FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Tonight I saw the film “Last Knights,” which stars Clive Owen (Children of Men, The Bourne Identity), Aksel Hennie (The Martian, Hercules ), Tsuyoshi Ihara (Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Letters to Iwo Jima), Cliff Curtis (Live Free or Die Hard, Training Day), Daniel Adegboyega (Skyfall, The Gunman), Peyman Moaadi (A Separation, Camp X-Ray), Michael Lombardi (Rescue Me [TV series], Cayman Went), Noah Silver (Jamie Marks Is Dead, Tyrant [TV series]), and Morgan Freeman (Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption). It is directed by Kazuaki Kiriya (Casshern, Goemon) and the screenplay is written by Michael Konyves (Earthstorm [TV movie], Barney’s Version) and Dove Sussman. When a warrior named Raiden (Owen) loses his master because of an awful deed by the emperor’s assistant, he seeks revenge.
Ever since I received this for Christmas, I have feared the worst of it. The film has not been given the greatest of scores among critics, and I have never seen a single trailer for it. Really it falls under the direct-to-DVD (I got it on Blu-ray) pile of releases. My fears soon became a reality as this movie did not perform well. In a general understanding of what this story is like, the most appropriate word that comes to my mind is “47 Ronin.” A master has fallen and his troops want to avenge him by taking action against the overlord that runs the land. It is basically “47 Ronin,” but repackaged in a medieval time setting. And it is just as mediocre. If you want to read my review of “47 Ronin,” just click the hyperlink that is attached to the title of the film (I know, it’s a short review, but it is one of my earliest). Anyway, I did not expect much walking into this movie and that is pretty much all I received. The acting was pretty good, and that is what you should expect from the likes of Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman. Although Morgan Freeman’s beard in this movie was rather odd to look at (it’s like a Fu Manchu entwined with a beard; it was gross). Even the supporting actors weren’t that bad. It’s just the script did not offer much for them to work with. For the first thirty to forty minutes of this production I could not understand what was going on. It was plagued with inside dialogue of a situation that only our characters understood while the audience was left in the dust to pick up the pieces. A lot of it seemed to be filler as well because none of it seemed consequential once Raiden’s master was killed. It was just build up to the actual start of the plot. To be honest, I did not even pay much attention to the talking anyway because I was lost in Freeman’s beard. I will say that a ton of scenes in the beginning of this picture were tough to get through, and I mean tough. For a whole five or seven minutes there was a scene of the bad guy talking to Morgan Freeman about a bribe he gave him. It was a robe, but the villain expected money, so they discussed about the robe. He asked Freeman where he got it, why he did, etc. It was extremely irrelevant to the plot at hand. I only received glimmers of interesting portions throughout this flick’s entirety, but even those were not the grandest of scenes. Like I said, it took until the forty minute mark for the story to really hit, and once it did, I guess it got a bit better. After viewing this movie, what I got out of the second act was a feeling of emptiness. The whole second act was basically a slow montage. No, it did not play music while several clips played at a quick rate. There was story, but it was more of a slope into a “twist” that would eventually bestow us with the third act. The more I think about it, the more meaningless it is. Most of this release could have actually been displayed in a thirty minute short, because this whole film felt like build up towards the last ten minutes. Once the third act arrived, I will admit that it gained points. I thought the action scenes that came with the final twenty minutes were awesome and it redeemed some of the flaws this package came with. There was little dialogue too, so it did not stall out like most of the runtime. Of course, like “47 Ronin,” it does not have the happiest of endings that most audiences would hope for, but I thought that it added more of an effect. I just feel that the majority of this film’s story did not have friction. I did not retain eighty percent of this movie’s dialogue, but yet I still understood what was going on, and that is a serious problem. It felt loose and at most times it did not suck me into its world. Some compliments I can give it besides the acting and final act would be how the landscapes and cinematography look great. The snowy setting and medieval clothing were cool to look at and there were some good shots to study. Too bad I did not feel like studying closely because of how distant I was of this story. Overall, this was a rather mediocre release that offered nothing bold to the table. FINAL SCORE: 58%= Burnt Popcorn
This movie has been inducted into The Burnt Hall of Shame.
Here is the trailer: