A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Last Knights is a medieval action movie centered on revenge. There's lots of fighting with swords and bows and arrows, as well as bloody wounds, neck slicing, beheading, and some violence toward women. Some kissing is shown (the main character kisses a woman who isn't his wife), and there are suggestions of nudity and some innuendo. The main character is said to be a recovering drinker, and he seems to start drinking again, but it may be a deception (part of a secret plan). Some scenes take place in taverns, with social drinking. Though the cast is excellent (and notably diverse), the movie is quite dull; it reportedly sat on the shelf for a while before being released.
What's the story?
In what appears to be medieval times, 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 the ruler 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.
Is it any good?
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 United States, the United Kingdom, Iran, Israel, Norway, New Zealand, etc. -- but aside from appearances, the movie doesn't use its diversity in any meaningful way. Instead, it becomes a dreadfully boring slog that takes itself far too seriously.
For a while, the excellent cast helps keep things afloat with their performances; Freeman and Owen in particular seem to have a strong bond. But when Freeman leaves the story, things get 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 gets dull. Then the final battle is a mushy, gray blur. It's a shame that good actors like Shohreh Aghdashloo, Cliff Curtis, Moaadi, and the others have so very little to do here. The audience has even less.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Last Knights' violence. Is it thrilling or disturbing? What's the difference? Do you think all of it is necessary to the story?
Does the main character seem to have a drinking problem? How can you tell? What impact does that have on the story?
Does the movie seem to be taking place in the real world? How do various cultures interact in this movie? Did you notice any stereotypes?
What's the appeal of stories that take place in "medieval" times?
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