In Kevin MacDonald's sword-and-sandal drama, 'The Eagle,' Channing Tatum (as centurion Marcus Aquila) trudges through the mud from the edges of the Roman Empire into the land that will one day be Great Britain. It's a grueling journey, and while the film isn't quite as difficult to finish as Marcus's quest to retrieve his father's 9th Legion golden eagle standard, it's not a cakewalk either.
There's not a sharp clarity of purpose in 'The Eagle.' For a bit, 'The Eagle' looks like a rousing B-movie, one with Tatum miscast, but game, in a role that might stretch his resume beyond that of a dancing G.I. Joe. He speaks with the same affected, mushy accent that Hollywood actors use in period pieces when they can't do British (think Brad Pitt in 'Troy'), but the man is doing his damnedest to be a convincing period hero here. He's working to the best of his own abilities in a movie that consistently lets him (and the audience) down.