Director: Paul WS Anderson (2014)
There’s not an ounce of originality in this ridiculous Roman romp – but you can’t help being swept away on waves of lava-hot fun.
It shamelessly borrows scenes, images, fights and even jokes from Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator despite not being fit to tie its sandals.
Pompeii is also poorly acted and badly written, with ramshackle dialogue and a plot that makes very little sense.
But Geordie director Anderson doesn’t waste time in getting to the main act – Mt Vesuvius blowing its top.
As choking-hot death rains down on Romans in an orgy of brilliant and gleeful destruction, I was grinning like a loon.
Plus it has Keifer Sutherland camping it up as a Roman Senator so resolutely evil that he has a English accent. (At least I think it’s supposed to be an English accent.)
The plot follows a Celtic – that is, British – child Milo who is captured after his family is butchered by Roman legionaries. lead by the evil Corvus (Sutherland).
Suddenly it’s 17 years later and he’s has grown up to become a feared gladiator known simply as ‘The Celt’ (Kit Harington) with the baddest rep, hardest abs and best hair.
Before you can say Maximus Decimus Meridius he is whisked off to Pompeii to fight in a computer-drawn city of unconvincing interior sets.
Milos falls in love with beautiful bland party-girl Cassia (Emily Browning). Her father Severus (Jared Harris) wants Corvus (now a Senator) to finance a new arena. But Corvus wants Cassia as part of the deal and plots to have Milo murdered.
Milos foils Corvus’s bid to kill him with the help of gladiator Atticus (Adewele Akinnouye-Agbaje). With the hero’s fate in the balance, the volcano erupts and everyone legs it for the docks to escape.
Except Milo, who must rescue Cassia, get revenge on Corvus and avoid being turned into ash with everyone else.