300: Rise of an Empire 3D review

It's more of the same from Snyder's swords 'n' sandals franchise - so great news for AV-hedz!

Arriving eight years after Zack Snyder's surprise box office hit, Noam Munro's 300: Rise of an Empire serves as not only prequel and sequel to that film, but also a 'side-quel' depicting another battle that took place while the Spartans clashed with Persian forces at Thermopylae. As such, the focus of the film shifts to Athenian warrior Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton), who leads the relatively small Grecian navy against the might of Persian warships led by the ferocious Artemisia (Eva Green).

If this all sounds a little reminiscent of the first flick, that's because it is. 300: Rise of an Empire really is just more of the same – right down to Munro aping every element of Snyder's exaggerated comic book aesthetic. Which is, no doubt, great news for fans.

However, other viewers may find it harder to get past the repetitive visual trickery (so much slo-mo!), gigglesome homoeroticism (not helped by the least convincing sex scene you'll ever watch) and downright dodgy sexual politics (there's not a woman in sight who hasn't been raped at some point in the franchise). In other words, 300: Rise of an Empire is the very definition of big dumb filmmaking – but at least it frequently leads to spectacular material to feed your home cinema…

Picture: The Blu-ray's stereoscopic MVC-encoded 2.40:1 1080p transfer is absolutely gorgeous. The complete fidelity to the film's heavily-stylised gold- and blue-hued imagery means that it rarely appears razor-sharp, but that's how it's supposed to look. Otherwise, blacks are invitingly deep, contrast is spot-on and the 3D is employed convincingly throughout to give an even greater sense of scale and spectacle to the action sequences.

The 2D AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode (presented on a separate platter) looks even more refined, with a notable uptick in brightness over the 3D version – although some of the more frantic fight scenes appear a little more cluttered in this version, lacking the clean sense of separation inherent in the stereoscopic encode.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: The film's DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix offers a tour de force of bone-crunching bass and furious surround effects that really brings the battles to life. Directionality and panning are particularly impressive, a healthy dynamic range is maintained and – somehow – despite all of the clanging swords, the dialogue never gets lost.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: As well as the film, the 2D platter offers up eight enjoyable bonus features. The best and most substantial of these is the 23-minute Real Leaders & Legends, which explores the historical events behind the story in a surprising amount of depth.

Others include four behind-the-scenes featurettes (3 Days in Hell, Brutal Artistry, A New Breed of Hero and Taking the Battle to Sea), plus further videos about woman warriors in the film and in history, the warships and the physical training the actors had to go through.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: Impressive 3D visuals and a barnstorming 7.1 mix make for a bloody good home cinema experience

300: Rise of an Empire 3D, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £28 Approx