ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  gil junger

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  95 minutes

RELEASED  -  21 november 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  black knight

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $50,000,000
black knight - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from black knight at

buy the dvd from black knight at

martin lawrence plays jamal, an employee in medieval world amusement park. after sustaining a blow to the head, he awakens to find himself in 14th century england.

this film was originally supposed to star chris tucker, but he dropped out to do rush hour 2 instead.


picture from black knight

picture from black knight

picture from black knight


two out of four possible stars

Although the story isn't always the most unique or creative part of this film, Martin Lawrence fills this movie with enough comedy to overcome this shortfall. This film was marketed mainly as a Martin Lawrence laugher and it measures up well to that expectation. Lawrence is known for his unique brand of physical humor, and, in the past it has served him well. And in this film, it's more the way he delivers his lines than the lines he's actually saying, that makes the scenes funny.

Of course, one has to make somewhat more of an effort to suspend one's disbelief for this film to work entirely. I suggest just watching it and laughing, instead of trying to take the story seriously. The plot, based on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is familiar enough, but some of the changes they've made in the story don't make a lot of sense. For example, for the first half hour or so, when Lawrence gets dumped into fourteenth century England, there are no comments on Lawrence's outfit. he's dressed in a flashy football jersey that has nothing in common with fourteenth century dress. And yet, none of the villagers had anything to say about his outfit. this and other strange inconsistencies in the way the twenty-first century Lawrence is treated by the fourteenth century people made some parts unbelievable.

Like i said before, this hour and a half film is really just a forum for Martin Lawrence to do his comedic dance. And most of the time, he's pretty funny. Though the "black man from the hood" routine has been done a few times before. In fact, it's been done for a couple of decades. So this picture owes most of its success to Martin Lawrence. The film has been constructed around him and he's usually able to save the day. Comedic wise, anyway. Because sometimes the fish-out-of-water story runs a little thin. It's up to Lawrence to take a one joke film and make it an hour and half affair.

The supporting cast around Lawrence doesn't have any stand-out stars, but no one falls short of a satisfactory performance. In fact, the cast for this film is quite large. There are many speaking parts and sometimes it's confusing as to who's who in the film. Perhaps it's because everybody was dressed in that medieval garb. One thing that was interesting though was the way the extras for the film looked so multicultural. Not only were there several black people (who were obviously supposed to be "Moors" from Africa), but there were also Latino and Asian people throughout the film. Now, I'm no expert on English history, but i had no idea that Britain was such a melting pot seven hundred years ago.

Perhaps the changing of the racial make-up of medieval England was a decision made to get more multi-cultural people in the audience, so perhaps it was a good thing. It might not be historically accvrate, but at least it's trying to appeal to a wide audience. Of course, this is the type of film that would be best enjoyed by fans of Martin Lawrence. Since he is commanding twenty million dollars a picture now, it seems that his fan base has grown over the past few years. And though the humor in this film is by no means subtle, it'll cause more than a few laughs from the audience. The script is not genius, but there are a few lines that just had me rolling in the aisles.

For example, when Lawrence's character is talking about his friends in "the hood" to one of his fourteenth century co-stars, he says something like "my brother would wear a manhole cover if he could find a chain big enough." Now, this is probably one of the most stereotypical comments in the film, but, having a black actor say the line made it all the more funny. some of lawrence's comedy tends to be on the cliche side, but that doesn't mean it's not funny.

Perhaps a few words now on the story. Though it's not the main focus of the film in this case (it's Martin Lawrence), more could have been done to create a story that was viable for the entire hour and a half. The comedy sometimes was not enough to keep the film going after about an hour into the film. Sure, it was predictable as hell, and sometimes i even knew what words would come out of the characters' mouths before they said them, but maybe if the movie had moved faster or the script had thrown the audience a few curve balls, it wouldn't have been so dependent on Lawrence's ability to create some laughs.

The people responsible for the script for this film were obviously not concerned with creating a film that would be admired both for its comedy and for being unique. But it's hard to criticize a film for its lack of story development when it's clear that the marketing for this film didn't involve any thought about the story. It was really just an hour and a half of Martin Lawrence stand-up. Which wasn't always so bad. Most of the time, Lawrence was able to perform his trademark comedy and make the audience laugh without requiring them to think. This film is probably better for its value as escapism entertainment than any brainy contribution to the art of filmmaking.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs 20th century fox 2001
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