If there is a genre I hate above all genres, it’s probably those awful sword and sandal toga-fest pics that were everywhere during the early 60’s. Usually the first rule of these movies is if it doesn’t have Steve Reeves in it, it’s gonna suck and the second rule is if it was made in Italy then it’s REALLY gonna suck. Carthage in Flames in unique because it falls under the dreaded third rule: It doesn’t have Steve Reeves AND it was made in Italy.
We’re talking serious turd burger here.
So the plot has the Carthage Senate doing a lot of jaw jabbering about whether or not they should battle an onslaught of Roman soldiers who are looking to invade Carthage. Of course they DO decide to go to war with Rome, which is fortunate because if they didn’t, we wouldn’t have a movie. Then some Carthage soldiers rescue themselves a beautiful princess and then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… HUH? What’s going on? Whoa, some dude’s getting his face burned off. Now there’s… some more romancing of that princess chick and… the one guy is… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…. Okay, I’m awake now. Alright, now there’s some more half assed Roman Empire C-SPAN stuff going on. Umm… some more crappy Roman romance… some halfway… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… whoa, now there’s a whole bunch of motherfuckers in togas slapping the shit out of each other with cardboard swords. Okay, I can get behind some of this…. Damn, the fighting didn’t last too long, that sucks. Now everybody’s talking about this dude named Skippy-O who wants to kill all the Carthaginians and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… Wait, Carthage is in flames! Talk about truth in advertising! Which can only mean… yes, it’s over!
Well, 300 it is not.
From what I didn’t doze off on, it seemed like there were some pretty decent sets and a handful of adequately mounted action sequences (the assault on a massive Roman warship was one of the few things in the film that didn’t put me to sleep), but the atrocious dubbing, non-existent pacing and inane acting really sinks it.
Italian exploitation movie legend Terence (the Trinity series) Hill is in the cast, but to be perfectly honest with you, all them toga toting Italians all looked the same to me. That’s not a knock against Italians in general, just the ones that are in this movie.