The movie is your standard revenge tale, and a fairly straightforward one at that. I’m not going to bore you with a plot synopsis, you can check IMDB for that. Basically Clive is a knight whose master, played by Morgan Freeman, is killed by a sadistic governor. Clive and his merry band of men seek revenge. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Unfortunately, Clive looks like he’s doing this film because he owes someone money. I thought he was going to be a huge star, what happened?
Digging crazy deep, here are three Pluses and three Minuses to the film:
- Aksel Hennie is pretty decent as the bad guy. At times you really think he’s evil, but usually he just seems really lonely and ill-equipped to deal with reality.
- The palace set looks pretty cool. I think 90% of the budget was split between the palace set and paying for Clive and Morgan.
- Yeah, that’s about all I’ve got.
- I missed the first 5 minutes of the film and didn’t see Morgan Freeman once. So, even though he’s got equal billing on the marquee and poster, he doesn’t have a presence beyond the opening scenes. That’s a huge bummer.
- Everything else. The entire movie is totally predictable. I missed the first 5 minutes and really didn’t miss anything (other than actually seeing Morgan Freeman on screen). Having read my two line “summary” above, you could probably predict the script. Add in swords and you’re there.
- Clive Owen totally mailed in his performance. For 75% of the movie he plays a drunk. In that entire time you basically just get scenes of him drinking. I’m sure that was fun to film, but it really wastes his talent. Finally, when he does have actual lines, he mumbles through them like he just had his wisdom teeth removed. Not his finest performance at all (Check out Inside Man for one of my favorite Clive Owen films).
The Five Hallmarks of a Quality Action Flick (3/5):
- NUDITY = NONE! Total lost opportunity. It’s a medieval era flick with swords and damsels in distress, but they left out any damsels. Sure, Clive’s character has a wife, sometimes, but maybe not his wife? I’m not sure. Then, there’s a couple of great opportunities with wenches, ladies of the night, and a bathing scene, but no damn nudity.
- GEAR UP SCENE = Yep. It’s totally weak, but you still get to see guys pull swords out of hiding and a few scenes with a guy whipping swords around that looks cool.
- COOL CARS = Nope, takes place in medieval times. Only Army of Darkness can get away with having a car in this era.
- WEAPONS = Swords and more swords. I was hoping for at least one cool ahead of its time crossbow or something, but no such luck.
- MEANINGFUL FRIEND DIES = Kinda. The amazing Cliff Curtis is Clive’s second in command. No, Cliff doesn’t die (he kicks ass), but Cliff’s buddy dies, which gives Cliff the rage necessary to kill endless streams of disposable guards.
My recommendation? Don’t waste your time. There are far better movies about revenge to watch. Kill Bill Volume 1 comes to mind. If you want to stick with revenge films set during the medieval era, check out Braveheart, Excalibur, or Clive Owen’s own King Arthur (which at least had Keira Knightley – hubba hubba!).
Have you seen “Last Knights?” if so, what did you think?