Spartacus (review)

Disappointingly, this made-for-cable sword-and-sandal action soap opera ain’t half as goofy as you’d expect it to be. It’s actually gripping and suspenseful in some places, tenderly romantic in others — it’s 90 minutes of great movie. Alas, its running time is more like three hours, so without a lot of silliness to distract the viewer during all the rather boring politicking in the Roman Senate and such, there’s not much to fill the gaping voids between Goran Visnjic, as Spartacus the slave gladiator, glowering at his masters and wallowing in all sorts of gorgeous angst. All drooling aside, Visnjic is the high point of the movie, bringing a sincerity and an honesty to the role that forces you to take it seriously and not indulge in too many jokes about men in skirts — plus, he looks more the part than Kirk Douglas ever did. But even Visnjic’s heartfelt approach to the character gets lost in director Robert Dornhelm’s (Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story) pedantry — would the slaves forced to fight as gladiators really care what sword lent its name to their ritual combat? Probably not. The DVD features scenes deleted from the cablecast version, but no other extras.

share and enjoy