Well, actually, the show is Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and it started January 22nd on Starz, which I actually do not normally get. I’ve seen a ton of advertisement for the new Spartacus show, and yeah, it essentially looked like a low budget 300 rip off, but is it ever really a bad thing when get quality gladiatorial combat graces your television screens? I think not. And the promise stylized ultra-violence intrigued me.
The show stars Andy Whitfield (from who the f*ck knows….oh wait, he’s the dude from Gabriel!) as the title’s namesake, an unnamed Thracian who goes to war, with the support of the Romans, against those stupid Greeks. But, as Romans are wont to do, he’s betrayed, and he and his naked hot wife are taken captive by the Romans, where he’s made into a gladiator (with the hopes he’ll die quickly), and she’s sold into slavery.
Sure, it’s a little cliche, but it’s almost forgiveable for the fact that it’s a remake of the original Spartacus (with Kirk “The Man” Douglas), which is the gladiator film that everyone rips off from anyway. Of course, this new Spartacus manages to rip off every Spartacus rip off to come since, so you get a rip off of rip offs that’s actually a remake of the original. If that makes any sense.
Anyway, full review after the jump.
Someone told me that watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand is like watching porn. Sadly, that’s overhype. While the blood and sex is pretty strong in Spartacus (and suprisingly abundant – I don’t remember Kirk Douglas getting this much booty), it’s far from pornography and certainly no I, Claudius. It’s nothing stronger than anyone who’s had a healthy diet of Showtime and HBO original programming isn’t already used to and, unlike some of those shows, at least everyone naked here is beautiful. Heck, even Xena’s Lucy Lawless (who seems to get better looking every time I see her – didn’t she used to be…ya know…Xena?) gets naked for the show, but it’s not quite the things of geekgasm as you would expect, since she’s having sex with the dude who played the brother in The Mummy movies. Totally takes you out of it.
Anyway, sex aside, there’s also PLENTY of blood to enjoy. I mean, almost all of it is fake and computer generated which, for people who just don’t like that hyper-stylized stuff, is going to take you out of the program. Me, I actually dig it. I mean, sure, it’s obviously fake, but it’s also done for a reason and some of this really ends up looking like a moving comic book – in some ways, more than 300 which it steals most of its tricks from. I’d venture to say that this is one of the few instances where I like the CG-blood, and maybe movie makers should realize that the way to get away with CG-blood is to MAKE it look fake. Because it’s never going to look real.
Blood and boobs aside, I found myself quite enjoying ol’ Spartacus, at least the two episodes I’ve seen thus far. The acting is all pretty solid – Andy Whitfield plays the brooding title character with the proper amount of anger and yelling that we’ve become accustomed to, and the supporting cast (including the aforementioned Lawless and the dude from The Mummy) all put in solid work that reminds you why they became such popular genre mainstays to begin with.
While you won’t see anything new in the show (gladiator rises to glory to get his woman back blah blah blah), at least what you will see will be gorgeous and if you have the option of getting this on Starz HD, I highly recommend it so you can see all the gooey goodness (I’m referring to the blood) in it’s HD glory.
Anybody else check this show out? What did you think? Talkback below!