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British director Paul WS Anderson (Resident Evil) embraces the hoary cliches of the disaster movie with this unintentionally amusing swords and sandals epic set in the shadow of a grumbling Mount Vesuvius.

Not since the summer of 1997, when Dante’s Peak and Volcano went head-to-head at the box office, has the fiery wrath of Mother Nature been unleashed with such pyrotechnic-laden fury.

Pompeii

Pompeii

Anderson certainly understands the mechanics of an outrageous action sequence and he engineers some humdingers as fiery rocks rain down on Pompeii’s stricken inhabitants.

But, fittingly, Pompeii is built on the shaky foundations of a ramshackle script that doesn’t flesh out any of the characters in any sufficient detail to make us care about their fates.

Action scenes are both thrilling and hilariously preposterous.