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Reviewer grade: B-

If you've been waiting for a realistic movie on the Battle of Thermopylae, keep waiting. If you want one that's all thud and blunder, with eye-popping CGI and exhilarating fight choreography, and you don't care a damn about dialogue or reasonable motivation, welcome to Sparta.
Director Zack Snyder follows up his feature debut "Dawn of the Dead" with this effects-a-palooza that's a throwback to the glory days of Italian peblum films "? aka "swords and sandals" along the lines of "Hercules in the Haunted World." There's a lot of chest-thumping in this story of 300 Spartans holding off the Persian army of Xerxes "? think of it as a Mediterranean Alamo "? but the picture scores zero on the subtle-o-meter. It's based on Frank Miller's graphic novel and if the "Spider-Man" franchise turns a comic into a movie, this picture turns a movie into a comic. R

"?Doug Bentin   

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