Volume 95, Issue 49

Wednesday, November 28, 2001
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Songstress Emm Gryner pours some sugar on fans

Black Knight defends movie with humour

Laugh nothing more than raunch

Disc of the Week

Bones one bad brotha'

Black Knight defends movie with humour

Black Knight

Martin Lawrence, Marsha Thomason

Directed By: Gil Junger

Two 1/2 stars (out of five)

By Kirk Hendsbee
Gazette Writer

Gazette File Photo

Perhaps the most important thing for any sci-fi or fantasy movie is to create an atmosphere that can suspend an audience's disbelief.

Let's be honest, if you constantly find yourself critiquing medieval scenery and wincing at halfass English accents, chances are you're not going to have a very enjoyable experience.

It's very easy, especially in the fantasy genre, to screw up even the most mundane aspects of a movie and alienate an audience. Moreover, avoiding this becomes even more difficult when dealing with that obscure sub-genre of the modern man somehow transported to the past via magical intervention (i.e. Army of Darkness).

Luckily, Black Knight, the new comedy starring Martin Lawrence and directed by Gil Junger in his big-screen directorial debut, successfully deals with these problems and difficulties, producing a movie that, while certainly not Oscar worthy, is modestly enjoyable.

Lawrence plays a lazy, dim-witted, middle-class Joe named Jamal Walker. While scooping garbage from a medieval theme park's moat, he manages to fall through some sort of magic portal that spits him out in 14th century England.

Enter a series of predictable – and very Lawrence-esque – white/black jokes and stereotypes.

While Lawrence has built a career on these jokes, they quickly thin. The storyline is completely and utterly without creativity and based entirely on the conventions of the fantasy genre.

There are no clever plot twists or turns to speak of and, before the movie is half over, even the most hardheaded of moviegoers should be able to predict the outcome.

Adding to the rather shady storyline is the piss-poor acting ability of Martin Lawrence, who gives his character all the depth of a Jell-O pudding pop.

Luckily, Lawrence is backed by a cast of competent actors, highlighted by Vincent Reagan, who plays the evil, scheming knight Percival and Tom Wilkinson, who plays the good, yet emotionally distraught, knight Knolte.

Another high point of Black Knight is the sheer atmosphere of the movie. Because of the incredibly realistic medieval castle and the excellent actors inhabiting it, Black Knight comes alive in a way other recent fantasy movies (i.e. Dungeons & Dragons) have not.

Mix in a modest performance by Marsha Thomason – playing the damsel in distress – and a decent soundtrack (including Beenie Man and James Brown) and you've got a movie that will squeeze a laugh or two out of you.

To put it simply – if you liked Martin Lawrence in previous films, chances are you'll like him in Black Knight.

While he has absolutely no real acting ability, he does do a fine job of eliciting laughs. Indeed, you may hate yourself for it afterwards, but there are more than a few moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity in Black Knight.

As long as you don't enter the theatre expecting a deep storyline or quality acting, you'll be satisfactorily entertained.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001