The Eagle (2011)
The Eagle has Crashed
Think all those great sword and sandal movies over the decades and the good ones all have one thing in common; they have a central actor with power and presence. It is what lets "The Eagle" down because whilst Channing Tatum gives a surprisingly good performance in the central role he does not have the power and presence to fill the character. Tatum is not the only issue with "The Eagle" as whilst it is nice to watch a movie which uses actors rather than computer animated actors the actual storyline on offer is dull. All of which probably makes it great for fans of Tatum who will think he is hunky in action scenes but for anyone else it feels like a poor imitation of other sword and sandal movies.
20 years after his father lead the Ninth Legion into the North of Britain only for the entire Legion and the Gold Standard to go missing Marcus Flavius Aquila (Channing Tatum - The Dilemma) arrives in Britain to take command of his first garrison. Despite negativity amongst the men Marcus proves himself a great leader but in doing so ends up forced to retire due to a severe leg injury. It is during his recovery that he spares a slaves life during a Gladiatorial battle and ends up with Esca (Jamie Bell - Defiance) as his own personal slave. When Marcus learns that the missing Gold Standard has been spotted in the North he and Esca head across Hadrian's Wall on a mission to not only recover it but find out what happened to his father.
I'm no historian so couldn't tell you whether there is any grain of truth to "The Eagle" or not and to be honest it doesn't matter as this movie isn't about history. Nope what we have is a bit of unlikely buddy story going on as we have Marcus and Esca heading North and we have a bit of mystery over what happened to Marcus's father. But then all of this is really just an excuse for action, action which whilst rapidly edited so that there is no flow is effective and at least it involves actors rather than just computer created versions.
But the trouble is that "The Eagle" whilst not having the worst of storylines or action scenes just doesn't have any power. That comes down from the casting of Channing Tatum as whilst he delivers a performance which is more than just muscles fails to command the screen with a powerful performance. Is the same with Jamie Bell as whilst it is a solid characterisation there is no power when called for and so it makes it all too one level.
What this all boils down to is that "The Eagle" just didn't cut it for me as it lacked the power and presence which a sword and sandal movie requires. But for fans of Channing Tatum he delivers a surprisingly good performance which ends up more than just being muscles and action.
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