A small disclaimer here before we get started: I love these types of movies. If your movie has Kings, Knights, sword battles and even wizards, then I’ll probably be into it. I’ve been known to enjoy movies more and even give them a pass on a few of their flaws just because I like being in that world so much. I didn’t even hate Season of the Witch with Nicolas Cage – yeah, I know, it’s an issue.
With that being said this movie looks like it could be good. Not every movie in this genre needs to be an epic Ridley Scott type film. There can be smaller, more intimate stories told within similar universes. Or, at least that’s what I’m expecting here.
This comes from Japanese director Kazuaki Kiriya and seems to be his first english film. Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with his work but it will be interesting to see if he’s able to retain his style as a director or fall into the pit that Asian directors often do when making their first foray into Hollywood; which is they seem to make a bland film that doesn’t display any of their signature style or skill. I don’t know if this is a fault of the western filmmaking standards, or too much studio influence that doesn’t give them free reign, or if their skills don’t translate well to our audience. Who knows though; somebody other than me probably.
This also comes at an interesting time because I was recently thinking, “Where the hell has Clive Owen been?”. He’s in some of my favourite movies of all time and I got to say I’ve been missing him. He’s been off doing a television show and I’ve been meaning to check it out but haven’t had the time yet. But, I’m glad I’m getting my Clive Owen fix with Last Knights – which is a terrible title by the way. Sounds like it’s going to be a comedy about terrible knights who need to save the day because they’re the last option. Starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifiankis most likely. That actually sounds ok; let’s hope this is better though.
Suspected Rating: 7/10
Can any movie that begins with a Morgan Freeman voiceover truly be anything other than amazing? Well yes, yes it can.
First off, the film is shot beautifully. It mostly takes place during a cold harsh winter which is an aesthetic I am quite fond it. The world created is also quite interesting. It’s not quite feudal Japan and not quite Medieval England. There are knights but instead of a King there is an Emperor. They don’t use Broadswords or Katanas but a mix between the two. The attention to detail is something to commend for sure.
Where the film falls flat is the story and somewhat with its action. If you’ve seen these types of movies before then you will recognize many clichés. I won’t list them for fear of spoilers, but they are not subtle. Clive Owen is great in the role, but the overarching story surrounding him doesn’t give him much help. The film starts off pretty good and intriguing but the second act grinds everything to a halt. There’s a very slow build to an ultimately uninspiring climix. It’s only saving grace is its ambiguity in the final moments. I will admit that was a pleasant surprise and left me thinking afterwards.
The film isn’t outright bad. It didn’t assault the senses nor waste my time. Clichés are there for a reason and can often be drummed up to great effect, but I feel they weren’t completely earned here.
The film is R-rated by the MPAA, but barely earns the rating. There are a few decapitations on screen, but they are far from gory. They are about as gory as anything you’ve seen in Lord of the Rings, but since there’s red blood instead of gooey green Orc blood, I guess it’s not ok.
I didn’t want another nonsensical action movie that goes over the top. I’m glad they had the patience to slow things down and tell a story, but perhaps they went too far the other way because I was left feeling bored. If you enjoy these types of movies it’s still worth checking out but maybe wait until it’s on Netflix and you have some time to kill on a rainy Sunday.
Final Rating: 6/10
Read more of Anthony King’s ‘Going In and Coming Out’ reviews at ‘Reel Mess’