Tuesday 18th January 2022

King Arthur (12A)
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
Clive Owen and his band of merry men
Clive Owen and his band of merry men

Following the discovery of evidence that could reveal the identity of the real King Arthur, powerful producer Jerry Bruckheimer has decided to make a film chronicling the true story of Arthur, and this is it - except it isn't. You may have already heard that several respected historians are up in arms at the liberties the filmmakers have taken with the facts at their disposal and it's obvious watching the film that, if this is indeed a true story, it is remarkable how well it fits with the Hollywood template for a film of this type.

The story, for those of you who are still interested, involves Clive Owen (Croupier, Gosford Park) as Arthur and a bunch of knights (including Ray Winstone) who work for the Roman army, but long for their freedom. After 15 years of service, the knights are told they need to go on one final mission to rescue a Roman family from northern Britain before Saxon invaders raze their village to the ground.

Arthur and his knights travel north, fighting off Merlin and his Woads along the way, grab the aforementioned family and preach to the serfs about how people should be born free, and then fight their way back home. Then they have a really big fight, and during all this, Arthur and Guinevere (Keira Knightley) fall in love.

Clive Owen is a fine actor who has really shone in his previous roles, but it seems as though he's been poorly cast here and he struggles with the cheesy, melodramatic lines in this film as though his heart really wasn't in it. The fabled love story between Guinevere and Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd, pronounced Yo-an Griffith) is understated at best and non-existent at worst.

It seems to me that this "true story" is really an excuse to take a generic swords and sandals epic, name the characters after legendary figures and sell it to the unsuspecting public. Luckily, we're not as daft as Mr Bruckheimer clearly thinks we are.

Apparently, Michael Bay developed this project for 5 years, but decided not to direct it due to budget constraints (he couldn't afford to blow up enough stuff presumably) and as he's the man behind Pearl Harbour and Armageddon, you can perhaps see how this film has gone a bit Troy. It's certainly not going to challenge Spider-man 2 as the action picture of the summer.

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Length: 130 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 30th July 2004

Top Five Rating: 50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0% (50.0%)
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