Review - The Eagle

The Eagle (2011), PG-13, 114 minutes - I wasn't really sure what to expect going into The Eagle. On one hand, it is a Roman epic, which is generally the type of film I jump all over. On the other hand, The Eagle's star is Channing Tatum. And in the past, the only movie that he starred in that I enjoyed was Stop-Loss. He tends to headline 'chick flicks' (not that that's a bad thing, they just don't interest me at all) but definitely has the potential to be a leading action man. So, walking out of the theater with a couple friends after watching The Eagle, I was pleasantly surprised with what I had just seen.

Tatum plays Marcus Aquila a young Roman Centurian who strives to find out what happened to Rome's storied Ninth Legion, and as a result, what happened to his father (the commander of the Ninth) so that he can clear the family's name. He is joined in his quest by his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell). The relationship between Marcus and Esca is not what one would expect from a master/slave relationship, especially considering the time frame in which the film takes place (140 AD). It also takes a couple twists that make for interesting sequences throughout the movie.

Donald Sutherland and Mark Strong lend a veteran hand to the cast as Marcus' uncle and Guern (one of Marcus' father's fellow Ninth Legionnaires) respectively. Jamie Bell may look familiar as well. He was the youngest Bielski brother in Defiance (a very good movie, if you haven't seen it).

While it can be a little slow paced here and there, The Eagle is a pretty decent Roman epic. The action sequences are tightly shot and chaotic. Almost a little too much so, but they lend themselves well to the feel of the film. The portrayal of the Marcus/Esca relationship and it's twists and turns by Tatum and Bell really drives The Eagle. Going forward, I won't be quite so leery of checking out a Tatum-lead film...as long as it's not a chick flick!











*****SPOILERS*****

- I really enjoyed the twist of Esca presenting himself as the master and Marcus as the slave when they encounter the Seal people of the north. It introduced a very interesting dynamic, as at that point, there really wasn't anything that Marcus could do about it. What I liked even more was when Esca proved to have been helping Marcus's search after all, continuing to repay Marcus for turning the crowd and saving him from the arena.

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