Goran Visnijic really isn't up to carrying a movie, and when you're
playing a strong role like Spartacus, you need to do more than brood.
The storyline was much better than the theatrical version starring Kirk
Douglas. If it only had the budget of that version, it would have been
much better. This story is a spectacle, and it needs to be told with a
cast of thousands. Still, it had shockingly real moments and avoided
the platitudes and preachiness of its 1960 counterpart. The film's
strongest point was that it closely followed "The True Story of
Spartacus", as shown on the History Channel. It was made for television
and had to stay within a small budget, but they did convey the struggle
accurately, but lacking the drama of a true historical epic. The story
of Spartacus is one that needs to be told on a grand scale. This
version had its moments, but cried out for stronger characters and a
bigger budget. It was more brutally honest than the Kirk Douglas
version, but it ultimately came off as a rough draft rather than the
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Goran Visnjic delivers a compelling and convincing performance as
and in my opinion no one could have done it better. As Ebert and Roeper
said recently in their review of another movie "not only is he (Goran
Visnjic) a handsome leading man but a great actor." The History channel
aired a history of "The Real Spartacus" shortly after the airing of the
series. The mini series followed the history fairly accurately. Without
giving anything away as to the plot (for those who haven't yet seen it)
of the differences between the history and the mini series is in the scene
where Spartacus is given a horse as a gift from his men. Spartacus sets
horse free and says he wishes to be on foot as an equal -- if they win
will all have horses and if they lose they'll have no need for them. In
history of "The Real Spartacus" he supposedly takes out his sword and
the hore instead of setting it free. That kind of change I can live with.
I hope there will be a DVD release soon..