The action oriented adventure The Eagle entertains, but overly dramatic acting takes the punch out of it. The simple quest storyline embedded in many other films like The 13th Warrior and Alexander makes this film a want-to-see by youngsters, especially since the trailer hypes the action in the film.
The story follows a Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) who goes to Britain on a quest to clear his father’s name and bring honor to the family. Twenty years earlier, Flavius Aquila lead 5000 men of the Ninth Legion into a battle north of the Hadrian Wall and was never heard of again. The Aquila name was admonished and labled with the loss of the golden emblem the Legion carried. In an attempt to find what happened to the Legion and bring back the emblem to restore honor Marcus, along with his slave Esca (Jamie Bell), goes into the most savage part of Britain not knowing what his fate may be.
The plot is actually pretty good, but the over dramatic acting, unbearable dialogue and impossible escapes lower the entertainment value of the film. I am completely surprised that director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) would entertain doing such a perfunctory script. I do admit that there are moments of grandeur, but they fade easily with for example the naiveté of the fierce Seal Prince (Tahar Rahim) who accepts Marcus’s slave Esca without doubts. There are more unrealistic incidents that make the film go from good to bad repeatedly.
Seeing the bulked up Tatum in this role gave me a flash back at some of his better films like Fighting and Step-up. His ability to carry over the strong personality was somewhat watered down by the ludicrous prose he had to spout to his brutal enemy. There were some moments I thought I was watching Sylvester Stallone as Rambo.
The film is rated PG-13 for battle sequences and some disturbing images. The demographic that may possibly like the film are male teens to early 20’s who play a lot of video games.