release year: 2000
genre: drama/action
viewing setting: theatrical sneak preview, 4/27/00
what I expected: blood and guts
what I got: something much like Braveheart

synopsis: Roman general Maximus is betrayed and enslaved, but ends up being a gladiator and seeking revenge on the Emperor.

impressions: Great entertainment! It mixed violence, drama, backstabbing, humor...and it mixed them well. The re-creation of ancient Rome (and the ancient world in general) was very well-done. This is another successful meld of violence and a good believable story. Of note: a decapitation 2 minutes into the film, numerous other violent meetings of weapons and bodies, chariots with blades affixed to the wheels, man-eating tigers, bloody free-for-alls against great odds. This is the stuff that epics are made of.

acting: Russell Crowe did a great job as Maximus, a leader who could inspire and rally men to achieve great things. The other performances were good, but his was outstanding.

final word: Blood, guts, and undoubtedly Oscar nominations when the time comes. Don't miss it.

rating: B

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