Review by Michael Jacobson
Martin Lawrence, Tom Wilkinson, Marsha Thomason
Director: Gil Junger
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 95 Minutes
Release Date: April 16, 2002
the hell is that??”
Lawrence is a funny comedian, but I have yet to see any evidence that he’s
capable of carrying a film by himself. When
paired with another star, like Will Smith in Bad Boys, he seems in fine
form. Going alone, his shtick only
carries so far, despite an obvious eagerness to please.
Black Knight, what we have is a one-joke premise that wears razor thin,
and absolutely nothing we haven’t seen before.
Lawrence plays Jamal “Sky” Walker, a modern day amusement park
employee who gets sucked back into the Middle Ages for some fish-out-of-water
say this for the film…it doesn’t take long to get Jamal back in time and our
story started…maybe ten minutes. As
such, we don’t get to know Jamal very well, nor does Lawrence seem to find his
footing right away. Instead, we get
an opening credit sequence where he mugs mercilessly at the camera while
back in time, neither Jamal nor the residents of the era know what to think of
each other. But he makes two good
acquaintances: Knolte (recent Oscar
nominee Tom Wilkinson), a disgraced former knight, and the lovely Victoria
(Thomason), a chambermaid who is secretly part of a rebellion to lead their
deposed queen back into power against an usurping tyrant.
is, of course, in over his head, but he tries to make do with the situation
while trying to make time with Victoria. Do
you get the feeling that by the time the story is nearing the end that Jamal
will have found it in himself to be the hero he never thought he could be?
One guess. Yes,
“Sky” Walker will be leading the rebellion.
won’t call Black Knight a bad movie, but it certainly isn’t any Connecticut
Yankee, or Army of Darkness for that matter…two similar stories
with a lot more to offer. Lawrence
is likable but unable to elevate the material with his humor and charm.
Obligatory scenes like Jamal trying to use 21st century
know-how to appear as sorcery to the primitive people of the time fall
surprisingly short. Apparently, no
one in the Middle Ages ever choked on their food before.
film is a palatable 90 minute diversion with a handful of laughs and even more
smiles…just don’t be surprised if you don’t give it another thought once
the credits roll.
is a quality anamorphic offering from Fox, which brings the ancient world to
vibrant life before our eyes. The
film lacks the production value of better period films, but no matter…what is
there is offered with terrific, natural looking colors and grain-free, detailed
images unmarred by any compression blemishes.
Both brightly lit and darker sequences render with integrity, save for an
occasional bit of softness in the darkest scenes. Overall, another top notch video presentation from Fox.
horses and swordplay afoot, you’d expect a quality 5.1 offering for Black
Knight, and you get it. This is
a lively, full mix, with plenty of dynamic range from both the action and the
score. Front and rear stages blend
to create smooth and involving battle scenes that keep you in the midst of the
action, with the .1 channel offering the galloping horses and other sequences
the extra bottom-end punch they require. A
very good effort.
extras package is good, starting with a formidable commentary track by director
Gil Junger. He’s a good speaker
who offers his thoughts with modesty and detail, and nothing but praise for his
actors and crew members. You get
the feeling he knew he wasn’t making Beckett, but seemed perfectly okay
with that. There are also two short
scene specific commentaries from Martin Lawrence, which are nice additions.
Production featurettes include a promotional one with Lawrence, Junger,
Wilkinson, Thomason and others giving interviews, plus short ones on the stunts
and the choreography (with Paul Abdul). There
is also a brief outtake reel, some trailers, deleted scenes with optional
commentary, and some storyboard to scene comparisons.