King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (2017)

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (2017)

Rating:

USA. 2017.

Crew

Director – Jared Cohn, Screenplay – Scotty Mullen, Producer – David Michael Latt, Photography – Josh Maas, Music – Mikel Shane Prather, Visual Effects Supervisor – Joseph J. Lawson, Makeup – Supon Martjaroen. Production Company – The Asylum

Cast

Sara Malakul Lane (Morgana Le Fay), Eoin O’Brien (Penn Pendragon), Alex Winters (Lucas Evergreen), Russell Geoffrey Banks (Mordred), Jon Nutt (Gunner), Kelly B. Jones (Jenna Ambrose), Asia Marie (Elaine), Byron Gibson (Arthur), Harold Diamond (Merlin), Elidih ‘Ailey’ MacQueen (Krista), Tanja Keller (Georgina)


Plot

1500 years ago in Camelot, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table faced an onslaught from the sorceress Morgana Le Fay and her son Mordred. Merlin cast a spell that trapped Morgana and Mordred on Arthur’s throne, encased it in rock and then propelled it into orbit. Bangkok, the present day. Penn is a US Marine who can trace his direct line of descent back to the Knights of the Round Table. He has gathered in Thailand for a martial arts tournament. However, Morgana and Mordred return to Earth and she starts using her sorceries to kind the whereabouts of Excalibur. Penn and several of the other combatants who can all trace their lineage back to the Knights of the Round Table come together to battle Morgana.


The Asylum is a low-budget US company that specialises in ‘mockbusters’ – cheap films that seek to capitalise on the publicity of upcoming big-budget releases with soundalike titles. Various Asylum films have included the likes of Snakes on a Train (2006), Transmorphers (2007), Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008), The Day the Earth Stopped (2008), The 18 Year Old Virgin (2009), Paranormal Entity (2009), Battle of Los Angeles (2011), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012), Age of the Hobbits (2012) and others.

Amid this, The Asylum have before conducted several adaptations of classic literary works that were in the public domain when new big screen versions have come out and cut corners by relocating them in the present-day – see the likes of War of the Worlds (2005), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), The 7 Adventures of Sinbad (2010), 3 Musketeers (2011), Jack the Giant Killer (2013) and Sinbad and the War of the Furies (2016). The Asylum produced King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as an attempt to ride the coattails of Guy Ritchie’s high-profile King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), releasing it two weeks beforehand. Alas for The Asylum, the Ritchie film proved a massive flop, cutting off at the knees this along with several other works in what promised to be an Arthurian revival.

Mordred (Russell Geoffrey Banks) and Morgana (Sara Malakul Lane) in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (2017)
Mordred (Russell Geoffrey Banks) and Morgana (Sara Malakul Lane)

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table ended up causing me to do a complete WTF double-take from about the point I saw its poster, which featured a group of heroes wielding hand and machine-guns. Arthur, Merlin and Camelot are dispensed with after the opening scene and the rest of the locale moves to Bangkok. We encounter the descendents of the Knights of the Round Table but they are US Marines who have come to participate in an MMA tournament. They go into action against Morgana wielding heavy artillery rather than swords. Morgana returns after being blasted into orbit in a rock-encased throne that also seems to double as a spaceship. She also raises an army of zombies using what Mordred refers to as a ‘cyber-serum,’ which gives the bizarre suggestion of a King Arthur film that operates as science-fiction. Oh and while we do have a Holy Grail, this is actually a disguised Excalibur. The most WTF sequence anywhere in the film is the climax that features Morgana turning into a giant transformer robot to menace the city. You could probably remove any reference to the Arthurian legends from the story and it would make almost no difference to the way it plays out.

The only member of the cast that one has ever seen before is Asylum regular and director Jared Cohen’s girlfriend Sara Malakul Lane who is proving to be a genre regular. She plays the part of Morgana campy. The others are all unknowns.

King Arthur (Byron Gibson) in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (2017)
King Arthur (Byron Gibson) albeit dispensed with after the opening scene

Director Jared Cohn first appeared for The Asylum with Born Bad (2011) and has become a prolific director for them with the likes of Bikini Spring Break (2012), Hold Your Breath (2012), 12/12/12 (2012), Atlantic Rim (2013), Jailbait (2014), Bound (2015), Little Dead Rotting Hood (2015), Evil Nanny (2016) and Atlantic Rim 2 (2018), while moving out on his own with Buddy Hitchins (2015), Hulk Blood Tapes (2015), The Horde (2016), Death Pool (2017), The Domicile (2017) and Halloween Pussy Trap Kill Kill (2017).

(Winner in this site’s Worst Films of 2017 list).



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