The director seems more interested in making a action spectacle inspired by the "Gladiator" that just happen to take place during one of history's most famous volcano disasters instead of a truthful story about the incident. The acting consist mostly of posing and the romantic subplot lacks intensity and any credibility. A misfire.
[REVIEW] 90/100 - POMPEII (Anderson, 2014) Paul W.S. Anderson rejects history and unapologetically creates a fictional story which constantly makes reference to its own artificiality. Affective images (emotionally affecting stills), saturated colours, and the hyperbolization of reality are features of its imaginative aesthetic, of a unique and auteur-driven vision of a fictional world: More: http://bit.ly/1VKyW6L
7/10 - Péplum: Le film commence en 62 apr. J.-C. au moment de la répression par la légion romaine d'une révolte de tribus celtes. Un jeune garçon assiste au massacre de son peuple puis à la mort de sa mère, tous tués sur ordre du sénateur romain Corvus. Après une ellipse, le récit reprend en 79 dans la province romaine de Bretagne.
POMPEII has a couple of unintentional laughs here and there (near the beginning Kit Harington abruptly breaks the neck of a horse you think he's healing), but overall it's predictable and boring. I wish Paul Anderson had gone balls-to-the-wall with the exploitation of historical tragedy as entertainment and used the carbonized bodies of Pompeii's victims to spell out the title of the film in the opening credits.
The movie is a paint-by-number affair in both the gladiator aspects and the disaster tropes. None of the actors elevate the material; the heroes are beyond wooden, and the villains are beyond stupid. There are tremors of sincerity and touching moments, along with some needed campy elements, but they're too slight to make the movie explode with excitement.
No need to be hysterical about it. This is a minor Anderson, and although his care for mise-en-scene is commendable, it can't make up for a bland plot and conventionally shot action scenes. Retribution still remains PWSA's magnum opus and his only film where the words "avantgarde" and "B movie" can be comfortably used in one sentence.