Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.
Guy Ritchie is back with his action-packed, cockney-street style take on the legend of King Arthur.
And it’s when King Arthur is down in the back alleys of ‘Londinium’ that it really comes to life. In classic Lock-Stock style there’s dodgy dealings, hilariously named characters and cracking fast-cut sequences that are entertaining as hell. Especially with Charlie Hunnam is humming as the fast-talking wheeler-dealer Arthur.
If only Guy kept the movie grounded in the streets, as when he switches to large-scale Lord of the Rings set pieces the film falls on it’s sword into a murky CGI mess. You feel the heavily magical intro alone must have cost the studio an arm and a leg, for what seemed like an unnecessary over-the-top back-story. It’s moments like this in the film that Guy just seems out of his depth. But he makes up for it with his signature slow-mo speed-up go-pro styled fight scenes, now with added swords.
Hunnam - who bet Henry Cavill and Jai Courtney to the role – is a worthy heir to King Arthur, and obviously trained like a demon as he is cut to hell. He brings a ruggedness that Guy was looking for, and a good sense of humour that helps the movie lighten up. Ritchie regular Jude Law does some decent scenery chewing, there’s a pretty funny cameo from David Beckham - who’s actually not terrible - and Guy’s got half the cast of Game of Thrones onboard to give it that instant period feel.
It’s a shame it has already been derided as a box-office flop. Despite its story flaws and over-the-top CGI, the film lands some king-hits with it’s entertaining as hell Lock-Stock styled shenanigans.
Releases: 18th May 2017
Rating: M – Contains violence and offensive language
Duration: 126 minutes
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law
Director: Guy RItchie (Snatch, Rocknrolla)
The first installment of a planned six films series.
Charlie Hunnam was emaciated and had lost 20 pounds for the last season of Sons of Anarchy (2008). During auditions, Guy Ritchie was very bothered by his look though he liked his performance and asked him 4 times during the process about his poor physique and 'What was the heaviest he had been'. Hunnam said that when Ritchie brought up the 4th time, he knew that the physicality of Arthur was very important to Ritchie. He promised Ritchie that he would get into incredible shape for Arthur and to prove his fitness for the part, offered to physically fight the other two finalists - Henry Cavill and Jai Courtney. Hunnam told Ritchie, "Look, dude, you keep bring this up, the physicality. Its obviously your primary concern. So if you want to do away with all this auditioning bollocks, I'll fucking fight those other two dudes. I know who they are. You can bring them both in here. I'll fight them both. The one who walks out the door gets the job." Hunnam won the role after this.
Actress Katie McGrath who plays the role of Elsa in this film played Morgana, King Arthur's half-sister, in Merlin (2008) a BBC series based on Arthurian Legend.
The movie went through several stages. Firstly, director David Dobkin tried to make a version with Kit Harington as King Arthur and Joel Kinnaman as Lancelot, but the movie was deemed too expensive and the actors too unknown. Then Colin Farrell was cast as King Arthur and Gary Oldman as Merlin but that version wasn't made either.
Charlie Hunnam promised that "I will get into incredible shape for this film." He further added that, "I am going to do 500 push-ups everyday" saying he wanted to look like one of those guys who do that. After filming concluded, Hunnam revealed that he did in fact do several hundred push-ups everyday with his personal record being 1,050 push-ups in a single day.
Charlie Hunnam said that he closely observed Ultimate Fighting Championship Irish featherweight Conor McGregor to incorporate his fighting style and his ultra-ripped physique into his portrayal of a young "street" version of Arthur. Hunnam watched hours and hours of interviews and fight footage of McGregor on Youtube because he thought he would be an interesting model for the character.
Charlie Hunnam said that he achieved his biggest size ever for King Arthur. He said, "I got big, bigger than I've ever been. I got to 190 pounds!"
The film was pitched to the studio and the actors as Lord of the Rings meets Guy Ritchie's own Snatch (2000). Charlie Hunnam said that description sold him on the movie saying, "That's a film I wanted to see."