The historical saga is based on the swords and glory drama of the 2nd century. It remains a good movie that you must see if you are a fan of the age of Romans and the gladiators fights.
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The tendency of the director to portray a battle which is seemingly an afterthought by the hero who finding time on his hands decides to take off into the wild untamed northern country and search for the Golden Eagle, a motif of pride with his father’s regiment in his father’s time.
The movie tends to rest a lot on the master-slave relationship between Marcus Flavius Aquila and Esca. Still the action is not entirely without heat and many interactions between the master and the slave are wrought in futility. The slave is not of a favorable disposition to the Romans or to his master either. This complicates the fact that the master wants to invade those hostile regions where now there is the scary Seal tribe ruled by the indomitable Tahir Rahim. The Golden eagle will be found in these regions .
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It is in the earlier days before Marcus decided to invade the northern country that he rescued Esca who was a slave in the gladiator games. These deadly games are so contagious that even children are often found screaming for blood. Even though he hates Marcus and all Romans, he has sworn to stand by Marcus after the latter saved his life in the gladiator game.
His father had led a debacle in which a symbolic eagle is lost. This is the driving passion of the hero Marcus who wants to get back what his father had lost which is the cherished avian symbol “the Eagle is Rome”. The Seal tribes are portrayed as an ancient tribe which wears mud and seals. They are frightening in a manner of sorts and make the final fight sequence something after a long time of inaction.