Rating: R for strong violence and bloodshed
Run Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes
Underwhelming is the first word that comes to mind when pondering summerís first big release.† Dull is a close second.
Epics are a tough call.† Hordes of swarming soldiers (typically computerized), exotic locations and the exacting detail of costumes, weaponry and jewelry brought together to recreate the magic. History imparted (and often manipulated) as a vision of right vs. wrong and good vs. evil.
Not so in Ridley Scottís bewildering ode to the 12th century Crusades, a mishmash of battle scenes and tenuous relationships that calls for LOTR heartthrob Orlando Bloom to save the day in a rags-to-riches hurry.
Bloom is disillusioned French blacksmith Balian, in the depths of despair over his wifeís suicide and the death of the coupleís infant son.† Fierce anger is coursing through his veins until the fateful day that Godless Balian finds himself face to face with a stranger (Liam Neeson as Godfrey) who claims to be his father.
With nothing to lose Balian sets out with Godfrey and his band of merry men on a journey to parts unknown. An unhappy encounter with the local law leaves Godfrey on his death bed and Balian (now Balian of Ibelin) heir to his Lordship and his dream.
consists of turning a parcel of earth in
amongst the Muslims the details get fuzzy.†
Balian is an unlikely defender of the
†The siege of
Perhaps Scott would have fared better with a cast of hungry unknowns bringing this gritty historical chapter to life.† Iím tired of Gleeson, Jeremy Irons and David Thewlis in period pieces that scream bloody warfare.† Only Csokas as the malevolently ambitious Lusignan and Ghassan Massoud as Saracen kingpin Saladin step out of the box and give the script a run for its money.
striving for that he-man quality so woefully lacking in Legolas and
To give credit where credit is due Kingdom is dripping with atmosphere. Its players offer serious purpose to their tragic moment in history and the dress code is fashionably de rigueur. But the Crusades are a tough sell; I was bored and more than a little perplexed by this unwieldy and lackluster project.†