Gerard Butler plays Attila, the King of the Huns, in this epic historical adventure. Attila has a vision for his people, that they can move beyond plundering and extorting their neighbours, and build an empire of their own. He subsequently begins a campaign which sees his army go from strength to strength, but the Roman General Flavius Aetius (Powers Boothe) is deteremined that Rome must continue to rule the world, and does everything in his power to prevent Atilla from realising his dream.
Straight out of the American television movie school of historical thought, Attila the Hun
is a glossy, at times long and often ridiculous re-telling of one of the great stories of Ancient Rome. How much of it is historically accurate is debatable--much of the action is ludicrously far fetched--and the image that most of us have of Attila is quite different to the bare-chested, longhaired reject from an 80s soft rock band that is presented here.
The film does have its own slightly warped charm, though. The storyline is surprisingly complex, involving plots and counter plots, and the movie does exhibit a sense of epic somewhat in the vein of Gladiator, but is sadly lacking the budget, style or talent. The acting is awful (as befits anything that stars Steven Berkoff) and reduces the political machinations of Rome to little more than Dynasty in togas. Gerrard Butler is a fine actor--as he proved in the recent TV drama The Jury--but is woeful here, delivering his lines in a bizarre trans-Atlantic Scottish accent. At three hours it's way too long, too. There does remain something strangely compelling about Atilla the Hun, though you'll find more reliable facts about Roman history in an Asterix book. --Phil Udell
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.