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Black Knight

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Black Knight

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Gil Junger
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: November 2001
Genres: Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Kevin Conway, Dikran Tulaine, Erik Jensen, Marsha Thomason

Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4

In this very loose adaptation of Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," Martin Lawrence stars as Jamal Walker who works in Medieval World amusement park. One day, after getting hit on the head and falling into the fetid castle moat, he unexpectedly finds himself in feudal 14th century England. But unlike Twain's 1889 Camelot classic, there's no King Arthur, Merlin or even Knights of the Round Table. Instead, writers Darryl Quarles ("Big Momma's House"), Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow, along with director Gil Junger, emphasize the fish-out-of-water riff. And the historical hallucinatory set-up is funny as Jamal befriends Sir Knolte (British actor Tom Wilkinson), a once-legendary but now decrepit knight, and falls in love with feisty, wily and willful Victoria (British actress Marsha Thompson), while antagonizing Percival (British actor Vincent Regan), a villainous knight who wants to crush the peasant rebellion against an evil, illegitimate monarch (Kevin Conway). While Lawrence, a swaggering dude from the 'hood in a bright green football jersey, repeatedly identifies himself as "Sir Skywalker," the peasants dub him "The Black Knight" as he trains his new "army" in football and wrestling techniques in order so they can conquer Percival and his armor-clad cohorts. Originally, Chris Tucker was cast as the street-smart Jamal but Martin Lawrence easily adapts the role to his own sharply distinctive style of inventive, improvisational comedy which includes repetitive contemporary slang, profanity and jiving dance moves. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Black Knight" is a grooving 5. It's a vulgar version of "A Knight's Tale" in that both are lightweight medieval comedies in which the sad-sack protagonist is eventually proclaimed a hero.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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