Initially I was surprised at the almost complete lack of buzz for Last Knights. It has Morgan Freeman in it so what could go wrong, right? Yet in spite of having both an actor of legendary status such as Freeman, well-known actor Clive Owen, and some pretty nice action scenes somehow the film manages to be uninspired. Read further to find out why.
How could one not be drawn by the likes of Morgan Freeman? In fact I dare say he is the main reason to partake in viewing Last Knights. He plays Bartok, a once respected nobleman who quickly becomes a pariah in the eyes of the emperor and his court for his unwillingness to submit to cruelly high taxes placed upon his lands. In his short time on screen, Bartok makes two impressive, engaging speeches that pop out to the audience concerning his plan for who to pass his legacy to following his death and his public defense of himself to the emperor following a crime charged upon himself. The main complaint about Freeman his role ended so soon! Bartok was easily the most engaging of the film’s characters.
Clive Owen gives a believing and gripping performance as Raiden, the stoic knight gripped with guilt over the circumstances surrounding his master’s death. However, the storyline is predictable enough to tell that soon enough Raiden will pick himself up by his boot straps and lead the men that are still loyal to him in what proved to be a well crafted storming-of-the-castle scene in revolt of the wicked empire. The main issue with that is he took so long to do so! He spent so much time spiraling downward into grief and self-destruction it brought the storyline to a dragging pace.
One thing that I did find interesting about the project overall is the multicultural appeal. The setting is an fictional place with a kind of Asian-English-Roman fusion. Furthermore, there are cast and staff from all walks starting with the Japanese director Kazuaki Kiriya. The actors represent such countries as the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Iran, Israel, South Korea and probably more. Taking that into account and the fact that it was shot in the Czech Republic, the film should draw some interest from various parts of the globe.