Billed as a sequel to "300", the film actually takes place at the same time and just after the outcome of that story. Loosely based and for the most part historically accurate, "Rise of An Empire" chronicles the "other" battle between the Persians and the Greeks during the Persian invasion. While the Spartan army of 300 tried in vain to hold off The Persian army, The Athenian general Themistocles battled the Persian navy at The Straits of Artimisium.
General Themistocles is played by Sullivan Stapleton and while he knows his way around a sword, he lacks the charisma of Gerald Butler. His Persian rival is Eva Green, who plays Artimisia, leader of the Persian navy ( and named for the straits where the naval battle actually happened) . I doubt her character really existed but she does manage to steal the film anyway, especially during a rough sex scene with Mr. Stapleton. Returning from the first film is Lena Headey, who now leads the Spartans since the death of her husband Leonidas and Rodrigo Santoro as Zerxes, the Persian God-King.
Filmed again in a highly stylized form, the visuals are further enhanced by 3-D and the action is pretty much continuous with buckets of blood and body parts seemingly flying off the screen into the audience. Fans of the first film will not be disappointed but if you are not interested in Greek history or intense, hyper-violent sword play, this is not the film for you.