It's odd that a medieval fantasy movie with respectable cast nearly
flies off radar. Last Knights is not an epic tale, in fact the plot
heavily resembles that of 47 Ronin and considering even Keanu Reeves'
journey is inspired by multitude of per-existing works, this plot is
unoriginal at best. The pacing is slow, creating a rather bloated
runtime. Still, the cast as well as cinematography produce nice
atmosphere, especially in latter half, just making Last Knights a
moderately enjoyable popcorn flick.
Raiden (Clive Owen) is a commander with a dark past, he was taken by
his lord Bartok (Morgan Freeman) and granted opportunity to lead the
knights. As a man of integrity Bartok openly opposes Minister Gezza
Mott (Aksel Hennie), this doesn't end up well for him as he loses his
land and riches, amongst other things. Thus the tale of coping and
possible vengeance begins. The premise is far too predictable, more so
if you have watched 47 Ronin, the screenplay almost mirrors one
Clive Owen has the rugged commander look, but he doesn't seem engaging.
I can't help but seeing the solemn Keanu Reeves' persona as neither of
them barely exhibits any meaningful expression. Morgan Freeman is as
dependable as ever, he's charismatic and does pretty much what one
expected. As for the villain, Aksel Hennie performs admirably. He does
seem corrupt, conniving and slightly paranoid. The script gives him
ominous vibe that audience would love to hate.
Supporting cast is oriented towards the mix of European and Asian,
props for the casting department to pull off the eclectic assemble.
They also have some experience in action movies and TV shows overall,
so it's not all obscure faces. The setting puts emphasis on hybrid
culture, architectures and costumes appear to be from ancient Persia
with an oriental touch. It's a quaint atmosphere and presents a few
lavish set pieces. Cinematography uses grayish filter for most of these
areas and outfits, in exception of certain characters or definitive
environment which are more vibrant.
While it looks presentable, the plot may deter some audiences. Its
script tries to engage with intriguing lines, and it's mildly
successful. Unfortunately, the film spends more than half of its
runtime stuttering to find its rhythm. This is made worse by the
outdated screenplay, the plot devices are not only foreseeable, they
are also heavy-handed in execution.
The last act fares better as it offers more polished action sequences,
although there is no surprise twist to be had here. Last Knights is
made from tired elements of the genres, it doesn't do enough for a
fascinating spectacle. However, with a presentable graphic and
production design, it's barely sufficient for a light watch.