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Blade ruiner? Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur

Director wallops his way through the legend of King Arthur with some of the worst lines to come from a British film since the days of Carry On

19 May, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Charlie Hunnam in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Certificate 12a

IT is a mystery why Guy Ritchie decided to make this stupendous, eye-watering nonsense – it completely puts the shlock into Lock Stock as he takes his groovy, pop video camera tricks and hyper-violent sensibility to the legend of King Arthur.

Ritchie has given his leads and their ensemble of gruff henchmen an absolutely terrible line in Mockney dialogue – it’s hideously funny at times. And what henchmen – the forefathers of the likes of Brick Top, Hatchet Harry and Nick the Greek from his earlier hits.

Ritchie wallops his way through the legend, with a Merlin character in a female role (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), the sword of destiny and a Lady in the Lake.

But there is a weird fascistic baddie to contend with, the worst king of England who eclipses the histories of John or Richard.

The only other females in the film are prostitutes or princesses, played by the likes of model Poppy Delevingne. It adds to the feeling that this film was hatched by a load of poshos from
Notting Hill who got sozzled and decided to put on a night of am-dram in aid of the Chihuahua Trust.

Vortigern (Jude Law, above) is the leather britches, strutting tinpot Hitler (complete with black-shirted praetorian guards raising their arms in Nazi salutes at a Nuremberg-style rally at one point). He is desperate to be a dictator ruling over the serfs of Merrie Olde England. To do so he murders his brother and slays his wife.

His nephew Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) escapes, grows up in a brothel and becomes a muscle-bound live-action version of He-Man. The years are not so kind to Law – he becomes Skeletor.

Arthur is told to try his luck with drawing excalibur from the stone, as King Vortigern decides to seek out the true heir and murder him – bizarrely, Arthur is shepherded to his destiny by David Beckham sporting a wonky fake nose.

Then it’s all big, swishing sword fights till the credits thankfully roll, with some bizarre nods to the legend such as Arthur building himself a round table, making peace with Vikings and showing his benevolent side to the peasants.

It looks like Ritchie has spent a fortune on this – it’s laden with special effects – but with some of the worst lines to come from a British film since the days of Carry On, and a plot worthy of being cooked up in a tripe shop queue, this is almost worth seeing simply to enjoy the fact it is so bad.

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