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300: Rise of an Empire | 2014 | R | - 7.9.5

Sequel to "300," released in 2007, and based on a graphic novel: Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) fights to unify all city-states of Greece to continue fighting against Persian forces led by King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and Queen Artemisia (Eva Green). Also with Hans Matheson, Lena Headey and Calvin Mulvey. Directed by Noram Murro. [1:42]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - After a woman attempts to bribe a man to fight on her side in battle, the couple has violent sex: She sits on a map table and bares one thigh, rubs his bare chest with her hands, grabs him by the throat and then by the hair, then caresses his lips with a finger and he grabs her by the throat, sits her back farther on the table, and we can see that he is thrusting below the shot as she moans; he picks her up and slams her against a wall and they both grab each other's hair as he thrusts and he rips off her bodice and we see her bare breasts as he bends her over the table and thrusts until they start arguing about war and she angrily pulls a sword and places it to his throat, but allows him to leave; the man, now nude, holds a cloth in front of his crotch and we see him in a side view with bare chest, abdomen, buttocks, thighs and legs.
 A woman tongue-kisses the severed head of man on the lips (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). In a night scene we see shadows of men beating women with clubs, slashing them with swords and raping them: the camera cuts to a 10-year-old girl who is watching and crying and cuts again to a view of her chained to the bulkhead inside a wooden ship as a large man comes close to her and removes his tunic, suggesting rape as the scene ends.
 In darkness and in close-up, two men carry away a woman wearing a long-skirt and her head is covered; her torso is bared and her breasts shake (we see her bare breasts and abdomen above the navel). Two thin nude women sit in the lap of a Persian general and we see bare breasts, buttocks and thighs as they run away.
 Thousands of male warriors wear only briefs and sandals or short skirts and leather chest straps that reveal chests, shoulders, arms and legs. A man who becomes a golden god wears gold-jeweled briefs that bulge at the groin area and we see his bare chest, shoulders, arms, back and legs. Two women wear floor length gowns that bare arms and torso sides through cutouts. Women wear gowns that have slits up the front, occasionally revealing bare legs to the thigh. A woman wears a gown that is off the shoulder and reveals significant cleavage. Elderly men wear togas that reveal bare arms.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 9 - The film is a depiction of gory war violence laced with fantasy and many bloody scenes feature fights with longbows and huge arrows, beheadings, sword stabbings and slashes, and fist fighting that includes kicks, punches and throws; men's chests and abdomens are impaled on spears and arrows and several arms and legs are severed in close-up with blood flowing in throbs and blood splatters frequently along with many wide gushes of thick red blood occurring throughout. A woman seems obsessed with drawing blood by sword in battle with male warriors.
 The camera looks down on hundreds of bloody dead men with multiple arrows in their chests and legs while a giant man rides through on a horse and cuts into one body off-screen with a large two-headed ax as he screams.
 A little girl lies in the street after an implied rape, her eyes swollen shut and her arms scarred when a man picks her up after shaking his head in dismay and she receives violent training from him to swordfight; as an adult, she carries three severed heads of enemies in each hand to him and we see their faces grimacing and dripping blood. We understand that a woman's parents and entire village were destroyed and that she becomes a bloodthirsty naval commander; in battle, she stares at bloody action without emotion.
 In a night scene we see shadows of men beating women with clubs, slashing them with swords and raping them; the camera cuts to a 10-year-old girl who is watching and crying and cuts again to a view of her chained to the bulkhead inside a wooden ship as a large man comes close to her and removes his tunic, suggesting rape as the scene ends.
 A woman leads an armada with black sails, all operated by many black-clad men to fight an enemy fleet: they board ships, screaming and slashing enemy warriors with three dozen large gushes of blood, some in slow motion; the woman slices off the tip of one man's head causing blood to spurt high into the air while a man fights another woman (both with swords in each hand) and she slashes his thigh (some blood flows) before he punches her between the eyes and then stabs her in the stomach; she pulls herself onto the blade twice, pulls back and drops to her knees with some blood spurting and she drops dead in a pool of blood as her eyes roll up while fighting continues around her.
