Centurion - Online Review

'Dominic West is so hammy here that he wouldn't look out of place in between two slices of bread'

A prime example of what happens when someone who is primarily a horror director moves in to alternative genres, Centurion is a swords and sandals thriller populated with a pleasing amount of splatter. Neil Marshall, of The Descent and Dog Soliders fame, takes the loosely mythological narrative of a legion of Roman soldiers who went missing in the badlands of Scotland (also seen in Kevin Macdonald's The Eagle) and imbues it with an attractively mature approach which puts it solidly in 15/R-rated territory.

Marshall's history as a director also shows the delight he gets out of particularly hammy pieces of acting. Sean Pertwee in Dog Soldiers spat ridiculous dialogue out with reckless abandon and his equal in Centurion is Dominic West who's so hammy here that he wouldn't look out of place in between two slices of bread. Perhaps, on particularly cultured ears, this might grate but for those willing to go along with it, it's a delight and West obviously had a ball with his extrovert General. Opposite him, Michael Fassbender looks like a veritable thespian which can grate for different reasons although by the midway point you'll be having so much fun you'll have given up caring.

The pace with which Marshall moves the plot along makes it nigh on impossible to get bored by Centurion's charms but things do come grinding to a halt at the start of the third act when Imogen Poots' character appears to distract our hero. Initially this seems like a misstep. If Marshall had have kept the pace frantic then he would have ended up with one of the most frenetic thrillers in recent memory rather than one which ends up feeling a tad stop/start. That said, Poots has incredible screen presence and turns into a very nice distraction from the main narrative.

Come the end, where main faces must either kill or be killed, Marshall does lose a little bit of his edge, drawing the blood and gore back significantly in the final battle. After Poots' arrival on screen it's also incredibly easy to see where the film is going, a fact which means its conclusion lacks the punch it wants. That said, the bloody punches the middle third of the film delivers are weighty enough and like most of Marshall's output this is largely unpretentious fun, directed by a man who knows how to frame an action scene.

Centurion is currently available on Sky Player and Sky Anytime for subscribers with an appropriate subscription.

Look further...

'functional and efficient. It’s probably a bit tighter than most of Marshall’s other efforts, but I think it suffers from being too hemmed in' - The M0vie Blog


  1. This looked a bit too cheesy for me.

  2. With me I had forgotten it as soon as it had finished!! I reviewed it myself some time ago and honestly couldn't find much to say!!
    I didn't rubbish it as I found it unremarkable more than bad.

  3. Ricky - perhaps a touch cheesy but once you get past West there's some very solid drama.

    Brent - I know what you mean, it's not one I'd go back to but for 90 minutes I thought it was an enjoyable, fast-moving, actioner.