The idea of taking a contemporary action-thriller plot and planting it under the ashen-grey skies of a deadly volcano in 79 AD is so gloriously stupid that it’s sort of impossible to resist. Sadly, by the end of Pompeii, you may find yourself cheering for the volcano.
Paul W.S. Anderson bashes out this goofy disaster-romance mash-up with such a ruthless, heavy metal artlessness that it makes his popcorn-chomping Resident Evil series look Haneke-esque by comparison. The Titanic-by-way-of-Die Hard plot sees muscle-bound slave turned gladiator Milo (Game Of Thrones’ Kit Harington) fall for gorgeous rich girl Cassia (Emily Browning).
Essentially, the entire movie is a delivery system for the CGI-created eruption, which is indeed very impressive. Everything else? Blandly beautiful people and zero emotional involvement. It’s like the world’s longest videogame trailer.
While it offers spectacular CGI devastation and a chiselled hero, Pompeii is so soulless and empty that you won’t shed any tears when the ‘cano blows its top.