The last time Clive Owen saddled-up for some medieval Knight action was the Antoine Fuqua directed, Jerry Bruckheimer produced King Arthur. The budget may be lower but the results are pretty much the same for Last Knights. This is a stylish but soulless affair that should be great, but sadly it never truly engages in the way that it should. Kazuaki Kiriya’s film sees Owen star as Raiden, the leader of a band of knights seeking revenge once their master (Morgan Freeman) is killed. Aksel Hennie plays Gezza Mott, the weedy politician who set Raiden’s plan of retribution in motion.
Shot in the Czech Republic, Last Knights features an eclectic cast which must have sent acting agents into a fever worldwide. Brit Owen stands amongst American Freeman, New Zealnder Cliff Curtis, Norwegian Hennier and Israeli born Ayelet Zurer. The film is loosely based on the legendary tale of the 47 Ronin but the smorgasbord of casting and oriental setting means that Last Knights is set in a medieval nether world which feels like it was ripped from the pages of a Robert E. Howard tale. However the sombre tone means that the film just isn’t fun. This should have been a boy’s own adventure filled with epic heroism but instead we’re left with a dour looking Clive Owen who looks like he’s more interested in Kiriya calling ‘cut’ than the plot.
Kazuaki Kiriya hasn’t delivered a bad film but it lacks the wit to make it an engaging piece of entertainment. Morgan Freeman does his usual wise sage paycheck thing, while Clive Owen is woefully miscast as the noble hero. The only person who appears to be having any fun is Aksel Hennie but his camp villain appears to be ported over from a totally different film. There’s a large portion of the film’s second act which meanders aimlessly when it should be propelling the film forward and it kills the momentum of the opening, making it feel more like a pilot episode to a Game Of Thrones wannabe television series.
Last Knights could have been a corking old fashioned actioner filled with high adventure. What you get is a good looking film with solid action sequences but no heart. You’ll want to love it but you’ll end up trying to remember Last Knights.