I watched Centurion (2010) this week on Netflix instant download. I have to say I was pleasantly entertained. It's not a perfect movie by any means, I would've rewritten the script one more time to add some depth to the characters so that the audience can gain a bit more connection, but I enjoyed the scenic vistas, the action and the bloody battles.
The basic story is of a group of Empire spreading Roman soldiers in 70 AD as they fight for their lives trying to make it back from behind the lines of the savage Picts. Kind of your typical war film plot but taking place almost 2000 years ago.
It's a brutal movie with quite a bit of axe to the head, arrows through the face bloody sword wielding melees but done well. Rated R for a reason. Not for the young ones but us older fantasy RPGing grognards will enjoy the wilderness adventure as the soldiers cross rugged winter forests while being tailed by one wicked she-bitch of a Pict tracker. It's no reason why the Romans want to expand their empire into this land as the Pict women are hot!
There were plenty of unexpected twists which kept me interested, though again I would have been more-so if the characters and relationships were developed a bit more. Written and directed by Neil Marshal (who directed the thrilling The Descent and the upcoming Pride and Prejudice with Zombies) does a great job with the actors and the mood of the film and again, the battles were quite enjoyable.
Without a true 'fantasy' element this film, for me anyway, was a great tale of swords and survival that can inspire any FRPG campaign.
One other thing I might mention is that I couldn't help but think that some movies capture the savagery of what a Conan film should be more than an actual Conan film. With armored Roman soldiers (Aquilonian troops) in a battle on the frontier with savage Picts, one can't help but think of Howard's 'Beyond the Black River'. We can only hope that the upcoming 'barbarian' flick will be half as well done as Centurion.
So if you're looking for a enjoyable way to pass some time this weekend I'd check out Centurion.