The expansion of the Roman Empire ended at Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland.
Or so the legend goes.
Marcus Aquila’s dad once commanded a last outpost in the region. He lost his life, the lives of all of the Ninth Legion and the legion’s golden emblem -- the Eagle.
As an adult, Marcus takes command of the post. A war injury connects him with an uncle, and then with a slave who takes him north of the wall to learn what happened to dad, the Ninth and to retrieve the precious emblem.
It is a dangerous and supposed to be a trek filled with adventure.
Channing Tatum ( Dear John) and Jamie Bell play Marcus and his slave Esca. With few lines to betray his limited talent, Tatum is beefy, buff and believable. Bell ( Defiance), who is a terrific actor, isn’t.
While this isn’t your typical buddy movie and at two different stations of life, the characters wouldn’t connect in real life, the two stars at least ought to connect on a film level. Tatum and Bell don’t.
Both are stuck with characters whose depth is measured in the ability to scowl and be macho. Neither ever warms up, and you don’t warm up to them. The two men plod through the plot and encounter the tribulations, action sequences and relationships expected in this kind of movie.
No surprises. No fun.
Director Kevin Macdonald ( The Last King of Scotland) does treat you to some incredible cinematography and stunning shots of Scottish scenery. As a travelogue the film has air. The story The Eagle doesn’t get a lot of lift, and at the bottom-line, doesn’t fly.
DVD recommendation. Check out Centurion from last year. Roman theme, better movie.
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for violence, mature themes. It opens Friday, Feb. 11 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8..
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.