Tag Archives: David Beckham

From Nothing Comes A King

On Saturday evening I sat down with my better half and son number three to watch the most recent offering from director Guy Ritchie (“Snatch”, “Sherlock Holmes”), “King Arthur : Legend Of The Sword”.

Rob Knighton

Now I must admit that I wasn’t too sure what to expect, as the movie didn’t fare terribly well at the box office and reviews weren’t great either – particularly for football celebrity David Beckham’s brief cameo appearance, but we’ll get to that in time…

Poppy Delevingne & Eric Bana

The film opens with the legendary Camelot under attack from a warlock, Mordred (Rob Knighton – “Anti-Social”, “Riot On Redchurch Street”), who aims to ensure that the mages dominate mankind. He comes up against the King of the Britons, Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana – “Munich”, “Deliver Us From Evil”) who defeats the warlock and his forces.

Jude Law

Unbeknownst to Uther, his brother Vortigern (Jude Law – “Dom Hemingway”, “Sleuth”) wants the throne for himself and has made a pact in which he will sacrifice his wife Elsa (Katie McGrath – “Jurassic World”, “Merlin”) in order to get Uther and his wife Igraine (Poppy Delevingne – “The Boat That Rocked”, “Absolutely Fabulous : The Movie”) out of the way.

Katie McGrath

The sole survivor of Uther’s family is his infant son who is put onto a small boat and drifts off, finally arriving in Londinium (that’s London in today’s lingo) where he is picked up and cared for by a group of prostitutes. Not sure where that would put Camelot, but a fair number of theories over the years have suggested Wales as a location, from where I don’t see a small boat drifting to London somehow…

Charlie Hunnam

We then fast forward through the boy’s childhood as he grows up and learns the way of the streets as well as gaining skills from training with an oriental fighter named George (Tom Wu – “Kick-Ass 2”, “Skyfall”). By adulthood Arthur (Charlie Hunnam – “Sons Of Anarchy”, “Deadfall”) is running a crew of his own.

Jude Law

Meanwhile the waters around now-King Vortigern’s castle have lowered, revealing a sword stuck fast in a stone. The King is forcing all men of around Arthur’s age to attempt to pull the sword from said stone.

Charlie Hunnam, David Beckham & Guy Ritchie

It is when Arthur himself has his turn to try to remove the sword that the aforementioned Beckham has his cameo. Beckham had a smaller cameo in Ritchie’s previous movie “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” which was fine and was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of thing. This time around Beckham plays Trigger, a Blackleg commander, and has some lines to deliver. Even now, some days later, I can’t decide if the problem – because there is one – is in Beckham’s delivery (he doesn’t have the most commanding voice for the role in question) or is simply, as my wife said, the fact that you’re thinking “oh, there’s David Beckham” and the scene would be fine with a “proper” actor rather than a celebrity?

Kingsley Ben-Adir, Djimon Hounsou, Poppy Delevingne & Annabelle Wallis

Regardless, it is at this point that Arthur becomes aware of his true origins and the destiny which awaits him. It is, however, a destiny which he is stubbornly determined to resist despite everyone around him – his old crew, including Tristan AKA Wet Stick (Kingsley Ben-Adir – “Trespass Against Us”, “Vera”) and Back Lack (Neil Maskell – “Dog House”, “Kill List”) – doing their level best to get him to do so.

Astrid Bergès-Frisbey & Charlie Hunnam

Also involved in this are Uther’s former knight Sir Bedivere (Djimon Hounsou – “Fast & Furious 7”, “The Legend Of Tarzan”), Sir William AKA Goosefat Bill (Aiden Gillen – “Wake Wood”, “The Lovers”), Vortigern’s maid Maggie (Annabelle Wallis – “Come And Find Me”, “Mine”) and a mysterious unnamed mage (Astrid Bergès-Frisbey – “Pirates Of The Caribbean : On Stranger Tides”, “I Origins”).

