Film review: Xbox is in for a new best seller with the fame of ‘300’ |

Film review: Xbox is in for a new best seller with the fame of ‘300’

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** FILE ** In this handout photo provided by Warner Bros. Pictures, actors Vincent Regan, left,and Gerard Butler are shown in a still from the action drama ?300." The battle epic "300" took the No. 1 spot for the second-straight weekend with $31.2 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, March 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, file)

There’s something oddly memorable about the sight of a line of warriors stomping forward with chiseled six packs and biceps twitching.

More than just a sword and sandal flick, “300” is a sword and sandal flick that can rival the blood splattered and slow motion graphics of any video game. Oh, and it’s really more of a spear and sandal flick.

Commemorative of the ancient battle of Thermoplyae, in which just 300 Spartan warriors obliterated thousands of Persians, “300” is about as realistic and accurate as “Star Wars,” and about 60 times more violent. That said, the special effects, complete with giant stampeding elephants, dinosaurs and hunchbacked monsters, are pretty cool.

Rather than the year-long brainwash of the modern soldier, Spartan warriors are trained to behave like fighting machines from the day they can walk.

Such is the nurtureless upbringing of Leonidas, who begins combat with full-grown adults when he is still wearing cloth diapers (or maybe downsized loin cloths?). As a teenager, he is sent out to some unknown region of snowy Greece clad in what must be a loin cloth to take on a snarling wolf with glowing red eyes. Such hardiness and heroism is what presumably leads Leonidas to become the king of Sparta, which is in the throws of some cloudy political turmoil. The Persians, it seems, are trying to take over the world, and Leonidas and the Spartans won’t have any of it. Thus the king takes 300 of his best warriors to teach the tyrant Persians a lesson. He fails, however, to get permission from Sparta’s political council. So Leonidas leaves his queen and their child to go with his scantily clad group of shield-toting beefcakes to whip some ass.

Unlike other films depicting this ancient era, there’s not much in the way of a history lesson, unless one wants to believe that in 480 BC there existed leprous monsters in robes who keep teenage girls they call “oracles” to predict the future and harbor 10-foot giants with super powers. There is some allusion to the insubordination of women. But ultimately one gets the idea that this movie was not made to educate. It was made presumably to entertain and mindnumb, not unlike an Xbox or any other form of brainless entertainment.

Unlike other sword and sandal epics (“Gladiator,” Braveheart,” etc.) the death and violence in “300” fails to evoke much emotion. Even when one of the soldiers whose character has had some semblance of development (don’t hope for much of this) is ruthlesslessly decapitated, it just doesn’t feel all that sad. The spinning of his severed head through the air and the collapse of his headless body is one of the many choice scenes for the slow motion cinematography. The slow-mo is followed up by a cinematographic twist of fast-forward during butcherings in the battle scenes.

Yes, one leaves the theater with little more than dulled senses and fond visuals of chiseled chests and torsos. If you’re in the mood for a two-hour video game, this one’s for you.

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