Alan Dee’s film preview: Pompeii starts with an earthquake, but doesn’t really go anywhere

Legendary movie mogul and straight talker Sam Goldwyn reckoned a good movie should start with an earthquake and build to a climax.

Old Sam probably thought that a decent plot, adequate acting and a semblance of good storytelling could be taken as read, but it’s sadly not so.

Pompeii

Pompeii

That’s why Pompeii joins a long list of historical epics which have come a cropper by putting too much faith in eye-catching special effects.

This steaming pile of magma has no real A-list names to haul it over the line, the story is ponderous and we all know there’s a big bang coming. Sadly it doesn’t come soon enough – even though it only runs to just over 100 minutes.

Another familiar scenario gets one more turn around the ring this week – the latest Tarzan is an animation promising all sorts of modern extras and an updating of the classic ‘raised in the jungle’ story.

Plastic is an unpromising title for a ‘based on a true story’ tale about young crooks getting in over their heads and having to fend off a sadistic gangster – another familiar storyline. Rising Brit stars Ed Speleers and Will Poulter are at the centre of the action.

Brick Mansions is chiefly notable as being the last completed project of Fast & Furious franchise car freak Paul Walker, who was killed in a high-speed car smash last year.

He’s an undercover cop pursuing a crime lord armed with a neutron bomb in decaying Detroit, but underneath all that it’s a routine remake of French action classic District 13.