Upon first viewing of faux Captain Kirk’s Braveheart sequel entitled The Outlaw King, I was utterly astonished at what a bland, cliche-ridden, mediocre outing it was.
Then I remembered seeing Braveheart in theaters for the first time and I got very angry.
Four obvious things struck me.
1. This film, though having some basis in the historical legend of Robert The Bruce, was written and filmed in such a way to manipulate the audience into this film piggybacking off of Braveheart as some sort of unofficial sequel.
2. The evil sneering English were written to be even more stereotypically, cartoonishly evil than in Braveheart. (And as much as I love Braveheart it was pretty cartoonish in that film) Because this writer — like J.J Abrams — is a hack, trying to mimic superior movies he grew up with and call them original. And like J.J.’s Star Wars films are a shitty beat-for-beat copy of the original trilogy with minor changes this is a shitty beat for beat copy of Braveheart with minor changes.
3. The Quicksilver Kid is a beast and destined for very very great things. He flat out stole the movie.
4. Chris Pine can’t fucking act. He’s literally a block of fucking wood with a mullet in this film.
Perhaps big screen poison, Chris Pine has been demoted to the smaller screen as this film was released on Netflix. He just doesn’t have it, at least not in the vehicles in which he has had top billing thus far. He made a great second banana to Wonder Woman and to my mind has been the only role I’ve seen him in truly shine.
In this film, he’s blown off the screen by Aaron Taylor Johnson. He’s just bland.
The majority of the supporting actors are quite good.
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) plays the ailing King Edward Longshanks. He owns every scene and does Patrick McGoohan’s portrayal in Braveheart justice. A film starring Dillane as King Edward, from his point of view, would have been far more interesting. Dillane plays chilling, intelligent stoicism like no other.
The actor playing Edward II really sucks. I mean JJ Star Wars, over-the-top, unfiltered, laughably bad, villain sucks. Think General Hux. Basically like that. According to history, Edward was quite a prick, however, the hack writing, hack acting, hack directing, JJ-esque, one trick villain portrayal is unfair to even the most dubious of historical figures.
Bits and pieces of the drawn and quartered William Wallace have cameo appearances as well.
The battle scenes are OK, perhaps trying overly hard to mimic Mel’s Braveheart stylistic choices but entertaining for a Netflix production. That’s not to cut the director or cinematographer slack because they spent a lot of money on this thing; $120 mil to be precise. But I wasn’t expecting Mel and honestly don’t expect much from any filmmaker under 50 these days.
The scenery is ho-hum, points for filming in Scotland, but filmed in such a flat, bland way that nothing really pops.
⭐️ ⭐️ out of 4
One for Stannis and one for Quicksilver.
For those interested an another potentially better unofficial Braveheart sequel, Angus MacFadden, Robert the Bruce from Braveheart, is making his own Robert the Bruce film as well.
Watch it for Stannis and Quicksilver and decide for yourself. I, however, thought it sucked.
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