Admittedly, the history of models-turned-actors isn't the greatest. You could maybe count Mark Wahlberg, but there are far more actors who should've stayed "just a pretty face."

Admittedly, the history of models-turned-actors isn't the greatest. You could maybe count Mark Wahlberg, but there are far more actors who should've stayed "just a pretty face."

And "The Eagle" might have been a perfectly nice swords-and-sandals epic, if only it didn't saddle Handsome Boy Modeling School grad Channing Tatum in the lead.

Set in 140 A.D., it chronicles Roman soldier Marcus Aquila (Tatum) through his journeys into the highlands of Scotland to recover a missing golden eagle emblem. Aquila hopes to restore the honor of his father, who disappeared along with the eagle and a legion of soldiers 20 years earlier.

Aquila is joined on this arduous quest by his slave, a native Briton named Esca (Jamie Bell of "Billy Elliot").

Director Kevin Macdonald ("The Last King of Scotland") actually pastes together a pretty solid little historic action pic here, despite some handicaps.

For starters, we aren't talking a huge-budget epic here, but Macdonald uses quick edits and camera trickery to hide the lack of big scale.

More problematic is Tatum. He's passable - occasionally even good given his past body of work - but just not strong enough to carry a movie like this. Bell handily outshines him.

It's a shame, too, because there's a nice quest story here - I even noted a bit of "Apocalypse Now" in there. With a little more talent and a little more money, this could have been a hidden gem.