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Last Knights


Stars: Clive Owen, Morgan Freeman, Aksel Hennie, Rose Caton, Cliff Curtis, Daniel Adegboyeda, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Ayelet Zurer, James Babson, Sung-kee Ahn, Dave Legeno, Peyman Moaadi, Dan Brown, Lee Ingleby

Director: Kaz I Kariya

Set presumably in Czechoslovakia around the 8th century, this is a bleak sword-and-arrow saga, which sees a local lord, Bartok (Freeman), now much diminished albeit still with a strong personal army, journeying to the emperor's palace, with an entourage led by his commander-in-chief, Raiden (Owen), to pay 'tribute' to the cold, ambitious first minster, Geeza Mott (Headhunters' Hennie with a dreadful wig) who, contemptuous of Bartok's 'gift' of a gold cloak, orders his death - with Raiden as the executioner.

While Mott orders his henchmen to keep an eye on Raiden in case of subsequent revenge, the latter sinks into drink and degredation, selling his sword and causing his wife (Zurer) to leave him.

Despite bleached-out photography that renders some scenes almost black and white, the film has its share of action, particularly towards the end when it belatedly develops into early Burt Lancaster stuff, with distinct echoes of The Flame and the Arrow.

Acting is functional, although only Curtis, as Raiden's lieutenant has the authority and gravitas his role requires. And some of the supporting acting, from a very cosmopolitan cast, is as rudimentary as the dubbing on an old, second-rate spaghetti western.

David Quinlan

South Korea/USA/Czech Republic 2014. UK Distributor: Signature. Colour by Panalux.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 13 Apr 2015