Centurion – Genre thrills & modern parallels from Roman soldiers on the run

Centurion - Michael Fassbender’s Roman soldier Quintus Dias flees pursuing Picts in Neil Marshall’s gory historical action thriller

Neil Marshall’s gory historical action thriller Centurion depicts a handful of Roman soldiers striving to out-run and out-fight belligerent local tribes after their legion is wiped out in an ambush in ancient Britain, circa AD 117.

The sight of a technologically superior occupying force coming a cropper in hostile foreign territory inescapably brings modern Afghanistan to mind, but Marshall (maker of werewolf movie Dog Soldiers, potholing horror flick The Descent and post-apocalyptic action movie Doomsday) probably has such genre classics as The Warriors and Southern Comfort equally in mind.

Michael Fassbender, so good – and so versatile! – in The Hunger, Fish Tank and Inglorious Basterds, makes a muscular hero as Quintus Dias, the legionary we’re rooting for the most; The Wire’s Dominic West stamps his authority on the role of his commander; and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is scarily remorseless as the mute Pictish tracker on the Romans’ trail.

Released on 16th August.

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