Jamal Sky Walker (Martin Lawrence) works at the Medieval World theme park, which is threatened by the imminent opening of Castle World nearby. But a strange accident lands Jamal in the King’s court in 14th century England, where the rightful but ousted Queen is waiting in the wings. The rebels recognise Jamal as one of their own, but Jamal is a reluctant knight.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It’s a safe bet that this movie is a money laundering exercise. Either that, or the producers accidentally approved the wrong script . . . or maybe it’s just a serious error of judgement by all concerned, especially Tom Wilkinson, who is being hailed as a superlative actor for his work as Matt Fowler of In the Bedroom, as Black Knight is about to open in Australia. This is a woeful concept that has mysteriously managed to survive the script conferences, when presumably the attendees fell about laughing at the idea of a black comedian playing a sort of reluctant modern hero thrust into the past, who then parades as a fearsome Black Knight but ends up falling off his horse. That last bit is funny. To put it kindly, Martin Lawrence has not found the right cinematic vehicle for himself here, playing a buffoon landed in a time warped (and very small) England. It’s pointless enunciating the many flaws in the film (starting with the name Jamal Sky Walker…), but as a general overview, they begin and end with the script. It’s not funny. There are a few weak jokes and splendid production design, lots of silly business – and a plastic ending.
Review by Louise Keller:
If you are a Martin Lawrence fan and you have an uncontrollable urge for the ridiculous, you may be attracted by Black Knight, a flimsy time-warp flick. But don't expect too much and don't expect to clutch your stomach while you roll over on the floor in stitches; it's not that funny. The attempt at humour relies on the situation and ridiculous antics from this comedic star who excels at playing himself. But the script falls extremely short, and Black Knight is really a bit of a bore. This is not a low budget film; a whole heap of money has been thrown at it and the production, performances and score are tops. In fact the music score could fit beautifully in a very different kind of film. It's lyrical, melodic and rousing and is the total antithesis of the film. Martin Lawrence does little except play Martin Lawrence. He is hyper, high energy and delivers pretty much what you expect. He's crass, says 'damn' a lot, plays the jester, charms the ladies and wields a sword - badly. Oh yeah, he plays chess too – of course. Plus there's a lot of Tom-Foolery, and I'm not referring to the talented Tom Wilkinson, who, surprisingly, is in this film. You may rub your eyes in disbelief when you see him – I certainly did! But Wilkinson, just like the rest of the cast, does the best he can with the material at hand. It just goes to show how plenty of talent does not necessarily reflect the totality. Black Knight is ultimately a disappointment, unless your idea of chilling out is extremely undemanding.
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BLACK KNIGHT (M)
CAST: Martin Lawrence, Marsha Thomason, Tom Wilkinson, Vincent Regan, Kevin Conway
PRODUCER: Michael Green, Arnon Milchan, Paul Schiff
DIRECTOR: Gil Junger
SCRIPT: Darryl Quarles, Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ueli Steiger
EDITOR: Michael R. Miller
MUSIC: Randy Edelman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Leslie Dilley
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 4, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Home Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: September 25, 2002