Patrick Tatopoulos

Review: '300: Rise of an Empire' looks great but is weak in plot

As much performance art as movie, "300: Rise of an Empire" unfolds as beautiful, bloody, slow-motion machismo. Torsos bared, swords flashing, another 300 rock the leather skirts and loincloths with pounding, passionate music perfectly underscoring this latest round of the "beautiful death" the ancient Greeks were so poetic about.

Though it is hard to replicate the freshness of the first, "Rise" is almost as visually stunning as 2006's "300," when Gerard Butler as King Leonidas sacrificed Sparta's finest abs in a no-win battle against the Persian god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). This time, there is more to it than scantily clad men mud...