The Eagle Reviews
The director's documentary background informs his almost reportorial attention to landscape, fighting technique, and especially the wild, fascinating otherness of the peoples beyond the reach of Rome.
The story sags in the middle, as our wanderers traipse through the highlands-not a happy environment for Tatum, who, before his journey even begins, looks all at sea in this distant age.
Too often in "The Eagle," in which the Romans are played by American actors and the Britons are played by Brits, Tatum comes off like "second Roman warrior from the left" rather than "Roman warrior the film is about."
A muscularly entertaining adventure inspired by Rosemary Sutcliff's historical fiction The Eagle of the Ninth, hugely popular in middle schools in the mid-20th century.
To its credit, the film does attempt to grapple with the ambivalence that Europe and America feel toward the Roman Empire. We admire its cultural achievements while condemning its brutality, and in that tension we see our own ideals and failures reflected
A codpiece-and-crossbow saga of relentlessly exciting battle sequences sandwiched between tedious, unconvincing chatter about cantankerous centurions, fiery feudal warriors and camera-ready six-pack abs modeled by hunky pinups...