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King Arthur

Bruckheimer goes to Britain

In his latest production, Jerry Bruckheimer crosses the Atlantic Ocean to tell the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Few people know much about the tale outside of Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin and the mystical sword Excalibur, so whether the film is faithful to the original story is of little consequence. Either way, the film begins with a voice-over narration that provides plenty of framework to understand the simple story.

The movie wastes no time in getting to its first action sequence. Almost immediately after the opening credits conclude, Arthur and his knights demonstrate their pugilistic prowess by repelling an ambush on a Roman bishop. It is supposed to be their final act of servitude to the Roman Empire. However, upon returning to their outpost, the bishop informs Arthur that in order for the Knights to gain their freedom they must perform one final task: rescue the Pope's godchild from the invading Saxons. This could be considered foreshadowing to the fact that the Romans will fall out of favor with Arthur, but shadowing calls for a bit more subtlety.

It's a bit surprising to find Clive Owen (Croupier, Gosford Park) playing the lead in a major summer blockbuster. While he certainly has a strong screen presence, his previous characters have invariably fallen into the strong, silent category (if I were female, I'd say he has the smoldering-thing happening). However, these aren't the types normally chosen for these types of pictures. Regardless, Owen is quite good portraying Arthur, a man forced to balance his loyalty to the Knights and his duty as a soldier of the Roman Empire.

For the most part, there isn't anything outstanding about the film, good or bad. The action sequences are impressive but certainly not groundbreaking. And while the story isn't awe-inspiring, it is coherent- an accomplishment for any summer blockbuster. There will be several opportunities this summer to spend ten bucks on something less worthwhile.