The ratio of historical epics to emerge in the wake of Gladiator compared to those that were actually good was skewed to put it lightly, but few have ended up being forgotten as quickly as The Eagle.
In the movie’s defense, it carried a minuscule (by the standards of the genre) budget of just $25 million, so it’s not as if director Kevin Macdonald was trying to compete with the heavy hitters that carried enormous price tags, but a lukewarm box office return of under $40 million ensured that it was nowhere close to being a hit, either.
Just as tepid were the responses from critics and audiences, with The Eagle failing to soar higher than respective Rotten Tomatoes approval ratings of 39 and 41 percent from both parties on the aggregation site. As everybody should know by now, though, bone-crunching and sword-swinging tales set in the ancient past are always ready to surge on streaming, and it’s happened again after FlixPatrol named the unremarkable period piece as one of the Top 10 most-watched titles on Netflix among subscribers in the United States.
A woefully miscast Channing Tatum headlines The Eagle as a stoic Roman soldier on a quest to recover the titular emblem of the Ninth Legion, complete with the requisite daddy issues as his principal motivator. Along the way he naturally ends up being drawn into conflict with the natives who don’t take too kindly to interlopers muscling in on their turf, but if you’ve seen even one of its many spiritual forebears, contemporaries, or successors, then you’ll have a pretty solid idea of how things pan out.