STORY: Set in 79 AD, Pompeii is a rich girl/poor boy-style romance served up with heaps of bloody gladiatorial action and of course, Mount Vesuvius, which erupts in a curtain of molten magma. REVIEW: As a young boy, Milo (Harington) sees his parents killed by a Roman general Corvis (Sutherland) as the Romans suppress a Celt uprising.
He is then taken into captivity and grows up to become an expert gladiator, fuelled by hatred for the Romans. His skills impress his masters and he gets a chance to fight in the amphitheatre of Pompeii during the Vinalia festival.Along the way, he meets Cassia (Browning), the daughter of a wealthy businessman Lucretius (Harris) and his elegant wife Aurelia (Moss), and the two become a veritable Romeo and Juliet of ancient Rome.
This displeases the visiting Senator Corvis, who fancies Cassia but despite his rank, air of entitlement and imperious lines, has the charm of a doorknob. Unsurprisingly, Cassia is repelled by him straight into the arms of Milo, who also befriends the man-mountain of a gladiator, Atticus (Adewale). Atticus, due to be freed after one last death match, begins to help out the already capable Milo during combat and reminds him to keep his eye on the prize – Cassia. So, they fight for freedom and love respectively.
Anderson cleverly cuts to the increasingly ominous rumblings of Mount Vesuvius whenever the story is in danger of dragging, to refocus on the movie’s focal point. You will notice the inevitable parallels with Gladiator and Game of Thrones and the script is often rudimentary (“My name is Milo. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” or “You looked at him. Did you see his muscles?”).
But that is par for the course because brutish gladiators are meant to fight and kill, not speak flowing prose in the King’s English. The love story itself is forgettable and cheesy. But that is only incidental compared to what you can watch this movie for – its fight scenes and cataclysmic climax, both produced and recreated in good detail.