As a film, 300 does a lot of violence. First, this frenetic, computerized gorefest bludgeons and butchers history, recasting the ancient Battle of Thermopylae into a crude and uncomfortably racist romp. (Sure, director Zach Snyder can justifiably say his movie is based on the Frank Miller comic book, not Herodotus or Xenophon, but tell that to the generation of American kids who’ll now forever associate Persians with hapless, degenerate sissy men and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.) Then, 300 wreaks violence upon your eyes. Some have described its stylized action — which in many respects takes its visual cues from the current crop of video games — as “beautiful.” Clearly, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder or, in 300‘s case, the impaler.
The band of Spartans, their digitally enhanced abs rippling in the Hellenic half-light, slice and dice their way through the onrushing Persian horde. Blood flows everywhere, limbs are hacked off, decapitated heads pirouette in the air, spears penetrate sternums and every other part of the human body. Bodies pile up one after the other, then get put into a wall of bodies. Everyone dies in a red mist. And for what, exactly? A frat-boys-gone-wild epilogue scene. War, it was once asked, what is it good for? 300 is an apt illustration of its pointlessness.
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