HTF REVIEW: "Black Knight" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Black Knight

    He's About To Get Medieval On You.
    Once in a while a movie comes along that
    is so wittily written and incredibly funny
    that it makes you laugh uncontrollably.
    Uhm....this is not that movie.
    Actually, Black Knight is one of the
    worst comedies I have seen in the past year,
    and perhaps longer. Trust me -- I sat through
    it mostly stone faced without even cracking a
    Times must have been tough at Fox to put this
    black guy goes back to medieval times vehicle
    into production. I am surprised nobody saw the
    train wreck coming.
    Essentially, this tale concerns Jamal Sky
    Walker (Martin Lawrence) who works at a run-down
    amusement park called Medieval World. The Park
    is near financial ruin, and things don't seem to
    be getting better when the competition, Castle
    World, moves in down the street. Jamal could care
    less and encourages the owner to pack up and
    sell the place.
    As Jamal cleans out the park's fake moat, he
    discoverers a medallion floating in the dirty
    water. As he grabs it, Jamal gets sucked into
    1300s England. There doesn't seem to be any
    rhyme or reason for any of this, but hey, this
    movie wastes no time to suck.
    Where were we? Oh, yes, England circa 1300s.
    Just like all your typical fish-out-of-water
    comedies, the humor comes from Jamal’s response
    to his new surroundings. We are supposed to
    laugh at Jamal speaking "jive" to the peasants,
    or in a more embarrassing sequence, teaching the
    King how to boogie on down. The problem is, we
    have seen all this kind of stuff before, and man,
    it just ain't funny!
    The rest of the story concerns a tyrannical king
    who oppresses his subjects; a small group of them
    hope to overthrow him and restore the more kindly
    queen, who has been deposed. Will Jamal stick
    around to help these "funk less" people? I am
    sure you have guessed the ending already.
    How is the transfer?
    I don't see as much of a problem with the
    16X9 enhanced widescreen (1.85:1) transfer as
    I do with the way the movie was filmed. To
    give more authenticity to the period, it looks
    as if Black Knight was filmed quite soft
    intentionally. It just bothers me that most of
    the film looks as if it was shot through a sheer
    cloth. The print looks fantastic, however, and
    you occasionally see some noticeable color peeking
    through the muddiness.
    The 5.1 Dolby surround mix, on the other hand,
    stands out far better than the picture. It
    sounds absolutely terrific. The mix manages to
    remain active throughout the film either giving
    support to Randy Edelman's score, or to the
    sounds of peasants walking on the castle grounds.
    Of course, during the film's so-called action
    sequences, you can here the thunderous stampede
    of horses and slinging arrows crossing the
    sound stage.
    Special Features
    I was surprised so much padding was put into
    this DVD release. There seems to be so much
    effort put into the extra content for a film
    that really doesn't deserve it. However, as
    I got into some of the supplements, I found
    that there was some really interesting material
    Fox has done a nice job with the supplemental
    area, with cute animated title cards that
    introduce each segment.
    The film contains a full-length commentary
    by Director Gil Junger.
    In addition, there are two scene-specific
    commentaries by Martin Lawrence. Martin appears
    in a pop-up window to explain his experience with
    two of the film's key scenes. The first is Jamal
    washing ashore and meeting Knolte (Tom Wilkinson).
    Martin talks about a stunt double being used for
    the lake landing. Martin needs a stunt double to
    go in a lake?! Martin rambles on about meeting
    Tom Wilkinson and their apparent differences not
    only in character, but real-life. A stunt double
    was also used for the scene with Martin trying to
    saddle up a horse. Martin explains he used food
    to coax reactions from the horse in that scene.
    Watching this screen-specific commentary by
    Martin Lawrence makes you wonder what happened
    to the funnyman. He relates the entire commentary
    as if someone just slipped him some no-doze.
    Less than two minutes of outtakes are
    presented for your enjoyment, and it seems as if
    this was possibly the film's wrap party gag reel
    as the outtakes are carefully edited, and
    supplemented with some funny add-ins not intended
    for the film. Truth be told, this extremely short
    eye-blink of outtakes is actually funnier than
    anything in the film itself. I was laughing
    hysterically at Martin leaving his apartment
    and what came next.
    Two Featurettes are included on this
    DVD. The first, A timeless friendship
    gives us Director Gil Junger and Martin Lawrence
    talking about the film's plot. Director Junger
    let Martin have total reign on this film, letting
    him just be himself and improvise for laughs.
    It's sort of sad to see a great British stage
    actor like Tom Wilkinson promote his character
    and this movie. You sort of wonder how much of
    his heart was really put into this movie. On
    location and off-camera, we see Martin cracking
    up the crew. Pratfalls & Parapets, the
    DVDs second featurette, involves the stunt work.
    Stunt Coordinator Ernie Orsatti is seen on the
    set giving Martin Lawrence specific instructions
    for reaction shots as his stunt double does all
    the action work. Martin's experience with
    football and streetfighing brought a lot of
    freshness to scenes of Jamal's 21st century
    impact on 14th century people.
    Each featurette runs about 6 minutes each.
    There are two Storyboard to Scene Comparisons
    presented for the rope-a-dope scene in the forest
    as well as the film's final ending (which I will
    not ruin). The comparisons are done with dual
    windows as storyboard drawings run against the
    final film's cut.
    The highlight of the supplemental area is
    Production Designer Leslie Dilley's tour
    through the Construction of the film's
    castle and villages. The set pieces were
    carefully planned with sketches and pre-models
    before construction. It's fascinating to see
    how a full-size castle (with adjoining village
    built yards away) was created completely from
    scratch. How was it done? You'll see it all
    in this 4-minute segment.
    Three Deleted Scenes are included on
    this DVD. They include...
    * The Nighclub sheds more light on Jamal's
    shady careers and lies as a maniacal fan
    confronts him at a club. His many girlfriends
    confront him about the many fish tales he has
    been telling.
    * Wrapped in bandages, a profusely bleeding
    Jamal approaches the castle gates to report
    an ambush.
    * In a semi-tribute to Braveheart, Knolte gives
    a rousing pre-battle speech to his men as Jamal
    tries to tame the wild black horse.
    None of these deleted scenes are worth the
    effort as they add little to the story in
    either content or humor. You can watch these
    sequences with or without commentary by Director
    Gil Junger.
    And would you believe it? There's more...
    Who knew this movie had a choreographer?
    Who knew that the choreographer would be none
    other than Paula Abdul? In this short 3-minute
    Choreography featurette we watch Paula
    on the set teaching 14th century classical
    dancing. Paula incorporated many dance moves
    from the 1980's into the 14th century style to
    add comedy to the dance scenes. Take after take
    we watch Martin improvise new dance steps adding
    his own unique humor to the big dance number.
    There are two original film trailers
    that use upbeat music and careful editing to
    make a real stinker seem like the year's most
    promising comedy.
    Something I am very happy Fox is doing with
    their latest batch of releases is that they
    are including trailers for upcoming theatrical
    The first is a trailer for Unfaithful,
    which comes from the Director of FATAL ATTRACTION
    and stars Richard Gere. Soprano fans will be
    joyous to see Dominic Chianese (Junior) as a
    hired private detective. The film looks quite
    We are also treated to the same trailer of
    Steven Spielberg's Minority Report that
    also appears on the BEHIND ENEMY LINES DVD.
    Final Thoughts
    So much effort has been given to this Special
    Edition for a film that just doesn't deserve it.
    Black Knight is simply a waste of 90
    minutes and the added material -- though somewhat
    interesting -- doesn't make up for the lost time
    you sat through this movie.
    The one big laugh this film will come at the
    end credits when people realize they wasted
    money on the DVD's purchase.
    Rent it - then forget it!
    Release Date: April 16th
  2. Adam Tyner

