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At this point you probably have a pretty good handle on the style of a Paul WS Anderson movie — he turns out one b-movie after another that use affordable effects, attractive stars and genre concepts to lure in audiences. And the audiences always seem to show up, making Anderson one of the more reliable directors from a business perspective.

Here, he changes things up a bit for Pompeii. The attractive cast is there (Kit Harinton, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Paz Vega) as are the big digital effects and gritty but pretty violence. But there’s also a real historic backdrop — the destruction of the ancient city of Pompeii after the explosion of the volcano Vesuvius — giving the story a real weight. Will it work? Get some idea via the new trailer below.

Pompeii opens on February 21, 2014.

Set in 79 A.D., POMPEII tells the epic story of Milo, a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him.

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