The Eagle
Donald, I’m just not sure my jaw is square enough.

Theatrical Release Date: 02/11/2011
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Cast: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong
Rated: PG-13 for battle sequences and some disturbing images.
Runtime: 1 hour, 54 minutes


No Tatum, I can’t tell the difference between you and that wall.

To my great amazement (turn on sarcasm meters now), Channing Tatum is playing a soldier in director Kevin Macdonald’s film, “The Eagle”. He almost never plays someone in the military … ugh.

In any case, the premise here is that Tatum is trying to regain his family’s honor. His father was the commander of the fabled Ninth Legion, whose 5,000 men went missing and were presumed killed by the tribes of Northern Britain fighting for their independence from the advancing Roman Empire. If this sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because this particular legion’s story was told in last year’s “Centurion“.

Thankfully, this isn’t the exact same tale, more like a continuation of it. Tatum’s quest is to recover the golden eagle that was a symbol of Rome’s honor and went missing along with the Ninth Legion. He enlists the help of a newly acquired British slave (Jamie Bell) and takes off north of Hadrian’s Wall to find the eagle.

I understand the notion of being interested in the story of the Ninth Legion. I even understand the notion of being interested in how a son tries to erase the shame brought on the family name by his father (I love “Top Gun” just like everyone else). However, the manner in which both stories are told simply fails to make undergoing the cinematic experience worthwhile.

Much like “Centurion”, the action here is nothing special and fails to stir the testosterone in my body. Then there’s the significantly long stretches of watching Tatum struggle with an accent, Bell struggle with a less talented acting partner, and the pair of them struggle with an uninspired script. Donald Sutherland even gets thrown into the mix but he exerts himself no more than necessary and probably only agreed to be in this in order to add another film to his list (I wonder if he and Michael Caine have some sort of bet going; Gene Hackman seems to have called it quits but these two are still going strong).

Really, the biggest surprise is that this movie didn’t get a January release along with the rest of the schlock … but then again, February doesn’t tend to fare much better when it comes to studios dumping films in the hope the sparse cinematic landscape means an easier time earning box office share.

Unless you’re president of the Channing Tatum fan club or a history professor looking to see if they got things right, I have no idea why anyone would want to see “The Eagle”. A 1.5 out of 5, it’s too boring to even be worth making fun of and definitely not worth the price of admission.

1.5 out of 5