#8 – Netflix
While I looked for a mindless action movie on Netflix that wouldn’t be a complete waste of time, I came across Last Knights. The icon made it look like a post-apocalyptic knight movie, but set in the medieval times. The overall feel of the movie does not even try to place it as historically accurate, but I still feel cheated by my first impression. I suppose I will need to find a movie that puts a renaissance spin on the post-apocalyptic world to fill that void … but that is on me. Back to the movie that I actually watched!
Clive Owen is Raiden, the commander of Lord Bartok’s knights. Bartok is played by Morgan Freeman, who at the start of the movie decides he has had enough of the injustice coming from the corrupt minister of the emperor. This ultimately leads to his downfall that surprisingly takes close to an hour and was already spoiled by the synopsis. Cut to a year later for plot purposes and the remaining knights are scattered among the capital trying to make a living. There is then an overly intricate plot conspired by the knights to get revenge for their fallen nobleman and kill the minister.
I would give this movie 6 “rogue knights” out of 10.
Even though the time spent managing the plot was poorly spent, the movie still moved along at a decent pace. There were several times I thought about abandoning the remainder of Last Knights but there was not a slow enough moment to make me leave entirely. The final siege was enough to make me not resent sticking around. The few characters that were built up finally got to show off. Everything built up to the single fight between Raiden and the opposing commander, which was much better than I would have expected from Clive Owen. Given he hasn’t been in many physically demanding roles before and his prior interactions were all cut short by the camera, this was a decent fight.
The backstories of the characters are all revealed by exposition since Last Knights would rather deal with the chemistry between Raiden and Lord Bartok. This was a risky move that did not pay off. Everything was leading up to the final showdown of the movie, and the backstory was only a vehicle for the convoluted plot. Since the majority of the movie focuses on Raiden, the large supporting cast is relegated to trying to make you care about them in a half hour at best. This is a shame since the audience is expected to remember names and sympathize when some of them die in battle. If they had simplified it, there could have been more time for character development and time for the audience to care. Towards the end, there are several moments that are supposed to be AH HA! moments. They instead fall to needless flashbacks since there was not even enough time spent building them up.
For a straight to DVD action flick …it lacked a lot of action. Last Knights was not a horrible movie, but had they went for a more straightforward movie (ie: action movie with less plot) it would have made it slightly more watchable. If you find yourself looking for a movie to watch as background noise, but don’t want a comedy or drama, you could do worse than watching Last Knights.
It is sad to see some of the cast drown in a movie like this. Not too long ago Clive Owen was an up and coming actor nailing the lead in some decent movies such as Children of Men and Inside Man. The lieutenant is played by Cliff Curtis who’s been in movies like Sunshine, Training Day, and Blow. He has proven himseld to be a good actor but has yet to catch a big break. Then there is Morgan Freeman … at least he is building up that savings account.
If you want a movie with sword fighting, don’t waste your time digging through b-movies on Netflix, you will want to go with ones that have proven themselves. There are a few that come to mind such as the Lord of the Rings franchise or Troy, but you are looking for one that you don’t have to invest time or energy into right? Then you need to watch 300. The only plot here is a small group of Spartans fighting a bunch of Persians, sure there is some side story … but pay no attention to that! There is a bunch of stunning visuals and phenomenal fight scenes that you need to be watching instead.