Movie date: Pompeii

Cinema still of Pompeii, starring Kit Harington and Emily Browning.

I had the opportunity to visit Pompeii many, many years ago.

I was a kid then, but I can still recall vividly the Roman ruins, the majestic architecture and whatever that was painstakingly preserved.

Yes, I'm still very much in awe of the ancient city, now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

While I'm glad this movie tries to romanticise what Pompeii citizens would have been doing before their doom, I didn't expect it to be a mish-mash of Gladiator and Titanic, with bits of The Horse Whisperer and other sword-and-sandal flicks thrown in.

But then again, this is helmed by Anderson, so I shouldn't be expecting any high-brow stuff.

So what's my beef with Pompeii? The absence of Milla Jovovich.

Anderson has built a reputation for making cheesy, popcorn entertainment flicks, all of which I enjoyed.

His earlier movies thrived on Jovovich's charisma, which Harington and Browning sorely lack. He packs no punch in the acting department while she is still as glassy-eyed as ever.

What Anderson does best here is deliver explosive spectacles and fast-paced action.

It's amazing how everything becomes more fun when the lava takes over.

THE CONSENSUS: Where's Milla Jovovich when you need her? Only hardcore Paul W S Anderson fans will get this disaster flick.

STARRING: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland

DIRECTOR: Paul W S Anderson

THE SKINNY: In the days of the Roman Empire, a Celt named Milo (Harington) is taken prisoner after his family is slaughtered. He eventually becomes a gladiator in the city of Pompeii, where he falls in love with the fancy Roman girl Cassia (Browning). Unfortunately, a sleazy senator, Corvus (Sutherland), also has eyes for the girl. Then a volcano explodes!

RATING: PG13

joannes@sph.com.sg

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