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Actually, we were sitting in another theatre, waiting for another movie to start, and Dad found a guy who thought Gladiator was a great movie. This movie patron even protested that Gladiator was not a "guy movie". "I think I women would like 'Gladiator'," were his specific words. Then Dad reminded me that Gladiator was doing quite well in theatres, and I, as a movie critic, really should see it. Thus, I went to see Gladiator.
Hey, I gave this movie a fair chance - I really did. I don't review movies based on preconceived expectations. But it turns out I was right - Gladiator is a monotonous, uninteresting drama.
The story takes place several centuries ago. Russell Crowe plays Maximus, a Roman general. The Caesar wants Maximus to take over as Caesar after the former's soon-approaching death. But the Caesar's son wants to be Caesar, so he murders his father, then orders that Maximus be killed as well.
Maximus escapes, but doesn't arrive home in time to prevent Roman soldiers from murdering his family. Grief-stricken and physically wounded, he somehow ends up being abducted and sold into slavery. Eventually, he becomes a gladiator - he and several other men try to kill each other in order to entertain the crowd. Few gladiators survive long. (And they say the entertainment industry today is too violent!) Maximus hopes that he will have the chance to seek revenge against the Caesar.
Gladiator's weak plot and bland characters didn't interest me for long. Obviously, the budget for this movie wasted a lot of money on special effects that don't even look convincing. In one scene, a severed head that doesn't look even remotely real is displayed. (It looked like a cheesy prop or mask you could buy in a Halloween costume store for about five bucks.)
Unless you're fascinated by movies about gladiators, or you really enjoy action films, I don't recommend Gladiator.