If you’re having trouble sleeping, allow me to recommend the perfect remedy. Set far back in 140 A.D., The Eagle is a mind-numbing war-and-redemption saga that stars Channing Tatum as Marcus Aquila, a brave soldier with the Roman army in Britain, who’s been wearing a cloak of paternal shame. His father was a commander of the 5,000 men of Rome’s Ninth Legion, which went missing while invading what is now Scotland, and also lost a prized gold eagle emblem of the regiment. Determined to restore his family name, Marcus persuades his slave Esca (played by Billy Elliot’s Jamie Bell) to accompany him north to find the eagle and to figure out what happened to his father.
Never as compelling as Gladiator or Braveheart, and packed with way too much dialogue than is necessary for an action film, The Eagle is slow-paced and seriously boring. It takes so long for the hero’s journey to actually begin that your patience runs out early on; and till the end you can’t fathom why the Roman soldiers speak in American accents.
On one level The Eagle might be described as a buddy movie, with Marcus and Esca’s relationship going from uneasy to one of mutual affection and respect. But even that track unravels so predictably, there’s little fun to be had. Apart from a few bone-crunching fight scenes with strange tribes encountered along the way, there is nothing even remotely engaging here.
I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for The Eagle. This bird doesn’t fly!