johnlink ranks POMPEII (2014)

This is how Hollywood works its worst black magic. POMPEII, a love story and action movie set in front of a backdrop of a famous eruption, is the worst kind of generic story making. With a couple of established stars (Jack Bauer and Trinity) and a new hero (Jon Snow), you could tell from the trailer that this would be an unoriginal money grab. Yet, I knew I would eventually see it anyway.


I watched POMPEII (2014) on 12.1.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

It is unclear whether this movie is GLADIATOR-light, or the TITANIC of a Roman city, or something more in line with TWISTER. The plot, for most of the film, centers on Milo (Kit Harrington) as a Gladiator. He is rivals, and then friends, with Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). He loves Cassia (Emily Browning), but she is a princess and he a slave. Plus, she is being pursued by a Senator (Kiefer Sutherland) who also happens to be the guy that murdered Milo’s parents.

So all of that is happening while Mt. Vesuvius bubbles, quite literally, in the background. As Milo fights in various levels of combat, the volcano gets more and more angry. And, just as the plot of the movie is getting to its most interesting point, it erupts.

And perhaps that is the point. All the human drama in the world can’t stand up to nature. People fight for survival and then die. It’s all a little bit pointless. Movies like this have worked in the past, but the fight is something which reveals something about human nature or the struggle. POMPEII feels like a derivative of every sword-and-sandal gladiator movie which came before it, only it all ends with lava flowing over everything.

Sutherland, who has all-time iconic status with me thanks to Jack Bauer, is wasted as the villain. He doesn’t have much to do, and we’ve seen it all before. Kit Harrington proves a worthy leading man, stepping out of the shadows of the supporting character of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. Akinnuoye-Agabaje is probably the best thing in the movie, his mountainous Atticus is likable and intimidating. Browning isn’t given much to do as the female lead, and instead is asked to be in the role of begging for a slave’s life and giving in to a Senator, but all in a very safe PG-13 way.

POMPEII, even if it has some entertaining and suspenseful high points (at least before the volcano erupts), feels like a movie which never needed to be made. The special effects aren’t particularly good, and once the destruction begins everything unfolds in a perfectly scripted way which seemingly ignores the thousands of people painfully losing their lives. Also, from this movie, we learn that lava has the power to move slowly and methodically over bad guys to make them suffer, but move swiftly and decisively over the protagonists in order to ease their suffering. It’s not all that realistic, is what I’m saying.

The ending attempts to be bold and impactful but instead makes us say “Well, what was the point of all of that then?” This is a movie to avoid. Just watch GLADIATOR instead.




FINAL SCORE: 4.25 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on December 2, 2014.

4 Responses to “johnlink ranks POMPEII (2014)”

  1. Hate to say it like this, but the movie only got better once the volcano erupted. Just saying. Good review John.

  2. I think fast forward is this movies best friend. I couldn’t believe how bad this movie was.

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