Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, released in 1998, was director Guy Ritchies first feature length film and has immediately established itself as classic film, it’s still comfortably inside IMDB’s top 250 to this day and defiantly worth a watch.
When Ritchie followed it up in 2000 with Snatch, starring Brad Pitt which is still currently in IMDB’s top 100 it seemed that we were witnessing the arrival of a new legendary director, with a knack for juggling multiple plot lines, huge casts of characters with a distinctive look and feel to his films.
But we weren’t because Ritchie never made a great film again.
His next two films (Swept Away and Revolver) were unwatchable, but he momentarily reclaimed something akin to his former glory with RocknRolla the first in a seemingly never to be completed trilogy.
Then, someone very brave, looked at a director known for making low budget crime films and decided to give him $90 million and to make Sherlock Holmes which did pretty well, making back 524 million,
Similar returns awaited Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows but Ritchie scored one of the biggest bombs of all time in 2015’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and has now been given 175 million dollars to horrifically mutilate the story of King Arthur. And this is just the first in a planned series of 6 films in what I will be calling the ‘Arthurverse’.
That’s assuming that there are sequels which, if there is a merciful God, there won’t be. But, because it’s the job of the first film in a franchise to set up story threads which will be resolved in future films, here are some questions that I hope they will address in the never-to-be-made-ever-ever-ever-sequel
I’ll start with the easy questions. I want the the Casting Directors name, rank, serial number and home address because I will find him and I will make sure that he never again so much as watches a film. I mean who’s was it to cast Jude Law as a a brooding, tortured, menacing character? Who decided that Charlie Hunnam was an actor instead of an underwear model? In 2017 how is it acceptable that pretty much the only female character has literally no name? Seriously, her IMDB credit is simply ‘The Mage.’ And the actress playing her has either never interacted with a ‘human being’ before or was she deliberately told to deliver more wooden acting than someone in a Shamalan film?
To that end, why is David Beckham giving the best performance in this film? He’s awful and appalling but he’s the only actor who looks like he’s actually trying, Hunnam looks confused, Law just looks lost and as for Mage? I think she’s just trying to puzzle out the strange grunts these bizarre two legged creatures use to communicate.
Similarly, was the fight choreographer hired at an anti-violence protest for cripples? Or have they only heard of violence by rough description? And no, hyper-editing everything does nothing to hide the fact that most of the people killed in the ‘sword fights’ died from the hyper lethal ‘stabbed under the armpit’ method that I thought had died out in the ’70’s.
And for that matter, where exactly is Merlin? I would have thought he would be extremely important in a !~”!”£! King Arthur film! Especially one where Arthur needs a mentor! What exactly are Excallibers abilities other than whatever the plot requires? Why does one side only realize that they can create giant snake monsters at the end of the film? I would have thought that would be the first (and probably last) move that you would need in a fight. And what the hell are the Siren like things that Law keeps down in the basement and where did they come from? What… is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow? Can that either African or European Swallow carry a coconut? How did a street urchin learn to use a sword? There’s a dojo so we know how he learned to fistfight but why is there a dojo in medieval England? Why did they use CGI to enhance Keira Knightley’s bust? Why does Ritchie seem confused as to whether he’s making a gritty King Arthur reboot or a gritty Robin Hood reboot?Are strange women lying in ponds distributing swords a basis for a strong and stable system of government? Why does medieval England have access to black powder but no guns? Why is a better Assassins Creed movie than the actual Assassins Creed movie? Why do you hire a great actor in Eric Bana and then only use him for 5 minutes when he would have crushed it as the villain? And most importantly, is this film so tragic and pathetic and forgettable that i’m possibly getting it mixed up with other, better tellings of the King Arthur Legend?
A waste from beginning to end, there is nothing to recommend in this dull, grey, poorly cast, acted, plotted, shot and over-edited mess.
My Score- Fire. AVOID AT ALL COSTS!