A bunch of weak-willed Pompeiians, evil Roman snoots and innocent lovers are in for it.
Vesuvius, their executioner, sits above the town, contemplating the right moment to lava-drown the entire joint after some introductory volleys of giant earthquakes and meteor-like fireballs. It waits and watches, gearing up to dispense retribution for their collective sin, hubris and lack of respect for rich-girl/poor-boy romances. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s necessarily a virtue-minded volcano; it showers its liquid death-rock on the just and the unjust; it ain’t here to make friends. And in Pompeii, a giant, stinky bacon-cheeseburger of grand-scale 3D garbage-tainment, when the camera lingers on Vesuvius’ rumbling prelude, you’ll wish hacky auteur Paul W.S. Anderson would have just gone ahead and fully anthropomorphized it, given it a working mouth and allowed it some dialogue: “WHAT’S UP? VESUVIUS HERE. I’M FIXIN’ TO KILL ALL OF YOU. IT’S GOING TO BE GREAT. FOR ME, AT LEAST.”
Milo (Game of Thrones star Kit Harington), a Celt slave, is sent to Pompeii to be part of a fight-to-the-death Olympics, where he’ll be pitted against champion brawler Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) when not busy being ogled by effeminate fight organizer Graecus (Joe Pingue, serving pursed lips, curly forelock and limp wrist like an old-school exploitation pro) or getting groped for cash by rich Pompeii ladies. But along the way Milo helps Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of Pompeii’s richest family, put down her injured horse. Blank-stare love blooms. “WHATEVER,” yawns Vesuvius, belching a little practice smoke, “STILL GONNA FILL YOUR LUNGS WITH FIVE BILLION DEGREE VOLCANO PUDDING.”
Cassia’s father (Jared Harris) needs a cash infusion from Rome so he allows extreme villain Corvus (Keifer Sutherland, wearing Liberace capes and acting like Scar from The Lion King) to bully the family into giving him Cassia as a lawfully wedded sex toy, but not before Cassia gets on a big sturdy metaphor-stallion with Milo – who is not only a valiant warrior but an animal tamer so talented that all he has to do is stare lovingly into the creature’s eyes and it offers its most docile self up to him -- and rides off into the fields for some chaste kissing. Anything more and Mr. V would seriously blow his top. “GET IT NOW. I’M ALREADY BORED WITH KISSYFACE,” zings You Know Who.
When Corvus is ready to claim his prize and announces, “I think the wedding should be in Rome!” that’s when our hero finally bellows, “I THINK NOT,” and eruptions all over everybody. There’s some chasing and fighting and revenge, declarations of freedom, truth, beauty and love, a variety of entertaining neckstabs and, finally, the doom you’ve paid a budget-matinee-ticket amount of money to witness. And it doesn't make you wait forever for it, which is considerate. You will have an excellent time cheering on the death every-friggin-body and their subsequent contributions to the science of archeology.