Maximus is a respected Roman general during the height of the Roman Empire. Upon winning his latest battle against barbarians and bringing peace to the Empire, Maximus craves nothing more than to return home and farm with his family. However the aging Emperor, Caesar Marcus Aurealius sees in Maximus the next leader of Rome. He decides to bestow the title on the war weary general, passing over his spoiled son Commodus. Upon hearing this, Commodus kills his father and takes over as the Cesar of Rome. His sister Lucilla is the voice of reason who keeps Commodus in good terms with the senate. Commodus also orders Maximus killed, but he escapes only to find his family has been slaughtered by the orders of Commodus. The distraught Maximus is then captured by traveling slave traders and is forced to fight as a traveling gladiator. He becomes so successful at fighting and leading his fellow gladiators; he ends up back in Rome's Colosseum as a main attraction. Maximus goes on with the help of "his men" to defeat all the Caesar can throw at him. This earns him the respect of the people. A plan to earn his freedom and come back to defeat the evil Commodus is squashed when Commodus catches on. In an attempt earn back his people Commodus sets up a fight against a wounded Maximus. This turns out to be his demise as both him and Maximus die in the fight. .
I selected this movie because I heard it was interesting and action filled. I was impressed with the many action scenes. The plot was well thought out although not without its problems. Part of the movie were confusing and rushed through to make sure that the missing part is not noticed. For instance, the dog suddenly vanishing from the movie after the first few minutes. With all those character-building shots of the dog, I expected it to come back as an important story element. Another example is when Maximus comes home to find his family dead.