* * * B
Zach Snider’s 300 was surprisingly good, considering I’d seen it before. The writing is corny, and based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller of Sin City fame. The visuals are excellent, with effective use of slow motion, and plenty of action. The material is vaguely historical, but is given a fantastic twist, making it far more fictional than factual.
The Spartan king, Leonides (Gerard Butler) takes a troop of 300 Spartans to prevent Xerces, the king of Persia, from leaving the coast of Greece, where he has landed with a vast army. Aided by the narrator, Dilios (David “Faramir” Wenham) and Stelios (Michael “Magneto” Fasbender), and the rest of the 300, Leonides holds back the Persian horde until Dilios, who is injured, leaves and is able to return with an army of ten thousand Spartans and thirty thousand free Greeks.
The film is fairly gory, with some partial nudity and adult content in the beginning. There are a couple of side plots, one involving Leonides wife, queen Gorgo (Leah “Circe” Headley), the other a banished Spartan who, after Leonides rejects him for his deformity, betrays the Spartans to Xerces. The main plot is entertaining, with many memorable if over the top lines like “this is Sparta!” and “tonight we dine in hell!”. Good fun.