Last Knights Blu-ray Review
I really like Clive Owen and believe he is a truly charismatic force on the screen, but he really seems to be attracted to cinematic duds. Two on-screen travesties he attached himself to that I can think of off the top of my head are KING ARTHUR, DERAILED and THE PINK PANTHER reboot. I’m sure there’s more, that I haven’t even watched and don’t want to watch, but it’s safe to say that you can add LAST KNIGHTS to the list.
With Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman’s name predominately displayed on the cover, as well as their faces, you would think this movie has a lot going for it. But once you realize you’ve never heard of this movie, you can probably surmise that both actors would prefer not to talk about this. It’s not an abysmal travesty like Uwe Boll’s IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEONS SIEGE TALE, but it certainly doesn’t try to distinguish itself amongst other sword fighting knight movies.
Nearly 20 minutes in, I still couldn’t quite figure out where I was supposed to be. The Caucasian Raiden (Owen) leads a group of elite soldiers. He serves and protects the African-American Bartok (Freeman). Bartok operates a small clan, but he’s under the rule of a Scandinavian emperor. Bartok is later executed over a bizarre form of treason and his empire is divided amongst other clan leaders of varying races from Polynesian to Japanese.
I’m not criticizing the movie for its actor’s nationalities and race choices, but with such a hodgepodge of actors, themes, and settings, I’m a bit mislead in what I’m supposed to be watching. Are we in the Middle Ages? Are we in Feudal Japan? Are Raiden’s warriors supposed to be a retelling of ninjas or a reimagining of historic soldiers? Without any clear image or any hint of LAST KNIGHTS being allegory for something deeper, I can only scratch my head in confusion as the plot unfolds.
There’s a father-son relationship at work between Raiden and Bartok, but obviously the execution of Bartok eliminates any chance of that blooming. Raiden merely sulks over Bartok’s loss in a bottle of booze while the masters in charge of everything shuffle into hiding, fearing that Raiden will one day seek revenge. There should be growth, revelations, or at the very least some clear and concise explanations about what’s happening, but instead we’re given unnecessary subplots and uninteresting twists. It’s almost like the writers attempted to cram a season’s worth of GAME OF THRONES into a two hour movie that still feels unnecessary long.
Just from me explaining everything, I’m sure you can already tell that an “epic” showdown is in store by the end of this movie, and oddly enough the action is the only good thing about this movie. But it’s so shrouded in a dark tones and bad lighting that half the time I don’t know if they’re actually fighting and instead of just grunting. When we actually do see the swords being swung, it includes a bizarre bit of kung fu that feels relatively generic. Martial arts action scenes with men attempting to kill one another should not feel generic.
It’s clear that I did not enjoy my time watching this movie. So you might be asking why I can’t outright hate it. Well there’s a simple answer: the acting. Everyone really sells what their roles are and are the reasons I stayed interested, but it’s just difficult to become invested in characters that have no purpose, in a story with no guidance. LAST KNIGHTS has a cool title, but other than that, it’s a mild action flick with the right people, and the wrong script.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) The movie is constantly in a haze of heavy, dark, earth tones. There isn’t too much in the way of magnificent sets, so some of the finer details only come through when we’re close up on our gritty, dirty characters. The presentation is great, but the scenes are average.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) A lot of the fighting elements, clings and clangs, come in crystal clear.
Behind the Scenes of LAST KNIGHTS (22:03): This is your run-of-the-mill feature that includes interviews with cast and crew as well as some behind the scenes footage. Not too many interesting insights and some of the praise feels forced.
A Look at the Special Effects of LAST KNIGHTS (5:04): This is an interesting layered look at scenes before and after special effects are added. Sometime it shows a quick layer by layer rendering of scenes.
Interviews with Cast and Crew: This is feature that allows you to select specific interviews with cast and crew. You can watch interviews with Kazuaki Kiriya, Morgan Freeman, Clive Owen, Cliff Curtis, Payman Maadi, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Dave Legeno and Antonio Riestra. A nifty feature if you want more info that you didn’t not get in the behind the scenes feature.