A fallen swordsman (Clive Owen) leads a small army against a sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master (Morgan Freeman).
Clive Owen is one of those surprise actors. He doesn't really have the best emotional span when it comes to characters, but honor, discipline, and destitution he does well. While his face does very little, his eyes speak volumes. Morgan Freeman's role in this movie reminds me more of 'Yoda' than of a Lord, but he really was a minor character (despite being a large plot point)
The film is both frustrating and satisfying. You immediately become a fan of the knights in this film, fighting for honor and their master, uninfluenced by the outside world. And yet almost immediately everything is ripped away, without a true fight. I honestly as a viewer felt ripped off. I was wanting action. I was expecting a climactic last stand, such as I come to expect from the likes of 'The Alamo', 'Lord of the Rings', 'The Last Samurai', '47 Ronin', and '300'. Instead, I'm forced to watch families and fighters become disavowed, torn apart, lacking direction.
In fact, I was unsure exactly what I was watching. The film lost a lot of its momentum for a while, as it followed the downfall and disgrace of the protagonist, as he returned to the state that he was in before becoming a 'retainer', and the increasing paranoia of the corrupt Minister. Eventually, some of the random assortments of shots began to link together into something that furthered the plot, and it ended in the predictable fashion, while not unimpeded.
Overall, there was no point to the film. While the protagonist completed his objective, there was no real reversal of punishments, and I imagine the world will still carry on as it did, once the action ended. Unfortunately too much time was spent on the middle portion of the film, where nothing really happened. While I can see why emphasis was placed on this part (it even had me fooled initially), it still fell shot when it comes to entertainment value. Even if there had just been some more action beforehand, at the start of the film, just to sway the film to the point of having more action than inaction.
Clive Owen was extremely convincing in his role. The overall plot let him down.
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