The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the Bets Picture winners, 2000’s Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. I wish I could say somewhere in a box my movie ticket stub is still there; however, I lost a massive amount of tickets long ago, and Gladiator would be one of them.
My hometown had a two-screen theatre which recently got torn down due to a fire about a decade ago. I recall watching Gladiator on the big screen and being amazed by the special effects of Ancient Rome. I was a sucker for the emotion in the story and the plot for revenge at all costs. I also admired Maximus’ (Crowe) fighting abilities and the fact he didn’t care if he lived or died.
The world was a totally different place back in those days. Most orders got carried out by word of mouth, and there was no such thing as Twitter relying on messages. When Maximus is handpicked to be the next Caesar of Rome, Commodus (Phoenix) orders him killed and his family. After finding his loved ones slaughtered, Maximus is taken in and thrown to the wolves as a gladiator.
There is bloodshed, some pretty awesome gory kills, and a boatload of carnage inside colosseums across the Roman Empire. Maximus makes his way to the big time and several faces to face encounters with Commodus is now the Caesar. The animosity between the two is legendary and worthy of such an epic masterpiece of storytelling.
There will be a thousand people who say this movie is nothing but predictable from start to finish. They may even complain about the characters and their development. Some may even argue that the way the Roman Empire is depicted in the story is inaccurate. These are the same people who don’t see how entertaining the battle sequences were, how ruthless the bad guy really was, and how inspiring it was for our main character to escape death time and time again to make the universe right again.
I’m a sucker for these types of films. Films jammed packed with emotion and action. One that has a main character you can get behind, flaws and all. Crowe has had a very distinguished film career and has been a part of many special projects. Gladiator will always be one of his best performances. 9/10