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Starring: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: DreamWorks Pictures and Universal Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Nope.  Lots of gratuitous violence.
Date Movie: She might get scared and cuddle, buts it's mostly a dude flick.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: More than I've seen since "Saving Private Ryan."  Even more brutal.
Action: Lots of action scenes.  Come on, it's a gladiator movie!
Laughs: Most of the theater chuckled when Commodus was blubbering "They like him more than me."
Memorable Scene: An Amazon woman getting cut in half.
Memorable Quote: Everybody else quotes "Unleash hell."  But not me, mine was "You sold me queer giraffes!"
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Produced By: Douglas Wick, David Franzoni, Branko Lustig

A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 2:34 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
It’s two and a half hours long. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, I’m just warning you, because I forgot to check before seeing "Gladiator," and by my not knowing, at about the hour and a half mark I checked my watch, got a little antsy, and later said to myself, "Self, you should have gone to the bathroom when his family got killed." So, a word of warning, "Gladiator" is a really good movie, a little kooky and creepy at times, but if you do buy that 55 gallon drum of soda, be prepared to hold it a while or re-use the cup so you don’t have to hit the bathroom.

Anyway, "Gladiator." You’d think with a title like that the entire movie would be about Russell Crowe (Maximus) being a gladiator, but it’s not. Nope, it takes maybe over an hour for the movie to start to be about gladiators, and that’s okay because there are many plot scenarios that need to be developed for this epic-style movie to tell a full story.

First off you’ve got Maximus. He’s a General helping Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) conquer the world, or at least most of Europe. But Marcus is on his way to his deathbed and he doesn’t want to leave the empire to his son, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). He’d rather leave it to his daughter, Lucilla, if she were a guy, but she’s not, so he has decided to leave it to Maximus so that Maximus can restore the Roman Empire into something good instead of the corrupt place it has become. The problem is Marcus only tells two people of his intentions, Maximus of course, and unfortunately his son, Commodus, who, not taking to kindly to the news, offs dad, and when Maximus won’t pledge loyalty to Commodus, well, Commodus sends Maximus off to be executed. Hmm, let’s see, a kick-ass General against a few not really good soldiers? Duh, Maximus escapes.

So, Maximus returns to his farm just a little too late and finds that his family has been killed, Commodus returns to Rome to claim his empire and conspire to get rid of the Senate, Maximus is captured, turned into a slave, into a gladiator, and thanks to Commodus’ bringing gladiator games back to Rome, Maximus has figured out a way to get back at Commodus, thanks to the likes of Proximo (Oliver Reed), Maximus’ owner, who teaches Maximus that he can be freed as a slave if the Emperor so wishes, but to do that he has to be more than just a fighter, he has to be an entertainer, kinda like a Roman version of professional wrestling (I stole that idea from The Dude on the Left who was with me at the movie).

Maximus eventually finds his way back to Rome as a gladiator, and a kick-ass gladiator he is. Commodus wants to meet the man the crowd is chanting for and is shocked to find out it’s Maximus. Lucilla is fending off repeated incestuous advances from her brother. And people are getting sliced in half. Way cool.

I’ll leave the synopsis at this point to not mess up some endings. They're not really surprises, but better not known until seen. But "Gladiator" gives you everything you could ask for in a gladiator movie except maybe some sex and nudity. But that’s okay, I got past that, especially with the kick-ass action sequences, quality gladiator violence, and quality battle violence that ensued many a time.

Russell Crowe was fantastic as both the General Maximus and then the gladiator Maximus. He was just a dude wanting to do his job and he got screwed. Then there was Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus, totally creepy trying to get in his sister’s pants, and so coming off as not likeable that you really want him to die. And the action scenes – some of the best I’ve seen. Nothing more to want in this movie except maybe a catheter and maybe a few less artsy/dream scenes. With that it’s 4 ½ stars out of 5 for "Gladiator."

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


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