Camelot Under Siege From Giant Elephants

Apart from the unsuccessful cameo from Beckham, my only real gripe was that a few of the action / fight scenes, particularly towards the end of the film, looked too much like they’d been taken from a video game, such was the level of slow-mo and CGI on display. Oh, and the giant elephants are the beginning?!. That said, the scenes with huge crowds etc. are really well done.

Jude Law, Guy Ritchie & Charlie Hunnam

All that aside we found the movie to be enormously entertaining. Sure it may not be historically accurate – but then how can one be with so many different stories and theories surrounding Arthurian legend – and one might argue that some of Ritchie’s usual approaches (such as the story within a story where as Arthur relays what he predicts is going to happen we see other characters doing exactly that etc.) and the modern language and haircuts don’t fit with the time period in question. However, taken for what it is – a fun and visually impressive retelling of the King Arthur story for today’s audiences (or maybe for those of us who still enjoy revisiting “Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch” nearly twenty years down the line?) – it’s pretty damn good. Where this all leaves the remaining five films of the originally planned six part series is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, however, this is a well-recommended two hours of cinematic entertainment…

Saving The World Never Goes Out Of Style

The other evening my wife and I caught the adventure comedy spy movie from director / co-writer Guy Ritchie (“Snatch”, “Sherlock Holmes”) recently released – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”.

uncle

Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill

In 1963 former thief, now agent working for the CIA, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill – “Man Of Steel”, “Blood Creek”) is tasked with extracting the daughter of an alleged ex-Nazi scientist Udo Teller (Christian Berkel – “Anti-Social”, “Inglourious Basterds”) from East Berlin, from right under the noses of the KGB.

Armie Hammer & Alicia Vikander
Armie Hammer & Alicia Vikander

Having got the daughter, Gaby (Alicia Vikander – “Ex Machina”, “Seventh Son”), out Solo is then informed by his superiors that he must now work with Gaby and a KGB agent named Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer – “The Lone Ranger”, “The Social Network”) to track down Teller and prevent his employers using his knowledge to build a nuclear weapon.

Elizabeth Debicki & Luca Calvani
Elizabeth Debicki & Luca Calvani

The three head off to Rome, with Gaby and Kuryakin posing as an engaged couple, where they attend a racing event being hosted by Teller’s employers , Alexnader and Victoria Vinciguerra (Luca Calvani – “When In Rome”, “The International” and Elizabeth Debicki – “Macbeth”, “Everest”).

Henry Cavill & Elizabeth Debicki
Henry Cavill & Elizabeth Debicki

Naturally it’s not long before the Vinciguerras have their suspicions about Solo and Kuryakin and when Gaby reveals the pair’s true identities to Alexander and Solo falls into the hands of Victoria it looks like their fates may be sealed…

Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant

Hugh Grant (“Love Actually”, “Cloud Atlas”) pops up later in the film as British agent Alexander Waverly and ex-football legend David Beckham scores a minor role as a projectionist in an early scene.

Guy Ritchie & David Beckham
Guy Ritchie & David Beckham

Critical opinion seems to be split on the merits of this movie. For our part, we found it be great fun.

There are some great action sequences, with lots of humour thrown in to those scenes and to the dialogue. That’s not to say that it’s a spoof in the manner of “Get Smart”, more that it uses humour in a similar way to Roger Moore-era Bond movies – we saw parallels with animated TV series “Archer” too.

Elizabeth Debicki, Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer & Hugh Grant
Elizabeth Debicki, Alicia Vikander, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer & Hugh Grant

A good pairing, Cavill plays Solo in a calm and restrained manner and Hammer impresses as Kuryakin too. We did think that Debicki, whilst being a very cool customer, was rather too thin, but Vikander was bang-on as Gaby and Grant made the most of his time on-screen.

Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander & Henry Cavill
Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander & Henry Cavill

The locations looked good, the jazzy soundtrack fit the mood perfectly and the costume department did a fabulous job. Not as essential as Ritchie’s “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels” to be honest, but this is still a very entertaining film. The ending sets it up perfectly for a sequel too…

The-Man-From-U.N.C.L.E-UK-poster