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“SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED” (Blu-ray Review)

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All great things must eventually fade into darkness – even if we long for more.

However, sometimes our favorite things end on a high note, and SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED does just that. Season three is the epic and inevitable end. After two successful seasons and a six-part mini-prequel, the Sam Raimi-produced Starz original series sadly reaches the cataclysmic climax, as we knew it would – but does it have to?  With the timely WAR OF THE DAMNED three disc Blu-ray and DVD release that hit shelves on September 3rd, the answer is a hands-down NO!

That’s right…relive the entire season in fabulous HD…embrace the mythos! Revisit all 10 glorious episodes and Bonus Features.  Join Spartacus and the freed slaves as they square off against the Roman hordes, led this time by the brilliant and merciless Marcus Licinius Crassus (stunningly portrayed by Simon Merrells).  Additionally, Rome has dispatched the cunning and ambitious Gaius Julius Caesar (Todd Lasance), who takes advantage of Crassus’ campaign against Spartacus to plot his eventual rise to power.

Spartacus (Liam McIntyre), Crixus (Manu Bennett), Gannicus (Dustin Clare) and Naevia (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) prepare for war, going toe-to-toe with Rome in one bloody battle after another until the final showdown, a blood-drenched climax the likes of which the Gods themselves have only dreamed. The stage has been set and fate will decide the victors and spawn legends.  If that wasn’t tantalizing and epic enough, WAR OF THE DAMNED – like the preceding seasons – is a smorgasbord of blood and guts, beautifully imagined and executed to thrill any skeptic or horror hound.  The sex…the sex is boundary pushing and exquisite; often combined with the gore in beautiful ways, and treated in such a way that it almost becomes a character itself. Having said that, this is stylistic tool, and the series isn’t bogged down in such things; it is merely the icing. The acting is refined and the ongoing story is compelling – the key to the series’ success as a whole.

The SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED three disc set has plenty to offer; the picture quality is pure eye-candy, and as with the previous Blu-ray and DVD sets, Starz crams in hours of bonus features – a plethora of tantalizing treats sure to quench the gluttony of the entire Roman Senate.  The Blu-ray edition offers even more bang for the buck, including extended episodes and wonderful commentary not featured on the DVD version. Both editions boast a generous helping of entertaining and informative documentaries such as SPARTACUS: THE LEGEND RETOLD; THE PRICE OF BEING A GLADIATOR; A BLOODY FAREWELL; THE SPOILS OF WAR REVEALED: VISUAL EFFECTS; ADORNING THE DAMNED and THE MIND BEHIND SPARTACUS.

Both versions are now available, so strap on those sandals, and sharpen those blades – SPARTACUS: WAR OF THE DAMNED will deliver. And yes, the streets of Rome will run red, you can bank on that!

 

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About the author
John Nicol
John Nicol is a Media Arts graduate and has spent his entire life immersed in films. After several years of writing screenplays, collaborating on other people’s films and making festival-screened shorts, he wrote, directed and produced his own indie feature called CHANNEL ZERO – a metaphysical picture that blends elements of 28 DAYS LATER and TRAINSPOTTING with his own personal obsessions. John has been a contributing writer for FANGORIA since 2011 and is responsible for FANGORIA's recurring Halloween party in Toronto, Canada.
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