Channing Tatum’s stock has certainly been on the rise in the last two years, with a major blockbuster (“G.I. Joe”), a romantic drama (“Dear John”), and a comedy (“The Dilemma”). So naturally, all that’s left to do is the period epic.
Written By: Jeremy Brock
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong
Unfortunately for him, this won’t be a great addition to that budding resume. While Tatum and co-star Jamie Bell deliver solid, if unspectacular, performances, neither one is able to stop the film from collapsing around itself.
Tatum is the Roman centurion Marcus Aquila, stationed at the end of the Roman empire in 140 AD — Britain. Twenty years before the film, the Ninth Legion, under his father’s command, disappeared in Northern Britain past the reaches of the Empire. In his disappearance he shamed the family name by losing a prized Roman totem — the eagle. Aquila sets out to find the eagle and reclaim his family’s honor, along with his inexplicably obtained slave Esca, who harbors a dark past related to Aquilas.
The film suffers from a convoluted and poorly executed plot, and a weakly drawn script giving way to dialogue. Kevin MacDonald, who previously directed Forest Whitaker in the Oscar-winning “Last King of Scottland,” delivers the same washed out colors and imperialistic tone, but can’t seem to sustain an engaging plot or a cohesive direction for very long.
The film’s only redemption comes from sporadically entertaining fight scenes, as Tatum and Bell kill just about anything in their way in their quest. The chemistry between the two main characters is also somewhat redemptive, but still suffers from the sorely lacking script, making it difficult to truly care about their relationship.
Ultimately, there is entertainment value in “The Eagle,” and one can sit through it without too many boring periods. If you’re looking for some sword-and-sandle period-flick action, this is a mildly entertaining film with a miniscule budget that shows. If you have the time and the desire, check it out; I’d recommend Netflix though, which this film should be arriving on fairly soon.