Wooden acting and dumb beards in a sad “King Arthur” knock-off

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I realize that, right now, Hollywood is currently in the phase where remaking movies is all the rage. Sometimes that works out and the audience gets a halfway decent movie, like the recent “Godzilla” movie.

And then other times, the remake drifts into the territory of “lock it in the basement with all of the other shameful secrets” territory. “Last Knights,” starring Clive Owens and Morgan Freeman, isn’t an exact remake of 2004’s “King Arthur,” also starring Owens, but it is close enough.

This movie, which is the Frankensteinian mixture of “King Arthur” and “47 Ronin,” takes the best parts of those movies, mainly awesome sword fights and chivalry, and turns them into a cringe inducing eyesore.

The basic premise behind this action film is like virtually every other one to ever precede it. IMDb describes it as “a fallen warrior rises against a corrupt and sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master.” Which, if you’ve ever seen a medieval action movie, is the plot in each and every one of them.

Despite the glaring flaws, apparent from merely seeing the poster for this movie, I had hopes that it wouldn’t be too terrible. “King Arthur” is my favorite movie of all time and Freeman is essentially God, so I had thought that any movie combining those two factors couldn’t be terrible.

Even thinking something like that is taunting fate. It’s like I was asking the director, Kazuaki Kiriya (“Goemon,” “Casshern”) to desecrate my childhood.

First off, has Clive Owens become paralyzed in the face, and was nobody informed of this fact? Even he seems to have realized that his artistic integrity went out of the window after “Children of Men.” With his wooden face and monotone, I seriously think that some witch doctor managed to make a living statue act.

His character Raiden is such a cookie cutter, stock footage anguished good guy that if you put him in a lineup with other similar characters from equally terrible movies, I wouldn’t be able to pick him out.
Then enters the Voice of God himself, Morgan Freeman, playing the dishonored master Bartok, with the dumbest beard I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it was grown at the director’s insistence or if Freeman came in with it and nobody bothered to correct him, but it took away from his entire performance.

If I have to stop the movie every couple of minutes to make sure my brain understands what my eyes are seeing, then it can’t be all that good of a movie. I shouldn’t have to stop and contemplate what I’m doing wrong with my life because of this awful movie.

I have to praise the other actors in this movie for trying to make it suck less than it already does. The previous works of the supporting actors like Tsuyoshi Ihara (“13 Assassins”), Cliff Curtis (“Three Kings”) or Aksel Hennie (“The Martian”) are all fairly decent. Even their lesser known works in their home countries are well respected, which makes the choice to star in this movie all the more baffling.

I was so disappointed in this movie because it ended up being like every movie put out by Steven Segal in the last 20 years: bloated and wooden. The villain Geza Mott (Hennie) was so petulant and one-dimensional that he didn’t really seem to be much of a villain at all. More like a tall, baby faced man-child who sneers and struts about like those were the only cues he was given for acting.

This movie made me sad, in so many ways. Sad that this remake would not join the hallowed ranks of those that weren’t terrible. Sad that Clive Owens seems to have given up on acting. And sad that this movie somehow managed to be worse than the entirety of the Twilight Saga.

To quote Bartok, “The wounds of honor are self-inflicted.” And so too are the wounds of terrible movies, the effects of which I shall surely feel until my last nights.

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