Combustible Celluloid
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With: Clive Owen, Morgan Freeman, Aksel Hennie, Cliff Curtis, Peyman Moaadi, Ayelet Zurer, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ahn Sung-ki
Written by: Michael Konyves, Dove Sussman
Directed by: Kazuaki Kiriya
MPAA Rating: R for some violence
Running Time: 115
Date: 04/03/2015

Last Knights (2015)

1 Star (out of 4)

Endless 'Knights'

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Japanese filmmaker Kazuaki Kiriya, Last Knights starts off promisingly, taking place in a land where many different cultures comfortably interact. The cast comes from the USA, the UK, Iran, Israel, Norway, New Zealand, etc., but aside from appearances, the movie doesn't use this theme in any meaningful way. Instead, it becomes a dreadfully boring slog that takes itself way too seriously.

In medieval times, a troubled warrior, Raiden (Clive Owen), has been taken in by a kind and benevolent master, Bartok (Morgan Freeman). When summoned to see the emperor (Peyman Moaadi), Bartok not only refuses to give him a bribe, but also speaks out against the emperor's injustices. At the suggestion of the emperor's vindictive right-hand man, Geza Mott (Aksel Hennie), Raiden is forced to kill Bartok. Geza Mott expects Raiden to seek revenge, and becomes obsessed by it, but Raiden simply appears to be drinking the days away; news even arrives that he has sold his sword. But when Geza Mott finally relaxes his guard, Raiden and his men unleash their long-gestating plan.

For a while, the excellent cast helps keep things afloat with their performances; Morgan Freeman and Clive Owen in particular seem to have a good bond. But when Freeman leaves the story, things become terribly slow and creaky. The filmmakers try to keep Raiden's "brilliant" plan a secret from the audience so that it comes as a "surprise," but because it's a waiting game, it just grows dull. Then the final battle is a mushy, gray blur. It's a shame that good actors like Shohreh Aghdashloo, Cliff Curtis, Peyman Moaadi, and the others have so very little to do here. The audience has even less.

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