UK Release: May 2nd 2014 (previews April 30th 2014 and May 1st 2014)
At the end of the year, the award for ‘’Most Wanting Volcano To Kill People In A Film This Year’’ will go to Paul W.S Anderson’s ‘POMPEII’, with ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Kit Harrington, Emily Browning, Jared Harris, Carrie Anne-Moss and Kiefer Sutherland. I think the strange joy to this, what should have been a Roger Corman B-Movie, or a Syfy original TV movie, is just how bad it really is. You have the copied and pasted performance (or should it be appearances) from Harris, Moss and Sutherland (the latter with his modern haircut), the most forced romance in cinema this year (Harrington is very much the bland Orlando Bloom type – yes, how can that be?), and it’s blatant (even down to set design), rip-off of ‘Spartacus’ and ‘Gladiator’, with arena sword fighting sequences.
But this ‘’works’’ because it takes itself impossibly serious. Sutherland panto camp villain acts as a highlight (with a perfectly cut cape) executing his lines with a random Dr. Evil accent due to his almost bucked looking teeth always positioned over his bottom lip. You have the gimmicky, imposed on green screen, 3D (a lot of fireballs and ash fly out at you) and this strange metaphorical volcano and stone statues which never really seem to work. Again this is a guilty pleasure, and not on a Roger Corman level, and because of this, and being able to take these away, Anderson has created something which you talk about more than his ‘Resident Evil’ franchise he writes and directs (not that I’m saying anything against ‘Event Horizon’, that is great and the first ‘Mortal Kombat’ film). In other words this is great for all the wrong reason, and is highlighted with how crap an actor Kit Harrington is as a lead (it always got me why he ended up going off on a ‘quest’ in ‘Game of Thrones’ – is it because he is crap?), and of course Sutherland camp Dr. Evil bad guy. In other words I survived it, and it is that crap its unintentional hilarious entertainment.
On a sidenote, I find it interesting that Milla Jovovich (Anderson’s wife), wasn’t casted in this, like she usually is (outside of the ‘Resident Evil’ series, see ‘The Three Musketeers’), and also that it’s credited being a German/Canadian co-production, with Anderson’s and Jeremy Bolt’s Constantin Films behind it, a company very similar to that of Luc Besson’s Europacorp.