy it for what it is: a sword and sandal romp through some unexplored historical territory.
Rating: *** stars out of 5