You could do a lot worse than look at Channing Tatum for two hours,
but it's his talent that's turning him into a major star: he knows how
to underplay a role without becoming wooden. Aided by a solid
(literally — this boy's been working out) Jamie Bell, Tatum brings an
impressive gravitas to this sword and sandal adventure. It's a bit
like 300 without the steroid injections (cinematically speaking) —
old-school realistic, not a graphic novel come to life. Anthony
Mantle's dank, immersive camerawork and Atli Orvarsson's thrilling
score provide the atmosphere and the battle scenes provide the
excitement. We also get Donald Sutherland in great form with great
facial hair. There are movie conventions, of course: our heroes ride
and ride for days on end in their quest and still have awesome hair
and the perfect scruff and no chunks of food in their teeth. But great
to see a period picture with so much attention paid to costumes, sets
and make-up. An ideal Saturday matinee. — Jeff Schultz

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