Gladiator 2 | Current cut is 160 minutes long and is reportedly very good indeed

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Reactions from an early test screening reveal that Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 is 160 minutes long, and suggest that it’s thankfully rather good.

A difficult production reportedly led Gladiator 2's budget to balloon to as much as $310m – a figure that Paramount has since disputed. All the same, there’s a lot riding on Ridley Scott’s expensive, highly-anticipated sequel to his own 2000 historical epic – we’ve been particularly looking forward to it since we learned that Paul Mescal will at some point fight a pack of baboons. More on that shortly.

Ahead of its release towards the end of the year, Gladiator 2 has been test-screened to a select audience in Las Vegas. That’s according to World of Reel’s Jordan Ruimy, who’s rather good at getting the inside word on early screenings such as this.

The gossip from this particular preview is that the current cut of Gladiator 2 – which aside from a few effects shots, is said to be pretty much finished – is 160 minutes long, or two hours and 40 minutes if you prefer. That’s almost identical to the 155 minute length of the 2000 Gladiator (pictured), interestingly, which rather fits the early reaction that, structurally, the sequel is similar to its predecessor.

The particularly good news is that, familiarity aside – it’s again a revenge thriller nested in a sword-and-sandal opus – the reaction to the sequel is highly positive. Ridley Scott’s said to have made another opulent-looking period piece, which we’d expect from the director of everything from The Duellists to last year’s Brian Cox-bating Napoleon. Denzel Washington is said to be excellent as the scheming villain of the piece, and Connie Nielsen’s performance is described as being potentially Oscar-worthy.

Paul Mescal, meanwhile, sounds as though he’s this film’s Russell Crowe, and on his own mission of vengeance which takes him down a similar path of gladiatorial combat experienced by Crowe’s Maximus. Those combat sequences are said to take in a David Attenborough series’ worth of animals, including the aforementioned baboons. There’s also talk of a shark, though how that gets into a gladiatorial arena we have no idea – is it stored in a vat?

We’ll find out when the finished Gladiator 2 emerges in cinemas on the 22nd November 2024.

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