Director Noam Murro takes over the 300 franchise from Zack Snyder, who has a reduced role to co-writer and producer this time out. Murro’s take on the exposed belly ancient warrior thing lacks any kind of true dramatic tension. His film is a bunch of boat fights mixed with people in togas emoting slowly on soundstages. It’s a bit of a prequel to 300 in that we see the origins of Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), the golden god Persian warrior that gave Gerard Butler (who appears in reused footage from 300) such a hard time in the last film. As far as storytelling goes, the Xerxes prologue is easily the most compelling part of the movie. Too bad it only accounts for a few minutes. The main plot involves Greek general Themistokles, played by Sullivan Stapleton. Stapleton is basically Gerard Butler with a slightly less impressive BMI (he’s got a little more around the belly button). He’s basically tasked here with delivering an always-determined looking face and shouting a lot. In short, he’s been asked to do what Butler had to do in the last film, with perhaps a little less airbrushing on the abs. The main nemesis, besides Xerxes, would be Artemisia, played wickedly by Eva Green. Green makes for a memorable badass in a somewhat unmemorable film.

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