“Nothing. [walks away] Everything!” – Saladin
Number of Times Seen – Twice (22 Apr 2008 and 30 Jun 2020)
Brief Synopsis – A French blacksmith joins the Crusades in order to cleanse his soul of his past deeds.
My Take on it – This is a film that I saw over twelve years ago and despite usually enjoying epics by Ridley Scott, I couldn’t recall enough of this film or its plot.
The story is a very intriguing one yet they fail to make it work on a level that would make it more powerful to watch unfold.
The cast is quite good with Orlando Bloom showing that he can be a leading man and not just a supporting one yet his characters comes across as being too bland.
Liam Neeson is great in the mentor capacity that he has taken on often, but doesn’t manage to stand out at all because his character is underused.
The story is told in epic fashion and the battle scenes are choreographed really well and come across in a realistic manner.
The story tries to bridge the gap between the various religions seeking sovereignty over the Holy City but they unfortunately fail to look at it all on a deeper level which is a missed opportunity because they keep it far too superficial.
The Director’s Cut of this film helps tell a grander story yet it’s a bit too long and ends up having far too many slow scenes along the way which hurts things a bit.
Bottom Line – Interesting idea that doesn’t work as well as one might hope. The story is definitely told in epic Scott fashion, yet there is an element missing that would help make us care more about the characters. The battle scenes are choreographed really well and things definitely come across quite realistic. The culture clashes in the Holy City aren’t explained on a deeper level and that hurts things because too much is left unexplained. The Director’s Cut definitely makes more sense than the theatrical one but it is overlong and drags along far too much for it to be more effective.
MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – King Mohamed VI of Morocco is a friend of Ridley Scott, and personally provided the production with a detachment of 1,500 military personnel and equipment; often these personnel depicted both Christian and Muslim armies, with simply a change of costume, and a shift in location between scenes. (From IMDB)
Rating – BAFTA Worthy (6/10)
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