300 Rise of an Empire review: Was it better than the original?

300: Rise of an Empire hits theaters this weekend but fans hoping for a movie that builds on the first film will be upset to learn that the latest outing in the 300 series is nothing but a shameless rehash that changes only the amount of blood and sex and not much else.

And by change, I mean amp up beyond belief.

There was a certain charm to the first film, as director Zack Snyder was able to gleefully dive into the campiness of the film and give us something that actually wasn’t half bad. But with Snyder now in a producing role (aka, the paycheck only role), 300: Rise of an Empire fails to live up to the surprisingly high standards set before it.

Not all is lost though, as the film does showcase the dashing talents of Eva Green. She’s a theater geek at heart, publicly stating that she prefers stage plays to big budget cinema, but that’s what makes her role here so intriguing. Not only is she not difficult to look at, but she actually acts in a film that relies on slow motion action shots and lots of blood and guts.

Green does all she can to save the film and it’s not quite enough. There’s a unintentionally hilarious sex scene in the middle of the film that pits Green’s character against that of a rival Greek general played by Sullivan Stapleton that is meant to be a metaphor for their battle against one another but is just so on-the-nose that it hurts to watch.

That’s pretty much how hard 300: Rise of an Empire tries, as it gets points for trying to be serious but loses all their chips for taking themselves more serious than is warranted.

300: Rise of an Empire hits theaters on March 7th.

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