600: Rise of My Blood Pressure

300 rise of an empire
White power!

Okay, last I checked the Spartans didn’t have an empire. They were some bad ass warriors, no doubt, but they didn’t have an empire. Anyway, 300 Part 2 (or 600), was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life. Historical accuracy is one thing movies are always short on, but this one was quite honestly pulling shit out of its ass like no one’s business.

Honestly, the movie is so insulting on so many levels that I really can’t understand how or why it was made. First, the constant droning on about how the Greeks were all free men was just sickening. It kept making me think of George Dubya and all the news shows post-9/11 about how every terrorist (read “brown person”… whether from the Middle East or from South or Central America) hated the freedoms provided by America to Americans. Which, of course, really means nothing; it’s just useless buzzwords there to make you feel good about yourself without really giving a reason as to why you should. The terrorists who were involved in 9/11 did so because of the freedom Americans had taken away from their people and their homeland (at least that’s what they believed), not for what freedom that America’s Constitution and laws provide to citizens. In 600, it was established early on that the Persians wanted to expand their Empire and wanted revenge on the Greeks for killing their king. But because writers in Hollywood think that people are stupid, we are meant to believe that the Persians apparently hated the Greeks’ freedom and the Persian army was filled with slaves.

Apparently, the Greeks didn’t believe in slavery. Oh wait, they totally did. In fact, there was no penalty to kill slaves in Sparta. Young Spartans carried knives and killed slaves willy fucking nilly. The Athenian, Critias, best described the situation in Sparta: “The free were more free, and the slaves more fully slaves than elsewhere.” But apparently, because they are white, half naked, waxed and muscled men, they were totally free because they said so. Just like America pre-Emancipation Proclamation, where all white men were free, never mind the slaves. Slaves in Athens, though, were better treated; their testimonies in court were only accepted under torture, they couldn’t own property, and had to pay their fines in lashes as opposed to currency. They were accorded rights, though; they could save up to purchase their freedom, and were treated more like a family pet as opposed to the cruelty of, say, a plantation owner.


Now let’s look at the Persians. They are a melting pot of culture and equality. They showed the cities of the Persians and they were impressive structures, which seemed to depict many cultures as opposed to one all great and supreme white culture. Their naval commander was a woman. In fact, a Greek prisoner of war mocked them for being led by a woman and they were all like… that bitch is badass… nobody gonna fuck with her. Also, the Persians didn’t really have that many slaves. In fact, their army was not really full of slaves but of free soldiers from 47(!), or more, ethnic groups. If anything, the Greeks were the Nazis and the Persians were the Allies.

Okay, so on with the movie. I won’t give you a play-by-play but will rather focus on the things that irked me—and by “irked” I mean “had me debating whether to get up and walk out of the theatre or not.” First, the Greeks claimed a great victory over the Persians in the beginning because they attacked them when they weren’t ready. In that first and only decisive battle the Greeks drove away the Persians. The main character (“Thermos” or something like that) kills the Persian Emperor and the son vows revenge.

Wait, I forgot to mention one important part of this movie. Everything was in slow motion and 360 camera panning. No joke. Everything. Every fucking thing. Each swing of the sword: slow motion. Each drop of blood spurting: slow motion. Each leap and bound: slow motion. Each hack and slash. Slow goddamn motherfucking motion.   You know what’s cool in slow motion. Club scenes. Gun fights. Action replays in sports. Not fucking sword fights. That’s better if you speed shit up. You know why we love kung fu movies? Cause those guys are fast and can do what you do at normal speed but super frikkin fast. The first time I ever saw Jet Li in a movie was Lethal Weapon 4 (yes, I know I shouldn’t admit something like that, but it’s the truth; I was a late bloomer) and I was amazed at how fast he was. The movie was okay, but Jet Li stuck in my head as to the skill of this cat. Everyone else was moving at regular speed around him, but he…he was like on fast forward or something. And that was awesome. Now if they slowed him down then they’d have to slow everyone else down and it would be super fucking lame, which is what 600 ended up being. Also, it was more of the same. Hack! Slash! Jump! Repeat! Ugh.

