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MY FIRST trip abroad as a 12-year-old schoolboy was a three-day coach trip to Naples - and on to the top of Mt Vesuvius overlooking the excavated ruins of Pompeii.

An elderly Italian guide shoved a rolled up newspaper into the lip of the vast crater whereupon it magically set on fire.

That simple illustration will continue to live linger longer in my memory than anything created here by British director Paul WS Anderson who has spent much of his career labouring through the Resident Evil series.

The action begins with an AD62 prologue in Northern Britannia where a boy witnesses the murder of his parents by corrupt Roman senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) and his sadistic henchman Proculus (Sasha Roiz).

Milo (Kit Cassia (Emily Years later, the adult Milo (Kit Harington) has to fight for his life against Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) at the Pompeii games overseen by Corvus.

Wealthy merchant's daughter Cassia (Emily Browning) is watching with a fluttering heart having seen the caring side of Milo's character en route to Italy.

Harington) and Browning) The frequently creaking script weaves together the lives and fates of Milo, Cassia, Corvus and Attiticus via too many badly-edited sword fights.

Vesuvius then loses patience and gets ready to rumble.

The mountain showers the cast with increasing numbers of spectacular lava bombs and sparks a tsunami.

Though lacking in humour and powered by the most vacuous, ill-fitting historical score since Troy a decade ago, Pompeii's mixture of brotherly-honour and half-baked romance makes it better than expected.

The often flimsy 3D is a distraction, but it's refreshing to see 'digital destruction' technology being used this constructively.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 2, 2014
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