Saturday, 20 May 2017



Game Of Stones.

126 Mins. Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, David Beckham, Eric Bana & Jude Law. Director: Guy Ritchie.

Swords up guys! Great British legend Ritchie switches his dearstalker for a hat of thorns and Baker Street's pipe and magnify glass for Camelot's sword and stone, as he follows his 'Sherlock Holmes' change of investigation direction with a game of crowns. But down by Law is it Watson who would be King? Or a 'Son Of Anarchy' raised under lock, stock and one smokin' brothel? The legend of Arthur is as sage olde as thyme itself and this theme of taking sword from stone is not for the feint of heart like pulling teeth, lifting the hammer or Avenging Norse God Thor, or a mere mortal of a man picking up the hoover on a lazy Sunday afternoon. And in the Summertime of Marvel, monsters, monkeys and even mummy's, Arthur looks to make heads roll through the castle walls. As like a King James in a different game, Cavalier talent Charlie Hunnam mans up to the rock like Nic Cage taking on Connery. But forget James Bond, or even Sherlock as the British Intelligence of former Miss American Pie, Mr. Madonna, Guy Ritchie brings us another national treasure coming home like the World Cup...and boy does he know how to bend it. But more on that later as the meat and mead of this Cockney, cock-eyed wide boy tale adds some big 'Lock Stock' smoke to the forlorn fog of old London town. Jesters beware! This ace in the hole, king of hearts is a diamond geezer. The only thing that's missing is Ray Winstone. 'Av at it my son!

Because 'Robin Hood', 'Men In Tights', or even 'Prince Of Thieves' this is not! This is a moat watery, muddy mess of a rugby scrum of bruised and bloodied action which begins with the stone and ends with a graver one. This is more like the George R.R. Martin legend of 'Game Of Thrones'...just with less t###. Unless you count the ones who think they're worthy of Exaclibur. As only the excellent and charismatic Charlie Hunnam is worthy of Caliburn. After showing he can take on Godzilla like Kaiju's on the 'Pacific Rim', this hells leather motorcyclist rips back across the coast to chop anyone down in his path. The versatile 'Crimson Peak' talent hits a new high in this bloodshed soaked story of dagger and boulder. As the throne fits for him like a glass slipper from a Prince, or his coat of arms and new/old world style clothes he's draped in that would even make an emperor red with jealousy. Even if the Law and ordained King is the devilish, ungodly 'Young Pope' himself, Jude Law. Reuniting with Guy after playing Dr. John partner to Mr. Holmes to show he is the one, true evil in this empire of God aspiring men who look more like monsters. Law's breaking talent for the wrong side of the hero/villain coin is so affordable in the second wind of his career, this season of character arc changing is arresting. Developing deeper traits under lock and key, the former baby-faced, sweet smile of 'Mr. Napkin Head' sneers with no more veneers looking like he could choke you with that very same cloth. 'The Holiday' and the honeymoon is over. Jude hasn't been this rude since he was tracking down Tom Hanks' 'Road To Perdition' gangster with a Tommy Gun and a camera. This 'Fantastic Beast' to be in full animalistic mode finds himself in some changing times and tides. And he plays it as well as 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'. Evil has never been so devilishly tempting. This lawless talent playing hatred for all it's scorned is the thing you'll love most about this realm.

Drawbridges are lowered for even more Kingsmen and Spanish 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' mermaid Astrid Berges-Frisbey on fine form with Merlin magic. Making a splash here in this mud and blood carnage for the crown. And how could you not watch this throne without a 'G.O.T.' cast member? As Aidan Gillen continues his ruthless streak with a bow and dragon fire arrow in this meat and potatoes story that also finds supernatural sorcery. There's enough to go to war with here as 'Amistad' and 'Blood Diamond' legend Djimon Hounsou moves away from filling 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' and 'Fast and Furious' franchises like Diesel and back to the shield and sword days of a 'Gladiator'. You thought he was done...but not yet. Even hulking 'Star Trek' villain Eric Bana returns like the time travelling husband of Rachel McAdams he was, keeping his 'Troy' toga on and showing worn wisdom and epic emotional character catalyst as this films father figure. But completing this round table comes a cameo from a man who could bend a football round the widest one from a standing free kick position. As England and Manchester United sports soccer legend David Beckham shows up as a party favour for his guy Ritchie. With scarface scarred Bradley Cooper Hollywood looks and an Eastenders accent this game midfielder is the right fit in winging it for a couple of minutes of time off the bench. Sure this destined world famous footballer hasn't attended an acting academy in his life, but you only have to watch a Marvel movie to know that cameos are just for fun and this guy brings a Stan Lee smile of surprise and recognition either way. And he actually acts funny to boot. It's another tried technique from screen tested 'Sherlock' director Guy Ritchie who brings more of that trademark slow-motion, stop-and-go stuttering action to the stylized set-pieces in some need of something more substantial. And knuckles bared sometimes balls to the wall, we just want to see people get on with getting it on. Pulling some punches and knocking out others though Ritchie's rich direction pays off mostly, even if some of the time it's giving to the poor. Some of this cult classic turned sci-fi geek crowd friendly film makes for quite a muddy, muddled mess. But what a mess it is! Because when it hits it strikes like a sword aglow worthy of the only man who can pull it from stone. Match the rugged Hunnam hero with Law's vile villain revolt and you have that iconic good vs bad dynamic looking to rule no matter how ugly it gets. This Guy of thrones lets this kings legend reign on with explosive fire. All hail! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See This If You Liked: 'Sherlock Holmes-A Game Of Shadows', 'Exodus: Gods & Kings', 'The Huntsmen-Winters War'.

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