King Arthur

Review Date:
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: David Franzoni
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer
Clive Owen as Arthur
Keira Knightley as Guinevere
Ioan Gruffud as Lancelot
Based on the supposed “true story” of a certain King Arthur who apparently inspired the legendary tale from the 15th century (just go with it), this story unfolds as the king and his knights have one more duty to fulfill for their Roman conquerors, which has to do with the impossible retrieval of a young boy before the nasty Saxons get a hold of him. Lots of swordplay, horses and magic (actually, no magic) ensues…
When you consider that almost everything about this film hadn’t excited me before I walked into my screening, including its weak trailers, its generally unbeknownst cast, its supposed “based on a true story” angle and similarity to many a past film, I was pleasantly surprised and somewhat entertained by Antoine Fuqua’s version of KING ARTHUR, despite its very few groundbreaking elements. What did I like? I liked the knights, as well as the leader of the pack, Arthur, all of whom carved out a nice camaraderie as the film progressed and each of which, was an ass-kicker of notable proportions. I’ve always been a fan of men who charge out in the name of courage, strength, love and all that jazz, and these fellas were all that and punch in the face. The film started a little slow, with too many characters intermixed with plot elements, costumes and locations that we feel like we’ve seen in dozens of films before, but once we get to know the knights and their mission to kick ass in the name of their chief, things got a little more interesting, particularly when a certain “hottie” was tossed into the mix as one of the most gratuitous additions of a female in any film this year. That’s right, Keira Knightley shows up as about halfway through this motion picture and despite apparently being dungeoned up for a long while, takes little more than a few days to look as hot as ever, get jiggy with the king and fling arrows through enemy head like she was Legolas on a weekend Orc spree. Yeah, her transformation is about as goofy as can be, but I didn’t really care too much because Knightley looked great and added that extra zest to the film’s all-male testosterone routine to that point.

Clive Owen, also known as a rich man’s Dermot Mulroney, performed well as the king in question, and demonstrated the required presence to play such a man. A few of the knights also stood out, specifically Ray Winsome as the wise-cracking bad-ass and the dude with the axe and the attitude (can’t remember his name) Stellan Skarsgard also seemed to have fun playing the leader of the Saxon group, letting his deep accent do the acting for him, as well as his braided moustache. By the way, let it be known from this day forward that any man who can braid his own moustache is alright in my book. The film also sports impressive cinematography, particularly when the snow gets involved, and one of the cooler action scenes of the year, featuring plenty of grungy men on ice! On the downside, much of the film is still reminiscent of other movies including BRAVEHEART (Didn’t anybody fight for anything else but “freedom” in those days…how about “chicks”? How come nobody fought over “chicks”?), many other medieval flicks of the sort and even a little Tolkien stuff. Also, as per my review of TROY, please Hollywood…drop the humongous armies flying into one another scenes already! The film also seemed to skip certain details about characters (almost no background on Guinevere whatsoever and Merlin and his gang of blue thugs seemed to come out of nowhere), but overall, offered a decent time, despite little to remember afterwards. If you’re a big fan of King Arthur and the time period, I don’t think you’ll enjoy this movie since it plays things very straight here, with no magic, no Camelot and Arthur’s not even King yet, but if you go in looking for a so-so time-waster featuring some cool-ass knights who fight like men used to fight, a hottie who, well…looks hot and a decent storyline and action sequences, the latest Bruckheimer summer event is a passable excursion through the Dark Ages.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

King Arthur