Tuesday 18th January 2022

Kingdom of Heaven (15)
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

For a man who once said he wasn't going to make any more movies, Liam Neeson seems to have been in a lot of stuff lately. This year alone he's in Kinsey, Batman Begins and Ridley Scott's latest epic, in which he plays Godfrey, Baron of Ibelin and father of local chancer Orlando Bloom.

A cast of thousands!
A cast of thousands!

It seems it's compulsory to cast Bloom in any swords and sandal epic these days, and he's beefed up for the role of Balian, the defender of Jerusalem, by packing on 20 pounds of muscle. The film opens with Godfrey travelling from the Promised Land to England to find his son, who is a simple blacksmith whose wife has just committed suicide. With nothing to keep him in the country, Balian leaves with his father to become a Knight in the Kingdom of Heaven (that's Jerusalem to you and me).

However, after an opening battle scene that is reminiscent of Gladiator (bloody sword fight in some snowy English woods) Godfrey is mortally wounded, and passes his title on to his son, making him swear an oath to protect the King and the people of Jerusalem.

And so the film unfolds, with Bloom upholding his promise to his father by saving the holy city and its citizens from slaughter at the hands of Saladin's Saracens (try saying that ten times in a row).

Watching this film, it doesn't take a well respected film critic to see that it has been directed by the same chap who made Gladiator, which is a good thing for me. Disappointingly, though, this story doesn't seem to be as involving as the five times Oscar winner. I'm not sure if it was my surroundings, the mood I was in or the story itself, but I was aware throughout that I was in a cinema watching a film – instead of being caught up in the story, I was a spectator.

Other than that, there is much to admire in Kingdom of Heaven, but without a gripping storyline, and at well over two hours in length, it's not nearly as much of a pleasure to watch as the genre-redefining Gladiator.

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Length: 145 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 6th May 2005

Top Five Rating: 70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0% (70.0%)
User Rating: 75.0%75.0%75.0%75.0%75.0%75.0%75.0%75.0%75.0%75.0% (75.0%)

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