Five Stars (out of five)
2012. Released by Entertainment One. Running time 79 minutes. Not rated. Has graphic violence. Has English Subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. Special features include bloopers, deleted scenes, and a visual effects featurette. This was reviewed on DVD on June 1, 2014.

Oi, mate, you mind? You're crowding me here! Whoa, how did I miss this one? Seriously, itís the last full length film to be directed by Neal Marshall, who made the incredibly good horror film The Descent, and then went on to make the incredibly goofy (but really fun) Doomsday. Centurion is his last film in about four years, thanks to him being busy directing episodes of Game Of Thrones, Black Sails, and the new Constantine. But TVís gain is cinemaís loss, because Marshall was making some genuinely entertaining movies that put a new spin on some old ideas (like 2002ís Dog Soldiersí twist on werewolves). I bought Centurion in the bargain bin of my local dollar store, and upon viewing it, I quickly realized that I had scored a real cinematic gem.

Yoo hoo?! Anybody out there? Come and get it! With Centurion, Marshall turns his attention to the sword and sandal genre, and once again, he manages a nice twist on the proceedings by introducing one of his favorite storytelling strengths to the film: girl power in the form of strong female characters. Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class) stars as Centurion Qunitus Dias, a survivor of a Roman garrison that was massacred by the Picts, the native people who don't take too kindly to invaders. The Roman response to this attack is to send the legendary Ninth Legion into the area to wipe out all resistance. But the Ninth, led by General Virilus (Dominic West, 300), is itself wiped out by the superior guerilla tactics of the Picts.

Come and get this! Now, Dias has to get a small group of the remaining Romans back home over the boarder--all while being stalked by a Pictish hunting party thatís being led by a super warrior babe (Olga Kurylenko, from Quantum of Solace) that can only exist in a Neil Marshall film. Fans of Xena would approve of the number of warrior chicks within the ranks of the Picts who hold their own against the Roman legions. Imogen Poots (the Fright Night remake) is also very good as a supposed witch who gives aid and comfort to the Romans.

What? Me, a vampire? No, I was never a vampire. You got your films mixed up! The way Marshall directs it all, itís just rollicking good fun. The action never lets up, starting from the opening scene. Fassbender, starring in this before he hit it big is a solid lead here. But the entire cast is just fantastic, including the actors cast as the soldiers and the Picts. The film is rated R for its gory battle scenes, which donít hold back on just how violent hand to hand combat can be in this era. Granted, it takes some liberties with history (one character is identified as being a marathon runner, when the term wasnít even used until the 1890s), but if youíre looking for a grand old Roman time, you can't go wrong with Centurion.

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