Be prepared to get down and dirty (not really) in The Eagle. This Kevin Macdonald directed historical flick follows a Roman soldier named Marcus (Channing Tatum) whose father was part of a group of soldiers that ambiguously disappeared in the forest. Now Marcus must travel to the site of his father’s supposed murder and reclaim an Eagle shaped statue-thingy which will restore his family’s honour. Sounds like the inspiring story of the year, but unfortunately it is not.
The Eagle starts out quite promisingly with its cinematic visuals and respectable tone, but after a while becomes very dry and overly serious. The film gets so restless at times, you feel as if everyone is just dragging their feet from start to finish without any real passion. The one-dimensional story has very little rhythm, although it manages to rise up a little bit at the crucial moments.
Tatum in the lead role seems to be for the sake of attracting young girls and also people who remember the 2009 G.I. Joe movie. His acting in this film is not terrible, but there is still lots of room for improvement. Jamie Bell of Billy Elliot fame plays Marcus’ slave who later on becomes more than that, and the relationship between these two boys is mildly interesting. Donald Sutherland appears in a minor yet prevalent role, and adds a tiny drop of credibility into this lifeless adventure.
The Eagle is stuck somewhere between Gladiator and 300, and will have lots of trouble finding an audience. The film contains a couple of skillful sword-fighting scenes, but everything else is mediocre at best. In the end, The Eagle feels more like a made-for-TV movie that you happen to catch on a lazy afternoon. Unless you are really into the Roman period stuff, you can skip The Eagle.