    Adam Tyner Screenwriter

    Sep 29, 2000
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  3. JasenP

    JasenP Screenwriter

    Dec 21, 1999
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    Kalamazoo, MI
    Real Name:
  4. Haywood

    Haywood Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 12, 2000
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    Ron that was really an bitterly honest review.[​IMG] I really like Martin but from this review you have me wondering if this is even worth a rental.
    Later Haywood [​IMG]
  5. David Tolsky

    David Tolsky Supporting Actor

    Sep 3, 1999
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    Ouch, I was going to bring a copy of this review to Gil Junger tomorrow (I am currently working with him on a tv pilot called 8 Simple Rules. After reading this I think I'll take a pass [​IMG]
  6. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

    Apr 19, 2000
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  7. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

    Dec 4, 2001
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    Consider this DVD avoided. Won't even bother looking at it after being subjected to 'Big Momma's House'.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Now that was a stinker...I assume that 'Black Knight' is even worse after seeing the preview trailer.
  8. rodney wiley

    rodney wiley Second Unit

    Nov 23, 2001
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    [​IMG] I must admit this is not one of Martins best movies. I was also not impressed with the transfer. Going through the extras I was very shocked as well as upset that trailer 1 had a better picture that the entire film. Also a question... at the end of the credits a DTS logo appears. Does this mean that there was a DTS mix in theaters? If so why not the dvd. Yes I bought this and it will go on my never watch again shelf along with Bats and Rat race. The only good point....excellent 5.1 mix!!
  9. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

    Oct 5, 1999
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  10. Troy_M

    Troy_M Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 22, 2002
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    I must say, I love Martin, I think he is one of the funniest comedians out there. But I would have to say this movie sucked almost as bad as Batman and Robin. This really isn't even worth a rental. I tried to enjoy it but I just couldn't. It seems like Martin just can't get in a really good comedy. The only good(to me at least) movies Martin has done, are Blue Streak, Bad Boys, and Nothing to Lose.
  11. Duane Robinson

    Duane Robinson Second Unit

    Mar 26, 2001
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    To me, the best movie Martin has been in was Life with Eddie Murphy. Come to think of it, this was also one of the funniest movies that Eddie Murphy has recently been in. Maybe they need to team up more often when looking at scripts since individually it seems like they can't differentiate between a good script and a warm bagel.

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