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Sunday 22 October 2017

The original 300 was something of a modern day fantasy masterpiece - incredible cinematography (cartoonish and dramatic), brutal fight scenes and a bit of history thrown in to boot.

300 - Rise of an Empire

The original 300 was something of a modern day fantasy masterpiece - incredible cinematography (cartoonish and dramatic), brutal fight scenes and a bit of history thrown in to boot.

This follow-up has had its fair share of critics, but it follows the original idea - great visuals, dramatic fight scenes and silly speeches - so I can't see the problem. It's both prequel and sequel, with events running before and after the original.

At the end of the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas I and his legion of 300 lie dead (the guys from the original).

Persian baddy Xerxes I (Rodrigo Santoro) then beheads King Leonidas, symbolizing his victory over the Spartans. But it's not all going to plan for the Persians, as the Greeks have Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) on their side.

A new hero, he kills Xerxes' dad Darius, and Xerxes and his vicious naval commander Artemisia (Eva Green) vow revenge.

Darius warns his son that only a god can defeat the Greeks. That might be taken as a warning to lay off, but to Xerxes and Artemisia it's a challenge to become a god and ensure total victory.

After a brief spell in the desert, Xerxes turns into a golden bad-guy god and, years on, the Persians are back in business, taking on their Greek foes.

What follows is the usual gory fare - kicking off with an epic naval battle. What's different here is that while the Persians aren't half bad on land, by sea they're truly awful fighters, so the only downside is that it's a bit one-sided. Still, a cracking bit of action.

DVD extras: Ok - behind the scenes specials, a history lesson from the experts and DVD copy with the Blu-Ray.

> Mark Evans

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