So the Persians are planning a revenge visit, and we’re introduced to the traitor. A “hot” evil Greek woman (read: pasty white skin and likes to wear black) who kicks ass and takes names. She’s helping the Persians exact revenge on the Greeks for killing their Emperor, and for herself too because apparently the jolly good Greeks raped and killed her family, and then sold her into sex slavery for years and then left her for dead. Go Greeks! She becomes some super warrior in Persia and a leader of its army. She seems to be favored by the emperor, but we’re not given any particular background to that, nor are we given any foreground. She convinces the new king to go on some journey, where he becomes a God King (all smoothed and waxed like the Greeks, but not white. Just not white)—which was his apparent downfall because of some “evil” power. Nothing explained how or why, and what “powers” it gave him, just that it was evil and we’re supposed accept that. So he decides to attack. He attacks Leonidas “Sparta,” king of Sparta and his Spartan troops all from Sparta, because they didn’t let us know enough that they were from Sparta enough in the first movie.

This movie, however, has little to do with Sparta and Spartans, but more to do with Athens and Thermos fighting the Persians at the other front. They do so, with guile and cunning and the fact that they are white and the Persians are dirty brown people. In fact the two battles that the Persian generals lead are complete failures and disasters, where the Persians get fucking slaughtered. But then, then enters the traitor chick who leads the Persians in the third battle and looky looky…who wins? The fucking Persians, led by their very GREEK and very white commander. They fuck some shit up. And Thermos survives a suicide bomber (yeah, suicide bomber) who blows up like 10 feet away from him. After that battle, they retreat back to somewhere (I stopped paying attention really).   And in between, Thermos bangs the traitor, because that’s what happens in real life. She wanted him to fight for her, and instead of promising and teasing, she totally bangs him and then when he’s done he’s like…No…thanks…I’m gonna fight for “Greece” (which again, totally didn’t exist, only city-states did).

How fucking retarded is that? Why didn’t they just kill him then? I mean, if they were supposed to be evil and cruel, then decapitate the guy, send his head back to the Greeks and boom. Morale down. But no, he’s let back to let loose the dogs of war. Also, I love women. I do. And I would like to think that this woman being portrayed as an equal of men on the battlefield and with a history of being abused to no end would have more sense than to give up the goods before getting what she wants. Especially with her history of abuse! I guess because he’s white, he’s irresistible……..and free. We all want to be free, and if we can’t be free, we wanna bang freedom.

Then there is the final battle. Where the entire Persian fleet is gonna attack the Greek fleet (sans Sparta because the Spartans are all assholes and drama queens) and they fight. Thermos asks his number 2 if his “secret weapon” is hidden in the deck below, to which the response is affirmative. The Greek warriors are better and stronger than the Persians, except the Persian elite force which kicks some small amount of ass.   What really turns the tide of the battle is when Thermos pulls out that secret weapon from below the decks. What is it you ask? It’s a fucking horse. One. Fucking. Horse. He rides it … to glory? And the horse has perfect balance and doesn’t lose its grip on the wet deck and can leap from ship to ship while Thermos slashes and hacks at people.

Then there is the ho hum scene (the big, “awesome” fight between the two bosses) where the traitor fights Thermos, makes a quip about how he fights harder than he fucks and then he kills her all dramatic and shit. And then the Spartans show up, in the nick of time with their queen leading (in literally her Sunday best) and start hacking and slashing. The. Fucking. End.

Let me add something here. Frank Miller has written some great comics. Frank Miller has also written some really shitty and really uncool comics too. On the plus side there is The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Year One, and Sin City. On the other, less deserving of praise, side there is The Dark Knight Strikes Again and this shite. And the reason why The Dark Knight Strikes Again was shit is because there is this really horrible pedophilic tone to the comic that is just unnerving and gross. And 300 was just purely racist propaganda for the Nazi party. White is right. Everything else is wrong. And the fact that we accept this and pay to see movies that make us stupider and feel that white people are better than “ethnic” folks just horrifies me.

Guest film critic Omar Mazhar is a writer based in Karachi, Pakistan.