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The Eagle: twenty years after his father led 5,000 Roman soldiers to their death a rookie tries to restore his family’s name by finding the lost Roman ‘eagle standard’. In a nutshell the biggest problem this film has is lackadaisical direction – every other issue seems to stem from this: naff/ridiculous plot, complacent acting, lazy storytelling… There’s genuinely a scene where a minor character says “To find them you have to go over the snowy hills and into the next glen” – there’s a 5 second shot of our soldiers struggling through snow, and wham – they’re back in normal terrain again!!! Complimenting the visual vomit is the corniest stock Gaelic music, that drones away in the background when the soldiers are in the highlands. To make the film more sellable there are a few gratuitous action scenes but you can’t really see what’s going on, and it winds up a blurry, shaky mess. The only redeeming part is when Mark Strong appears and shows everyone how to act properly!  All in, it just all feels a bit amateur, and like more of a project about someone finding their roots / heritage, than wanting to let a decent story take centre stage. If you wish to see a film about southerners taking on crazed tribes of ugly Scottish people check out Doomsday instead! Or if you want to keep it historical – Spartacus.

Score: 2/10

Assembly: an epic Chinese film of one man’s struggle through two wars and his quest for recognition of his fallen soldiers. The first 60 minutes of the film shows 4 battles, 3 of which are so realistic that it makes Private Ryan look like a scouts training exercise – the only downfall is they cranked the ‘shaky cam’ up to advanced Parkinsons level in the first one. Some great suspence sequences leading up to the fights. The second part of the film drags on a little as the story weakens but the acting / cinematography / Chinese scenery keeps it more than watchable – and the ending picks up a bit. It’s brutal but humane, and Zhang Hanyu’s performance is utterly jaw-dropping.

Score: 7.5/10