Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday) recasts the sword-and-sandal epic as a modern DC Comic in this tale of a British soldier’s enslavement, escape, and engagement in “guerrilla warfare,” circa 117 A.D. Marshall can’t pass up a disemboweling or a strained confrontation, and one or the other arrives about every five minutes–along with plenty of battle scenes, torture, and helicopter shots. But he uses these elements so kinetically that the action has a compelling pictorial quality no matter how stupid it becomes as narrative. There’s little here about soldiers and mercenaries that isn’t lifted from other movies, though Marshall elicits a steady seriousness from his actors (especially Michael Fassbender, in an introverted lead performance), which generally keeps the movie from sliding into camp. Auteur cinema of a very narrow stripe, this personalizes a familiar genre to advance a singularly pessimistic view of humanity.