Black Knight

Black Knight

Facts and Figures

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st November 2001

Box Office USA: $33.3M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Reviews 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 14%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 83

IMDB: 4.7 / 10

Cast & Crew


Starring: as Skywalker, as Jamal Walker, as Victoria the Chambermaid / Nicole, as Sir Knolte of Marlborough, as Percival, Leo's Chief Henchman, as Steve, as Phillip, Leo's Chamberlain, as King Leo, as Derek

Black Knight Review

Early in the fish-out-of-water (or rather black-man-out-of-the-hood) comedy Black Knight, the medieval English king exclaims in describing Martin Lawrence's Jamal, "He's no longer funny, but he refuses to give up the joke."

A truer thing has never been said. It amazes me the filmmakers left that line in the film. Perhaps they were feeling self-reflective.

Rarely has a film flogged a single joke to death more than Black Knight -- the joke being that Martin Lawrence is a modern day theme park worker transported back to medieval times. Sort of a "South Central Brother in King Arthur's Court." But how long can 12th century serfs confused by Ebonics stay funny? How about Jamal freaking out at how primitive the medieval world is? Honestly, I think I was sick of it after the second TV commercial, never mind the film itself.

The thing is, if you've seen those ads (and god knows there are enough of them), you've seen pretty much the best that Black Knight has to offer. As the ads warn, Jamal is transported back in time by a freak accident, where he lands in the middle of a rebellion against a corrupt king (Kevin Conway). It's up to Jamal -- with the help of a knight/unlikely buddy (Tom Wilkinson) and love interest (Marsha Thomason playing an inexplicable black damsel in 1328 England) to lead the rebel army to victory, Braveheart style.

Supposedly, hilarity ensues, but -- as evidenced by the audience at my screening (filled with the perfect demographics for this film) -- nothing's very funny. To be fair, they laughed watching Lawrence brush his teeth over the opening credits, but very little for the rest of the movie.

Not only is every gag as well as the film's very concept is a cliché, every joke goes over like a lead balloon, falling flat once the punchline finally arrives. The poor actors never even have a chance to perform with such worthless material, especially difficult for the fast-talking Lawrence who seems to be fulfilling some kind of contractual obligation being in this movie. After all, the head of his management company is the producer.

The worst part is that it took three writers to come up with this dreck. How is it that it took three guys to write one script bad enough to waste one and a half hours of my life -- an hour and a half I'll never get back?

And did I mention how budget the art direction looks? The so-called medieval world really does look like a kind of cut-rate theme park. A Medieval Times restaurant has better set design. Verily, yea, there is no good reason to see Black Knight. Stay home, and rent Monty Python and the Holy Grail instead. Now there's a castle.

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