Last Knight isn’t half bad, but its also half the movie it probably could have been. Commander Raiden (Clive Owen) leader of the seventh battalion was once a man prone to drink and the violence that comes with such a darkened state. Now, years removed from his wayward years Raiden is a first knight, and has been appointed heir to the throne of Bartok (Morgan Freeman).”A man should be praised for his rehabilitation, not judged for it.” says the youngest member of Raiden’s ranks. Little does the young man know that darkness is about to descend on Raiden once again.
Bartok is summoned to the capital city for a meeting with the emperor and his advisor Geeza Mott (Aksel Hennie). An unreasonable tax has been levied against the visiting nobleman, and tensions are running high. The meeting is disastrous, spurned by a perceived lack of loyalty Geeza attacks Bartok leading to standoff and Bartok’s eventual a trial in the corrupt court of the emperors’. The death penalty is assigned and the execution is to be carried out by Raiden. This act devastates the emotionally fragile solider and sends the man into a year-long drunken stupor.
Still haunted by the thought of repercussion, Geeza Mott has Raiden under constant surveillance. One night a chance encounter with his former Lt. Cortez (Cliff Curtis) results in Raiden joining his men in an effort to storm the emperor’s palace and seek retribution for their slain master.
Last Knight plays out as a reasonably intelligent, decidedly old-fashioned, and well-mounted, but lackluster wannabe epic. This is both an overreaching and underachieving production that boasts beautiful location photography, but struggles to find a compelling obstacle for the central villain figure. Freeman’s extended cameo is being sold as second-top billing ala Schwarzenegger in Red Sonja many years ago. At least Arnold made it through that one, Freeman’s Bartok is beheaded 30 minutes in. The fight scenes are staged in a sufficiently exciting manner, and the pic overall is just good enough to make you wish it were a lot better.
Director: Kazuaki Kiriya
Stars: Clive Owen, Morgan Freeman, Cliff Curtis