Russell Baillie

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Movie review: Wrath of the Titans (+trailer)

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The volcanic Kronos - he's a lava and a fighter. Photo / Supplied
The volcanic Kronos - he's a lava and a fighter. Photo / Supplied

Well, one thing's definitely improved in the second of these grand Greek mythology mash-ups.

Perseus now has a mullet - yes, the hairstyle of the gods - rather than the scalp-risking number two ("By Zeus, barber of Athens, can't you get that sword any sharper?") that Avatar star Sam Worthington sported in 2010's Clash of the Titans.

A few other things have got better too. The 3D, which was an awful afterthought in the first, is better here. Also, it actually has a Titan, being a forbear of the Olympian gods, whereas the first, strictly speaking, didn't.

But you don't come here for a Greek mythology primer. You come here for a battle of men, gods and monsters and on that score Wrath certainly does better than Clash.

It's got multi-headed fire-breathing demon dogs unleashed from the underworld. It's got a stomping trio of Cyclopses. It's got a brutally ugly Minotaur.

And it's got A Titan, Kronos, the molten magma giant imprisoned in underworld prison Tartarus by his son Zeus (Neeson).

Until, that is, Hades (Fiennes) and his god-of-war-nephew Ares (Edgar Ramirez) decide that as mankind aren't praying enough and so flattening the gods' immortality batteries, that it Is time to unleash the Kronos.

Which means Perseus must put aside his simple life as a fisherman and solo dad and get back on the flying horse and do gods' work - find the gatekeeper, enter the underworld, gather the magic weapons, see off the aforementioned monsters and meet the characters introduced into the game as light relief. That includes demigod cousin Agenor (Toby Kebbell, in a kind of Russell Brand impersonation) and an amusing Bill Nighy as boffin-to-the-gods Hephaestus.

Did I say game? Well, it might be based on mythology and Clash was a remake of the early 80s film of the same name. But even more than Clash, Wrath is a movie which will give anyone who's played the God of War videogames itchy controller fingers.

It might also explains why Worthington is something of an empty presence at the centre of it all. His sword 'n' sandals dude is basically an avatar in a movie which wants to be a videogame (the second biggest title to Avatar he's starred in, was as a voice in mega-title game Call of Duty: Black Ops) and it's just his job to drive us to the next level and not use up all his lives.

The action bits of Wrath's mercifully brief 99 minutes on screen are hardly ever boring. However, when it's not relying on relentless spectacle, Wrath crashes back to Earth.

The dialogue, seemingly designed to explain Who's Who at every breath as well as What Just Happened, is aptly, god-awful, no matter whose accent is saying it.

Also much of the plot relies on Hades - despite being the grim and determined God of Death - being unbelievably mercurial.

But the combo of mad monsters and bad everything else still makes Wrath an enjoyably daft B-flick.

Stars: 2.5/5
Cast: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Rating: M (fantasy violence)
Running time: 99 mins
Verdict: Ye gods, here we go again.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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