Wednesday, February 26, 2014
BLACK KNIGHT (2001)
Directed By: Gil Junger
Written By: Darryl J. Quarles, Peter Caulke & Gerry Swallow
Cinematography By: Ueli Steiger
Editor: Michael R. Miller
Music By: Randy Edelman
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Tom Wilkinson, Kevin Conway, Daryl Mitchell, Marsha Thomason, Vincent Regan
This is the story an amusement park employee named Jamal Walker who is magically transported back to medieval times in 14th-century England. There, Jamal meets Sir Knolte, a dissolute knight, before he stumbles into the court of the usurper King Leo. Jamal is impressed by what he thinks is the realism of the theme park; only after witnessing a gory beheading does he realize, with horror, where he really is. Jamal encounters the beautiful Victoria who is scheming to return the queen to the throne, and falls afoul of the evil Sir Percival. Joining forces with Sir Knolte and Victoria, Jamal teaches the rebels some helpful football, golfing, and boxing moves, before he dons the armor of the awesome "Black Knight"!
This is more of a comedy for children with more adult moments. It might even be more suitable for teens rather than families. As the film treads lightly, but the antics feel more at home In a children's film.
Chris Tucker was originally supposed to star in this film and dropped out last minute. Maybe he could feel this was not a good showcase of his talents. More of a basic high concept low budget comedy. Not all that inventive and something you've seen before. It would be just another studio assembly line film. That can be said of many comedies. The performances are what make them work as their storylines are rather thin, but the performers inhabit the film with personality that make them not only entertaining, but memorable.
Replacing tucker with Martin Lawrence only made this film seem like another assembly line film or another addition to his usual type of fish out of water comedies. F.Gary Grey (FRIDAY) also dropped out of directing the film.
Martin Lawrence is funny and is usually best playing larger than life over the top characters with a lot of physical comedy. His strength is also when he is allowed to perform no holds barred, no rules comedy. He can be as dirty as he wants To be like classic Eddie Murphy. While good in more family friendly comedies. He usually feels neutered by the borders and dimensions. He is only allowed to work in.
There are generally a few laughs, but the film is utterly disposable and while the ending leaves room for a sequel or series of films. The CGI is so bad it is unintentionally ridiculous.
It's obviously a paycheck role for Mr. Lawrence more than anything. And his career wasn't blossoming at the time, but Tom Wilkinson co-stars in this film around the same year that he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for the film IN THE BEDROOM
It's a good enough time waster lurker to no style though it loves forward and tries to make the best of things. Though Lawrence is definitely better then the material he is left to work with here. In a role that anyone with comedic timing could really have played.