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‘Kingslayer’ (review)

Steven Seagal once delayed shooting on a set because he was in his trailer reading a script. He reportedly came out two hours later and said, “I just read the greatest script I’ve ever seen in my life.” Someone asked him who wrote it and he replied, “I did.”

Can we agree at this point that writer, director, producer led films where all of the above are the same guy are a bad idea?

Not only is it insanely arrogant, but it almost never leads to a film worth watching.

Kingslayer is no different.

Kingslayer is a poorly written, poorly acted, poorly directed film where the plot makes as little sense as why John Rhys-Davies agreed to associate himself with it.

Paul Brennan, the aforementioned writer, actor, director, producer, plays Prince Richard, days before he is to be crowned King Richard (The Lionheart).

Unseen forces want to stop his coronation and hire people to kill him before the coronation. Prince Richard has sneaked away from the protection of the castle to meet his commoner girlfriend and for 90 minutes they try to escape the forest together.

It’s a survival plot. It’s cliche. However, if there is great suspense and great action it doesn’t even matter that it’s cliche. We have now reached the biggest issue with the film. There are tons of fights. Great if you love action right? Yeah… no.

The fight choreography is an atrocity. John Wick’s cleaning lady has better fighting skills than anyone in Kingslayer. By John Wick’s cleaning lady I mean Keanu Reeves’ actual cleaning lady. This is the ultimate laziness in modern film. There are literally no excuses for poor fight choreography anymore. It’s insulting to the audience.

The technical side of the film is almost as disappointing as the plot. The editing is weak. If they can make 70 year old Liam Neeson an action star using jump cuts and flashy editing, you’d think Mark Paul Wake could have figured out a way to make the fight scenes look like something resembling a fight. Then again casting people to fight with swords & spears that have neither theatrical fencing nor martial arts training seems like a purposeful waste of the viewer’s time. I did a quick search of dojos in the UK. There are a lot. Same for fencing academies.

John Rhys-Davies is one of the better actors of my lifetime. His iconic portrayal of Sallah in the Indiana Jones films made him beloved for people of my generation. Why would he say yes to this? More importantly, if you are Paul Brennan and you somehow get him to say yes, why would keep his screen time to less than three minutes? It’s as offensive as the plot resolution, which is nauseating in its own right.

If you are a regular reader of my film reviews you’ll find that I almost always try and find something good about a film.

Usually, I’ll say something like, “If you like XXXX this film has something for you.”

Not this time. Kingslayer is a waste of time.

I watched it so you don’t have to.

0 out of 5 stars.

*  *  *  *  *
Produced by Gareth Wiley and Stuart Brennan
Written and Directed by Stuart Brennan
Starring Stuart Brennan, Carolina Carlsson, Ryan Gage,
David Hayman, Ellie-Rose Mackinlay, John Rhys-Davies



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