ACTION MAN: Charlie Hunnam in a scene from the movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
ACTION MAN: Charlie Hunnam in a scene from the movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Warner Bros Pictures

MOVIE REVIEW: Lock, Stock and one magic sword

THE legend of Camelot meets the cockney crims of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Unfortunately for director Guy Ritchie, it's a combination that just doesn't work particularly well.

Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) stars as Arthur, a street-tough hustler raised by sex workers with no idea he's the son of the former king.

When his father's magic sword Excalibur reappears in Camelot, Arthur is one of the young men brought to the castle to try and pull the sword from its stone. Shocking everyone (except the audience) he does.

Of course the current king, Arthur's evil uncle Vortigern (Jude Law), isn't happy about this, and tries to have him executed.

Having Guy Ritchie direct a "modern” reinterpretation of King Arthur probably sounded like a good idea at the time - after all, he did the same thing with great success with his Sherlock Holmes movies a few years ago.

But Ritchie's specific style of filmmaking - full of fast-talking likely lads ala Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000) - is a bit of a strange fit with the mediaeval fantasy of the Knights of the Round Table.

There's even a bit of Lord of the Rings thrown in - including some giant demon elephants in the opening battle - and a bit of superhero movie in the Excalibur-wielding fight scenes.

Cast-wise, Jude Law rises above some pretty average material as the evil King Vortigern and Aussie Eric Bana is also great, but unfortunately only seen briefly as Arthur's dad Uther Pendragon. Arthur himself (Charlie Hunnam) isn't bad, but he may have been better sticking to TV like Sons of Anarchy.

King Arthur was envisioned to be the first of a series, and it suffers for it, with characters like Lancelot, Guinevere and Merlin nowhere in sight - presumably saved for future sequels.

The movie's fun, but ultimately a bit of a mess. It'd make a great video game though.

Reviewer: Matthew Pearce



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