In a nutshell: Implausible, forgettable but reasonably entertaining action yarn

Popcorn rating: 3/5

I like a good unintentionally homoerotic, old school action adventure as much as the next girl. In fact, in my humble view, there isn’t enough fit men ripping off their shirts and exchanging meaningful glances on the silver screen nowadays. Luckily, The Eagle has come along to redress the balance with lots of masculine moodiness, hand to hand combat and general silliness all wrapped up in the mystery of the disappearance of the Ninth Legion in Roman-ruled Brittania.

Channing Tatum continues his line of rippling muscles masquerading as men playing Roman centurion Marcus Aquila, a young commander in chilly looking Britain living under the shadow of his father – the man who led the legendary Legion and their gold Eagle emblem into unconquered Caledonia, never to be heard or seen of again.

Honourably discharged from the army and with nothing better to do than emote meaningfully, Marcus decides to regain his daddy’s lost glory by heading across Hadrian’s Wall into Caledonia – aka no man’s land – in pursuit of the Eagle. He takes along for the ride, his young British slave, Esca (Billy Elliot sorry, ahem, Jamie Bell) whose life he saved in a gladiator bout (where else?), thus earning Esca’s apparent lifelong allegiance.

This is when the real adventure begins as the brooding duo begin their quest, along the way bumping into a Ninth survivor (a so-serious it is actually a bit funny turn from Mark Strong) as well as the hard-as-a-rock natives (they’re very scary because they wear mud and live on the coast in mud huts, oh-er). But with Esca back with his people (kind of) and the Roman master now the slave, will Marcus fulfil his mission to return the Eagle to Rome? Do you really care? Well no, probably not, but never mind.

Directed by Kevin Macdonald, The Eagle is best watched with a giant pinch of salt. Yes, its implausible (ridiculously so in parts), yes, Esca’s allegiance is inexplicable (especially after Marcus shows his willingness to off enemy children at the drop of a hat), yes, you are likely to want to scream “Oh, for f*ck’s sake, get over it” at the screen several times and yes, Donald Sutherland (as Marcus’ uncle) does look like he can’t help but chuckle at getting a wad of cash merely for showing up for any old role nowadays.

What The Eagle is, however; is a throwback to the Boys Own adventure’s of yesteryear, a diverting action adventure that won’t win any awards but may, just may, mildly entertain you for 90 minutes or so. The other 24 minutes, to be fair, could have been cut.

Reviewer: Curlyshirley

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