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Ancient Rome: Army commander Commodus (Massimo Serato) is exiled for
(allegedly) having embezzled the loot of his last raid.
Months later, barbarian Brenno (Gordon Mitchell) and his horde of Gauls
start attacking and conquering villages all over the Roman empire, and
Brenno is unmistakably heading for Rome - and Rome's army is weakened and
seriously lacks a commander like Commodus ... but Commodus is nowhere to
be found, and actually, he couldn't care less about Rome either.
Brenno has meanwhile conquered another small village, but in order to
save the village as such, Nissia (Ursula Davis), the priestess and
daughter of the village leadeer, has promised herself to Brenno - much to
the dismay of Quintus (Tony Kendall), her fiancé (and the actual hero of
the film), who knows for a fact that Brenno will betray her trust, and who
thus kidnaps her in the middle of her wedding to Brenno.
Later, Quintus leads a small Roman battalion against Brenno and his
army, but they are almost all slaughtered by the enemy, and Quintus is
among the few survivors.
Brenno is now on the verge of entering Rome, and Rome is too weak to
even defend itself, so only a core group of Roman fighters and dignitaries
lock themselves inside the Capitol with the city's treasure, and the
Capitol is pretty much inconquerable, so a lengthy siege begins.
Eventually, Quintus finds a secret passageway out of the capitol with
the help of Commodus adopted son, but unfortunately there are Vatenius,
exactly the man who tricked Commodus into exile in the first place, and
his henchman Taurus, who want to use Brenno's siege to their advantage,
and they kill the boy, then bring Nissia to Commodus and suggest a truce
in which Rome's treasure would fall to Brenno and the two traitors get
their fair share ... and soon enough, Brenno is in the Capitol, demanding
the treasure ...
But Quintus has since made it to Commodus and persuaded him to lead the
army against the Gauls and save Rome after all, and while Brenno is still
in the Capitol collecting the spoils of war, Commodus and the Roman army
ambush the Gauls and defeat them, then they move in on the Capitol where
Brenno is only accompanied by his elite soldiers, which are rather easily
Only Brenno gets away via the secret passageway, but of course, in the
end he is defeated and killed by Quintus in one-on-one combat ... and once
more Rome is saved.
Admittedly, this film has little to do with the actual history of
ancient Rome, and many of the historical facts are rather distorted, too
... but apart from that, Brenno il Nemico di Roma isn't half bad, a
competently crafted peplum (= Italian sword and sandal movie) that doesn't
suffer too much from budgetary limitations and tells a rather interesting
and engaging story that even contains a few plottwists and a sombre tone
not necessarily found in a film like this. Not a great film perhaps as it
by and large lacks any extraordinary setpieces, and all the battle scenes
are tired routine at best, but in all totally watchable.