This movie puts a new slant on the legendary tale of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. Arthur (Clive Owen) is a Roman commander based in southern Britain. He commands the famous knights who are from a distant land but who are forced to fight for the Romans in Britain. Arthur learns that the Romans are to pull out of Britain as the Saxons invade from the north. He and his knights are given one last mission which is to rescue a Roman family who live north of Hadrian’s Wall. The area is about to be overrun by the Saxon armies who will slaughter all in their way.
The movie claims that this new version of King Arthur is based on recently discovered archaeological evidence. In spite of this attempt at authenticity this movie is nothing move than a ‘popcorn’ action/adventure that inevitably culminates into the big battle scene. We’ve seen it done before in Braveheart, First Knight, The Patriot and Troy but these types of movies have there place and they can be a bit of escapism and fun to watch. The action and fight scenes are very well done and the story manages to hold the interest to the final battle scene which is very well choreographed and filmed.
The concept of, all men are born free, is broached and we see Arthur, the Roman commander, struggling with the desire to be loyal to Rome and the desire to defend the weak and needy. This subject is dealt with a little heavy-handed and there are some monologues from Arthur (Clive Owen) that aren’t really convincing.
The knights have been forced to fight for the Romans for a term of 15 years. This was due to the fact that their forefathers had been spared death at the hands of the Romans after a great battle many years earlier. The knights are a motley crew who have no loyalty to Rome or Britain. The only one who can lead them is Arthur. The conversations between the knights are quite funny as they make fun of each other and fool around, in between battles.
The character of Guinevere (Keira Knightley) has been spiced up. She is portrayed as a tough, independent warrior. Guinevere is no Legolas but she is still fairly handy with a bow and arrow!
Bottom Line: Good medieval action movie that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you don’t enjoy movies like Braveheart, Troy or The Last Samurai this isn’t for you.