Review: Last Knights
It takes a bit of time before realizing that the medieval action adventure Last Knights isn’t trying to be cheeky or fun. That’s because it would seem having something surprising, something peculiar, or something ridiculously self-aware would be the only way this film works. Never mind an esoteric and silly title; we’ve got a Morgan Freeman voice over to start the film, after which he reveals himself some ancient master named Bartok. We learn of a code, a brotherhood, and other generic noble ideals before an equally middling plot is laid before us.
While Freeman frequently dons such silly roles – he is the seer, the mystic, the mentor – it’s the presence of Clive Owen that makes Last Knights both watchable and depressing. He’s the fabled leader turned outcast after a foreseeable incident occurs between Bartok and a rising, greedy minister.
If it all sounds absurd – Owen’s character is called Raiden, by the way – it is. However, it’s not absurd in a fun way. For Last Knights, directed by Kazuaki Kiriya in all its brooding, dark, grave tone, wants to make important what is mundane and lacking in liveliness.
Raiden sets out a quest of revenge – noble, still, mind you – and it takes quite a while to get to it. Raiden drinks and mopes while still pledging allegiance to a greater good, and we are to align ourselves with the forces of selflessness, just because. While the finale finally offers some bloody, entertaining clashes, it’s not enough to redeem what can only be generously described as cliches littering the first and second acts. There is also the loyal lieutenant, the chaste daughter, the secret insider, and a powerful enemy henchman. All their fates are predictable.
An enjoyable final battle is the only redemption; at least the title indicates that this is the end of this uneventful story.