What do you get when Roman Centurions clash with mud caked tribal warriors in ancient England? One heck of a cleaning bill I’m sure. No amount of club soda is going to clean warrior blood off of a cotton tunic, believe you me.
Oh! You also get a movie called The Eagle.
The Eagle is a historical adventure film set in 140 AD, when everyone had to do what the Romans did because they pretty much owned the planet back then. Channing Tatum, an actor so wooden he weeps maple syrup stars as Marcus Aquila, a bright young Centurion guarding Rome’s border in Northern England from marauding bands of Englishman who want to free themselves of Roman oppression and farm their mud in peace.
Marcus is harboring a family secret. His Dad (also a Centurion) led a legion of troops into the same area twenty years earlier and were wiped out by a huge enemy force. This same battle plan was later used by General Custer in 1876 and Seperatist droid army in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Hoping to redeem his family name, Marcus sets out to find out what happened to the lost legion and hopefully recover the eagle standard they carried with them, which was made of solid gold and not milk chocolate wrapped in gold foil like some legions carried around.
What The Eagle lacks in action and excitement it makes up in the developing friendship between Marcus and his English slave Esca (Jamie Bell) who accompanies his master on his quest. He’s a Roman, he’s a servant. Can two mediaeval men share an adventure without driving each other crazy?
Marcus and Esca eventually find the eagle and battle a bloodthirsty tribe who walk around covered in a bluish gray mud that makes them look like the aliens in Avatar, but without the tails and the tree hugging crap. I don’t know how mud works as a form of battle dress. It’s not like it can stop an arrow. But on the plus side it probably made their skin feel invigorated and energized all day long!
At the risk of spoiling the ending of The Eagle for you, Channing Tatum defeats Northern England. Esca helped a little.