 Bloody bare feet and legs are dragged in a close-up away from the audience toward a woman; she berates the man, slashes his chest and severs his head with much blood gushing and she kisses the lips of the head while blood drips from its neck; another man pulls a knife, stabs two warriors, a little blood flows and he jumps into the sea as archers shoot into the water and miss. In the bottom of two large ships, men are chained to oars while their backs are gashed wide open to show torn muscle and they bleed onto their arms and manacled wrists. A man floating in a sea dreams of two monster fish eating dead men until he wakes up with a start and screams as he lies on a shore littered with bloodied dead men and crows or ravens peck at them; one crow pecks out an eye and swallows it.
 A fight scene shows warriors using swords, spears and arrows, with blood gushing toward the audience many times; some of the action is in slow motion, with a prolonged show of blood and lightning highlighting it. A horse stomps in a pool of blood after a view of its frightened eye in close-up; a soldier accidentally jumps onto the point of a spear, impaling his own abdomen and another man loses an eye. A man is struck in the chest by an arrow and he looks down silently; later, he lies in bed with the arrow in a blood clot on his chest; a woman pulls out the arrow causing blood to rush and the man dies with his eyes open. In two scenes, women lead armies in sea battles, screaming and drawing blood; we see wide gushing swaths along with arms and legs being severed with blood flow (a lot of blood gushes toward the audience). A man receives arrow hits to the thigh, abdomen and heart with a little blood flow; he dies in camp that night with his eyes open (his son closes them as he cries while a man also cries). A man fights three other men from the middle of a circle, suffering kicks, punches and stomping and at the end of the drill, he is bloody from head to toe.
 In two scenes, ships charge another ship and split the vessel to splinters; it sinks with the bodies of many dead men into the sea. Several ships are destroyed by passing through narrow cliffs in the fog, sheering away boat structures as men jump down with swords drawn from the cliffs and fighting results in 36 large gushes of blood into the air and at the camera, soaking the boat decks; a man's arm and leg are severed before another man screams and stabs him with a sword, toward an off-screen location and blood spatters the swordsman's face and the camera lens; nautical and human debris sink into a churning strait, turning the sea red. Slaves chained to wooden cylinders make them rotate as they walk and cause oil to spew into the sea and onto enemy boats; the men then throw pots of fire with hammer-throw action and ignite the oil (one man catches fire and falls into the sea) and blow up several ships to fill the screen with fire as men abandon their ships. A man is lashed with a whip in two scenes. A giant man slaps a woman backhanded across the mouth and one corner of her mouth bleeds down her chin. A giant man holds up a man's severed head and neck that drips blood and drops it as a woman sails away.
 Men lie on a beach, looking at dead bodies of warriors and a brilliantly red sea dyed with blood. A man is bandaged on the arm and another around the head to cover one eye. Among men scarred across arms and chests and preparing for another battle, a general shouts to fight for their brother warriors, their families, and their country and to not get killed on the first day.
 A man enters a cave of hermits that look like living corpses (they are grayish and gaunt); the man submerges in a pool and a golden light shines upwards as he emerges as an 8-foot giant with many facial piercings and gold chains. A mythical beast, like a muscular cat, stomps and snarls while chained to a throne. A bent over hunchback man has huge gnarled hands, one eye much larger than the other, boils over his skin and a scarred hump on his back. End credits included animated shadowy still shots from the film, with bright red blood spewed in spatters.
 A woman stands in front of a smoldering fire, implying that it is the cremation of her husband who died in battle. A man on a horse rides across boat decks and they dive into the sea, but return to the boats before the horse dives into the sea again.


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 2 F-words, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (wolf, whore, mad Greek, worthless cowards, farmers, filth, monster), stereotypical references to men, women, ancient warrior societies, women warriors, greedy monarchs, mythical beasts, Persian gods, fathers, 1 religious exclamation (The gods have given us opportunity).


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SUBSTANCE USE - An ancient potion is mentioned that can turn a man into a god (we do not see it). A man pours and drinks wine with his meal at his throne, and a man smells a cup of wine on a ship and does not drink it.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Glorifying war, power, politics, rape, revenge, loyalty, friendship, brotherhood, Greek history, ancient religions, fantasy, male role models, female warriors.

MESSAGE - War and plundering lead to more war and plundering.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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