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Movie Review: 'Coriolanus' -- 2.5 stars

Ralph Fiennes, left, and Gerard Butler in

Ralph Fiennes, left, and Gerard Butler in "Coriolanus." Photo Credit: Ralph Fiennes, left, and Gerard Butler in "Coriolanus."

Coriolanus
2.5 stars
Directed by Ralph Fiennes
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler
Rated R

Ralph Fiennes' modern-dress adaptation of Shakespeare's "Coriolanus" is a tough-minded affair overflowing with machismo.

That is only to be expected from a movie derived from one of the Bard's hardest-edged plays, as directed by and starring the man who played "Harry Potter" villain Lord Voldemort.

What's more surprising - and disappointing - is the fact that beneath the manly posturing and thrilling handheld camera-captured combat scenes is a story bereft of heart, a mundane violent enterprise without any emotional appeal.

Fiennes plays Caius Martius, a general turned political candidate who's banished from his homeland. Teaming up with his once-sworn enemy, Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler), Martius vows revenge.

The screenplay, by Fiennes and John Logan, preserves the righteous fury emblazoned in Shakespeare's words, which pour forth from the star with impressive, earth-shaking rage.

"Coriolanus," set in an imagined Rome (i.e. not the Italian capital) and shot in Belgrade, is rife with surreal war-torn atmospherics, coming complete with political backstabbing and a hard Eastern European edge.

But the film is so relentlessly one-dimensional that it's hard to care about any of it.

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