Spar­ta­cus: War of the Damned

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Thurs­day, 9.30pm, Show­case My good­ness, this pro­gram has grown bold. Once con­tent to cast Ki­wis as half-naked gla­di­a­tors train­ing bru­tally for the arena and for the oblig­a­tory can­dlelit sex, this de­but of the third sea­son fea­tures more blood than Dex­ter, more CGI crowd scenes than Ter­mi­na­tor: Sal­va­tion and more bat­tle scenes with horses than Rus­sell Crowe dreamed of in Glad­i­a­tor. I sup­pose there is a plot in there some­where, but War of the Damned so dis­tracts us with epic bouts, blood spurt­ing from sev­ered limbs, and hunks and maid­ens get­ting down that it hardly seem to mat­ter. The lan­guage con­tin­ues to be a hoot, with pre­ten­tious faux-Ital­ian word or­der and lu­di­crous lyri­cism. ‘‘ With each pass­ing sun, hun­dreds of slaves break bond to join our course,’’ says a war­rior in thigh-high boots, a cloth cod­piece and a sleeve­less hair­shirt. ‘‘ You af­forded your­self well upon the field this day,’’ says an­other to his male lover. ‘‘ You stand sur­prised,’’ he replies. Well, that makes two of us.

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