I'm always suspicious of one-star reviews. It sounds like somebody has an axe to grind. I read some negative reviews about this movie but I bought it anyway. (Used, fortunately, at a low price.) Well. A one-star movie this definitely is. It has "made-for-TV" and "low-budget" written all over it. The sets vary in quality from pretty good to really bad (a Roman camp looks kind of like a corrugated pole barn without a roof). The acting is wooden, to put it mildly. But the really bad part is the script. It's about ninety percent speeches. By that I mean that everything everyone says is a stock cliche, like "The greatness of Rome is more important than the greatness of our family!" At no point does anyone say anything unexpected or funny or interesting or striking. Cliched speech after cliched speech.
Another really unpleasant thing about this movie is the painfully obvious way that all of the sound was re-done after the filming. It always seems like you're watching a movie whose images are disconnected from the sound. And the sound effects are relentlessly bad. When troops are digging, there is a perfectly rhythmic clinking sound. When small children are playing, they simply keep saying, "Yay! Yay! Yay!" When Augustus has a cough, boy does he have a cough. It's hard to put this into words, but if you see the movie, you'll know what I mean. Plus, throughout the movie there is a symphonic score playing, vague and repetitive and not at all interesting, sounding suspiciously like the kind of symphonic soundtrack you'd hear while playing a computer game about Rome.
At least a game lets you turn the music off!
It's the awful, clunking script, along with the awful, clunking soundtrack, that really doom this movie. It's hard to say whether the actors are really as bad as they seem, or if they were in a hopeless situation.
I watched about two-thirds of this monstrosity before I finally gave up. I kept hoping there would be at least a few scenes that would relieve the tedium.