300

Enjoyable macho action that's basically one very long, very crunchy fight scene. Not sure how historically accurate any of this is, but it's the story of 300 buff sixpack Spartans fending off some extras from the dark hordes of Lord Of The Rings (aka Persia).

Based on the Frank Miller graphic novel, it's shot in a similar style to Sin City, and employs the same washed-out digital grainy aesthetic. It's also got the same slim connection to reality - this is heightened everything, everywhere. They shout SPAAAAAAAAAAARTAAAA as often as possible, and make a proto-fascist case for sticking together with your friends and family (as long as they're not born deformed, in which case it's prudent to chuck them out of town asap).

Gerard Butler is the superbuff Spartan leader. He's been the Phantom in The Phantom Of The Opera, Dracula in Dracula 2000 and Attila the Hun in Attila so he's obviously into his historical roles. Lena Headey is the rather unelegantly named Queen Gorgo keeping the Spartan home fires spartan. Weirdest casting for Chimpomatic readers will be The Wire's Dominic West - yes, if you've ever wondered what good po-lice McNulty would look like with long hair and his shirt off, here's your chance.

It's all pretty silly - and vaguely offensive in its depection of the Persians as a horde of unreconstructed "Others" - but carried off with a kind of unpretentious conviction: it sets out to make a crunchy bloodthirsty action blowout, and it succeeds. It's also told from a "here's a story about a legend" perspective, and doesn't really pretend to be anything like a historically accurate account. Apparently they borrowed some swords and stuff from Troy, but it's nowhere near as boring.