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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Action > Epic > War > Cable TV > Mini-Series > Spartacus: Vengeance (2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray Set)

Spartacus: Vengeance (2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray Set)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: A     Episodes: B



Starz’ action packed Spartacus series continues with this third season, this time picking up the story from the events that ended Season One’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand.  Due to the illness and subsequent tragic passing of titular star Andy Whitfield, Season Two’s Gods of the Arena comprised a prequel tale, describing just how the house of Batiatus ascended to its lead position as the greatest Ludus (gladiator stable) in all of Capua.  So season three opens with Liam McIntyre in the role of Spartacus, and while he does not possess quite the same physical presence as Mr. Whitfield, he does a superb job taking over the role.


The story picks up with Spartacus and his ragtag band of escaped gladiators and slaves on the run from Roman pursuers.  Action abounds from the very first frame, and viewers are quickly reminded that every episode of this series literally drips with blood.  Creator and writer Steven S. DeKnight and his troupe of talented directors make no bones about this.  They use blood and gore almost artfully, with a painterly style that transitions sometimes scenes and never lets the viewer forget the utter brutality of the times these characters inhabit.


While many folks might focus on the extreme violence in each episode, this third season features a cleverly crafted plot that offers more twists and turns than a labyrinth.  Lucy Lawless returns as the conniving Lucretia, widowed and horribly scarred (both physically and emotionally) in the wake of Batiatus’ murder.  Lucretia proves her talent for survival outweighs any misfortunes fate sends her way, but up until the end, viewers never quite know which way the plot will take her.  And that’s the way it goes for many of this season’s characters.  Craig Parker’s Glaber seems like a fumbling patsy set up to fail until he turns the tables and becomes, in his own words, a “monster.”


Romance and reunion run as sub-themes throughout Vengeance.  Dustin Clare returns in the role of Gannicus and must soon navigate an uneasy peace with his ex-trainer and friend Doctore (Peter Mensah).  The two shared the love of the same woman, and in the wake of her passing (in Gods of the Arena), Doctore learns of her secret affair with Gannicus.  Lovers Crixus (Manu Bennet) and Naevia (Lesley-Ann Brandt) find each other again, but must overcome the hurdles of the terrible abuse she suffered at the hands of the Romans.


Special mention should be made for Nick Tarabay’s brilliant performance as the scheming Ashur. Once a gladiator himself, the Syrian Ashur now merely seeks his place in the world, and he seeks it in the company of Glaber and the Romans who hunt Spartacus.  The lengths he goes to in securing his position curdle the blood, and the horrors he visits on Lucretia will test sensitive viewers.


This three disc set includes plentiful extras: Starz Studios - Spartacus: Vengeance, The Making Of Spartacus: Vengeance, Behind The Camera: Directing The Rebellion, On The Set With Liam McIntyre, Burning Down The House: The VFX of Episode 205, The Legend of Spartacus, Famous Last Words Bloopers, Spartacus: War of the Damned teaser, plus the many commentaries from creators, cast, and crew also reveal the care and passion that went into the making of this series.


While not perfect, Spartacus: Vengeance delivers the goods when it comes to action, pathos, and genuine fun.  Period action and drama fans who don’t mind a little blood and guts will be richly rewarded by the genuine performances and clever plot twists in this Starz

original series.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on these Blu-rays are as clean, clear and stae-of-the-0art as the previous releases, so playback is top rate once again.



For more Spartacus, try these links:


Blood & Sand: The Complete First Season



Gods Of The Arena




-   Scott Pyle


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