King Arthur


Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Written by:David Franzoni
Starring: Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Mads Mikkelsen, Joel Edgerton, Hugh Dancy, Ray Winstone, Keira Knightley, Stellan Skarsgard, Til Schweiger
Released: July 15, 2004
Grade: C+

In the opening to the film, we are told that recent historical research as revealed more on the legend of King Arthur and his loyal knights.  The presumption I drew was that this would be a more realistic portrayal of actual events.  How wrong I was…

Set around the 5th and 6th Centuries, Arthur and his men have been fighting gallantly for 15 years.  Known as the Sarmatian Knights, they fight for their Roman emperor in defending the lands of Britain.  Most resistance has come from the north and a rebel group known as the Saxons but Arthur and his men have bravely kept them at bay and Britain is safe.

In accordance with the terms of their contract, the knights are entitled to retire after their 15th year of service.  However, when a Roman bishop comes to give them all their release papers, he asks one more demanding journey of them – to rescue a Roman family who are trapped in Saxon territory.          After the obligatory disgruntlement amongst the knights, they set off on a final adventure that would finish with a rather unexpected conclusion.

The final battle scenes have been well directed by Antonie Fuqua (Training Day) but aside, there’s very little to applaud about.  The dialogue is simply atrocious.  If you thought all the melodrama of Troy was bad, just wait till you see what garbage is uttered from the mouths of these “legends”.  At one point, Arthur says to his enemy, “It will be good of you to mark my face, Saxon, for the next time you see it, it will be the last thing you see on this earth.”  Yes, I understand it’s a movie, but please, can we have some more realistic and sensible dialogue?

The cast is led by Clive Owen in the leading role who didn’t impress me.  Rising English starlet Keira Knightly (Pirates Of The Caribbean) is being heavily promoted but her role is quite small.  For Australian fans, actor Joel Edgerton (The Hard Word) appears as one of Arthur’s knights and if luckily, it could springboard him to bigger and better international roles.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing remotely royal in this adaptation of King Arthur.  Considering the budget and the publicity, it’s just disappointingly disappointing.