Director and co-writer Zack Snyder leaps full-bore into this oft-told tale of 300 Spartans.

Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley — and starring a super buff Gerard Butler as Leonidas, the king of ancient Sparta — “300” is a hypnotic powerhouse of ultra violent action scenes, gushing blood, bulging muscles and a hyper-realistic comic book look that makes the movie pop off the screen. Director Zack Snyder (“Dawn of the Dead”) has created a gory spectacle of pride, machismo, courage and brutality that could have ended up a cheesefest, but it is so visually striking that you won’t forget it long after the credits roll.