Are you yearning for a quick fix of medieval feudalism, political intrigue and glowering men in leather jerkins, but can’t bring yourself to stump up the subscription fee to watch the new ‘Game of Thrones’ series? Reckon those ‘Lord of the Rings’ films were a bit girly and elf-centric? Been booted out of the battle re-enactment society for excessive enthusiasm? Then ‘Last Knights’ is the movie for you.
Clive Owen gruffly channels Sean Bean (minus the accent, sadly) as Raiden, trusted lieutenant to Lord Bartok (Morgan Freeman), and last of an noble band of courtly warriors. When the cruel Imperial overseer Gezza Mott (Aksel Hennie) calls both men to the capital (this is one of those fantasy worlds where the capital is just called ‘the capital’), Raiden suspects that they’re walking into a trap. And so it proves...
This is an unrelentingly dour take on the fantasy genre, ditching the wizards, dragons and rampant nudity – aka, the fun stuff – in favour of grit, grime and lengthy scenes of bad-tempered men in brown cloaks trying to hack each other’s limbs off.
Japanese director Kazuaki Kiriya brings a neat edge of samurai chic to the proceedings, and his decision to largely avoid CGI in favour of real-world landscapes is to be applauded. But it’s all so drab and predictable, grimly trudging through the motions and offering nothing new to an already overworked genre.