300: Rise of an Empire (2014) Review

Most people who know me and have read my reviews would guess I liked 300 quite a bit and you would be right, so obviously I was going to see Rise of an Empire. Sadly and not unexpectedly this was a weaker contender than its star studded predecessor but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The acting was passable if only dragged along by its two leads, seriously cannot remember anyone past Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green who were both pretty good. The story and general script was pretty bad and somehow seemed smaller in scale than 300, which seems impossible considering how much more happened in this film. The battles and action was pretty great and as where the visuals short of some effects I would not have used in this film. The visuals where strong and the music wasn’t bad either. I’ll go into much more detail below but for now bookmark this if you are waiting to see the film, if you have seen the film then check out the spoiler sections and I will look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

“Let it be shown we chose to die on our feet rather than live on our knees!”


Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield-on the sea-as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war. “300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended

Story: 55%       Acting: 70%      Characters: 45%      Dialogue: 55%

War/Swords and Sandals: 85%      Style/Sound: 75%      Visuals: 75%

Total: 65%


The story basically tells the events before, during and after the first film, the rise of Xerxes, Themistocles defensive navy and the fall of Artemisia’s navy. With so much happening in this film it should have seemed much larger in scale but it didn’t and I think I know why. It’s the characters, very few characters of any note, Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green carried this film and I am not a fan of films that need to be carried. In saying that those two where good and enjoyed them on screen, also hope we see more of Sullivan because I see potential. Sadly you won’t be quoting much of this film, no “This is Sparta” to be found.


The fights where good and there were some epic naval battles to be had, really liked the first naval battles. We also got some ground battles which where fun especially the first battle with the Athenians charging into the beach, Themistocles kicked ass! The visuals where good but not an improvement on the first film which considering the 7 year gap is pretty bad, hell the CGI blood didn’t look much better than in the Spartacus TV Show (miss that). Music was quite good, but nothing blew me away. Oh boy did they ruin some scenes with misplaced slow motion, some scene would be running great with the music the fighting the pace and then SLOWMO! Completely ruining the pace, at least twice.



The best reviews I found would be these:

“Because that’s what 300ROAE is. Spectacle. There is no subtlety here, no message, no moral. There is no posturing or product placement. No pretention. Just perfect violence, slow motion body shots of half naked men, magnificent costuming and a tale as rooted in historical accuracy as it is slow and methodical in its storytelling. Watch it if you liked the first one.” Funk’s House of Geekery. Full Review

“It might lack the cutting edge and tenacity of the original but is still watchable, gory and entertaining enough to kill 90 minutes. Hardly a war classic but not a complete ship wreck. 3 (just) out of 5!” Mad Movie Ranter. Full Review

“The film doesn’t live up to the original for one reason, the original has already been made. That is not to say it’s not as entertaining or as action packed. It is a perfect follow up to what was truly a sleeper hit of the year it came out. This film will not sneak up on anyone but it will have you enthralled and enjoying every stylized minute.” Love Your Movies. Full Review



My favourite scene would have to be the rough sex scene, no wait. My favourite scene would probably be the first battle we see Themistocles using the Athenian shock tactics, he kicked ass and cannot wait to see that guy in more stuff.



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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

27 responses to “300: Rise of an Empire (2014) Review”

  1. Ayush Chandra says :

    the first part was amazing, hope this one is one step ahead…


  2. Three Rows Back says :

    It was all a bit too po-faced for my liking, although Green was just crazy mental. Great read Tim.


  3. Hypersonic55 says :

    Howdy Tim, how are you today good sir?

    Kick ass review which pretty much hit the nail on the head. I really liked 300 back in the day, but I haven’t seen in since it came out and I think its a bit overhyped. This film suffers from a lack of interesting characters outside of Sullivan and Green, too much frigging slow motion and bringing nothing new to the table. The visual presentation was still prtty badass with some good choreography and cool moments that stand out on land and see. But beyond that the film wasn’t that fancy to me.


  4. sidekickreviews says :

    The first movie made me want to do a lot of sit ups and get in shape. Maybe I should rewatch it? 🙂 The visuals were cool in the first, too bad this movie couldn’t top it, that’s odd since you’d think CGI technology has gotten better. I’m torn if I should wait for the DVD or not. Good review.


  5. angie chui says :

    I’m a big fan of the original 300 movie and the Spartacus series too, but I think what’s missing from this installment is the substance. Even one episode of Spartacus has more substance than this one, which is just too bad because it had a lot of potential. 😦 Great review 😀


  6. Ryan says :

    That’s a pretty fair review. I felt the same about this one. It was an overall really fun flick. And Eva Green was worth the ticket alone for a couple of reasons…


  7. ruth says :

    I was wondering if you like this one as I remember you liking the first one Tim. Well I like the first one too, but not really that interested in this one without King Leo. Maybe a rental on a slow night, ahah.


  8. CMrok93 says :

    I expected this one to be incredibly dumb, and that’s what I got. Wasn’t perfect, but was fun for what it was and not what it could have been. Good review Tim.


  9. Parlor of Horror says :

    Hope to see this over next weekend.


  10. Tom says :

    Nice one Tim!!! For me, it was all about the sex scene though. How intense was that?!


  11. daviruz says :

    seeing it today or tomorrow


  12. theipc says :

    I’m still excited about this one but will wait til it comes out on VOD.

    Nice one!


  13. Gene says :

    That first battle was awesome. I personally loved the slow mo in that scene. I gave the story a little more credit than you in my review on LTBM. For as simple as the story in 300 was, Rise of an Empire had a lot more moving parts and I felt like the story, while not great, still worked sufficiently. You mentioned Green and Stapleton carrying the film, what did you think of Lena Heady’s performance? I thought it was noticeably lacking compared to her performance in 300.


  14. jjames36 says :

    Good review. I tend to enjoy this sort of film less than you do, so I guess it’s no surprise you enjoyed it more than me. 🙂

    I do agree the two leads were solid (I think Green was even better than that, actually) and that some of the action is pretty darn entertaining.


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