Set in a parallel time frame with ‘300’,’Rise of an Empire’ narrates the story of Themistocles an Athenian general who is trying to unite the divided nations of the Greek Islands to fight against the malevolent god king Xerxes of Persia whose gigantic army has already infiltrated the Greek Waters. Leading Xerxes’s forces is the cold, ferocious yet sinfully beautiful Artemisia whose skill in fight is only matched by her divine looks. Born in Greece but raised in Persia, Artemisia has a deep rooted hatred for Greece and wants to see it burn before her eyes. The only one standing between her and a devastated Greece is Themistocles and his feeble army of potters, artisans and craftsmen. Themistocles knows his army doesn’t stand a chance against the mighty Persians and plans out his strategy to hold them off till all the Greek nations unite as one.
Helmed by Noam Murro, ’Rise of an Empire’ doesn’t feel like a sequel at all, it’s more like a spin-off directed by the same director or maybe his ape. Though it has more action, thicker plot and bigger budget, Noam Murro fails to make a unique impact with his direction. He successfully apes Zack Snyder’s style of direction by using all the tricks Zack had used back in 2006 but just a little more. Though you are entertained most of the 1 hour and 30 minutes but when you think about Murros uniqueness you find out there’s nothing, absolutely nothing.
The film is a great visual experience, using slow motion, CGI and exhilarating background score the movie is a splendid watch .It has complex choreographed action sequences which have been shot with panache and 3D just makes it better .Though most of the sequences are brilliantly shot there are couple of them which standout 1) The emergence of the Xerxes from the idyllic water 2) Final battle between Artemisia and Themistocles.
Gerard Butler as the loud, fierce and chiselled king was the highlight of the first instalment and his character will always be remembered by all the fans around the world but sadly the same can’t be said about the lesser hero Sullivan Stapleton who unfortunately is a great general but not as prodigally skilled as Leonidas. He would have been good as second in command but as a leader he just didn’t fit. On the other hand Eva Green as the evil Artemisia is a treat to watch. She is just perfect as the sadist naval commander with drop dead gorgeous looks.
Coming straight to the point, ‘Rise of an Empire’ is not as good as the ‘300’ but it is entertaining to the core .Brilliantly choreographed action sequences topped with grand CGI and Eva Greens remarkable performance make ‘Rise of an Empire’ a good watch but just not as satisfying as ‘300’.