Blood. Tons of it. Splattered across the screen. Spilling out to sea. The amount of thick, rouge bodily fluid seen in 300: Rise of an Empire will make legions of horror movie fanatics salivate with lust.
Part two of 2007’s 300 − written by Zack Snyder, inspired by the work of graphic novelist Frank Miller − is like a prequel mixed with a sequel all in one. It begins with the gutsy Spartan Queen Gorgo - played by actress Lena Headey, now famous as manipulative Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones − rallying brave troops assembled to vindicate the proud deaths and slaughtering of 300 of Sparta’s best. Once lead by their beloved King Leonidas, who died in part one by a rainfall of archers’ arrows, the men listen to the Queen’s epic speech motivating them to honor Sparta and the memory of her late great husband. This State of the Union, of sorts, lasts over most of the movie’s 102 minutes, doubling as the film’s narration. Her detailed, valiant, grio tale breaks down the backstory of how war began and why 300 of Sparta’s best were sent to fight King Xerxes, the pierced Persian giant with hedonistic tastes and a God-like complex.
The true stars of this second installment of 300 are Athenian hero general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Artemisia (Eva Green) – the evil female commander of the Persian navy. But if there’s any reason to see 300: Rise of an Empire, it’s for this chick.
Artemisia is everything Xena the Warrior Princess was minus the lesbian tendencies. She fights like a man, wielding two swords, splitting heads, and slashing contesters she typically chops thrice. Despite her testosterone heavy field tactics, she’s still adept at sensually using aggressively flirtatious feminine wiles that attempt to weaken and woo the enemy to her side. Explaining that she’s merely passionate in her need to joyfully murder all Greeks is not enough. Artemisia is like a female Darth Vader. With an all-dark side of forceful hate, outlined in black hair and brooding stares, she makes her own men shiver in their britches and loosen collars in the same way Vader’s disappointing looks strangled necks. Throwing pessimistic thinking soldiers overboard, in one scene Artemisia slices a throat, slits the back of the neck, pulls the head off, and as blood squirts from busted arteries she kisses the lips with a post-death peck that ushers him off to the land of Hades.
If you fully enjoyed the first 300, then this sequel won’t disappoint. It brings the same colorful, graphic imagery, with juiced up rage on steroids. Adding wild, thrusting, disrespectfully violent sex scenes, 300: Rise of an Empire is like a rare cooked piece of steak, dripping with enough fleshy blood to fulfill the thirsty, insatiable cravings of a starving, horny, cannibalistic beast. See it in 3D.
300: Rise of an Empire hits theaters March 7.