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Centurion: movie review

'Centurion' is set in 2nd-century Britain where a Roman legion finds itself hunted by a band of vicious warriors bent on their demise.

Olga Kurylenko plays Etain, the scariest of the Pict barbarians pursuing Roman legionnaires through what is now Scotland.

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If you thought "300" was one of the greatest films ever made, if slo-mo arrows piercing armored chests is your idea of a good time, by all means make haste to "Centurion."

Set in the 2nd-century Roman Empire, when men were men and launderettes were scarce, it's about a mud-caked band of Roman soldiers who are pursued across what is now Scotland by the local barbarian horde, the Picts. Given how scurvy they look, the Picts should have a scarier monicker. I felt the same way about the Sith in the "Star Wars" series.

Scariest of the Picts is Etain (Olga Kurylenko), a temptress in animal furs who works for the Romans only to reveal herself as a double agent and the deadliest of trackers. She's more she-wolf than wench. Because the Romans cut out her tongue years before, she's mute – not entirely a bad thing given the caliber of dialogue in this film.

Her opposite number is centurion Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), a survivor of the Roman Ninth Legion, whom we first see in a flash-forward sprinting half-naked through snow. Fassbender clearly worked out for this role, and he wants us to know it. His Quintus can also speak perfect Pictish (which, according to the press notes, is actually Scots Gaelic). Speaking of press notes, I pass along a quote from the film's producer, Robert Jones, extolling its singular virtue: "Gore, a bit more gore, then a sprinkling of blood on top."


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