This is one of the least peplums I have watched, one I was not familiar with previously and actually only acquired for the sake of an American fanatic of such low-brow fare! Despite the plot being virtually a skeleton of the same year's THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, the result is thoroughly undistinguished; the main culprits for this are the ineffectual presence of both hero and villain with the latter managing to render Commodus (so vividly incarnated by Christopher Plummer in the above-mentioned Hollywood epic) uninteresting and his inherent volatile nature suggesting not madness but a pathetic figure (being also something of a lecher)!
Incidentally, the presence of the barbarians here feels almost like an afterthought: amusingly, the hero is greeted by them during an official visit and is even engaged in a wrestling match but, as soon as he has exited the tent, their head violently berates the men for making his tribe the laughing-stock of the Empire by having allowed the Roman to win! Sequences depicting military skirmishes and Senate meetings, then, are par for the course which is ideal for watching with a running tongue-in-cheek commentary when in good company!
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