Centurion Neil Marshall

Centurion Neil Marshall
Neil "Kill-shot" Marshal has earned the nickname with Centurion. Measured in gore-tastic kills-per-minute, the mad Scotsman behind Dog Soldiers, The Decent and Doomsday may have set a new record with his latest under-seen genre foray. While not strictly a horror film, Centurion is plenty horrific. Quintas Dias (Michael Fassbender, Inglorious Basatards), the lone survivor of a brutal raid on a Roman fort by savage tribal warriors the Picts, escapes just long enough to get caught up in a suicide mission mounted by General Virilus' Ninth Legion to wipe out his former captors. Virilus is a hard drinking, and fighting, general of the people, embodied with bawdy swagger and dashing charm by The Wire's Dominic West. The strength of his and Fassbender's performances, not to mention the menacing silent presence of Olga Kurylenko's tongue-less Pict tracker, Etain, help elevate Centurion above the expectations of a pretty much direct to DVD release. It also helps that Neil Marshal can shoot the shit out of a small budget. He lovingly sweeps over the glorious forests and mountains of Scotland, a blue filter driving home the bone chilling cold of the snowy landscape. The stunning fireball ambush that sets the primary action into motion is well documented in a great behind-the-scenes feature. Expecting some form of cinematic trickery, it's awesome to see a bunch of guys decked out in armour take the hit from actual giant, rolling balls of fire. A cameraman almost shits himself dodging out of the way of a head-on shot. Other features include a redundant featurette, interviews with the cast and crew, including some good background info on the legend of the Ninth Legion Centurion is based on, deleted scenes with explanations from Marshal (he cut with a less conventional, harsher tone in mind), outtakes, B-roll footage and a production design gallery. Playing a Centurion drinking game crossed my mind, but if I tried to keep up with "Kill-shot," I'd end up lying in a pool of my own gore. (eOne)