Rated 4.0

Based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, the same man behind the highly acclaimed comic-turned-film Sin City, 300 is about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., and is stylized in much the same way as Sin City. The blood (and there’s lots of it) splatters and the rain falls as if on a page. And somehow that transforms otherwise horrific images into something almost beautiful. The better part of the movie is spent in battle between Sparta’s King Leonidas and his 300 troops and “god king” Xerxes and his more than 100,000 Persian soldiers. In fact, had director/screenwriter Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead) not expanded the plotline to include more of Gorgo, the queen of Sparta, the entire movie would have been more or less a series of battle scenes. It gets a bit tiresome, really, watching Leonidas (Scottish actor Gerard Butler) and his well-chiseled crew fight wave after wave of Xerxes’ men. But their passion is unwavering—they were, after all, born to fight. What makes this a good film is the editing, the stylization. Without it, the fighting scenes would be too long and the Spartans’ battle cries might seem more silly than valiant.