Black Knight (Rental) (2001)
Trailer-Bandits; Joe Somebody; Ice Age; Super Troopers
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Gil Junger|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, watch for those Nike shoes.|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The story starts with Jamal "Sky" Walker (the nickname comes into play later in the movie in one of the less amusing running jokes), an employee of the run-down Medieval World family fun centre. As part of his job cleaning the moat he finds a gold medallion, but when he bends down to pick it up, he falls into the moat, and when he resurfaces, he is no longer in the present. He is instead in 14th century England (1328 to be exact). After a short wander he finds a castle, and through a case of mistaken identity, he is given a royal welcome, and many pleasures. Inside the castle, he meets the lovely handmaiden Victoria (Marsha Thomason), and learns of a rebellion attempting to depose the tyrannical King Leo and put the rightful queen back on the throne.
While this is certainly not original, it is interesting enough, and presented straight-forwardly enough to not be completely worthless. As a comedy, it is mostly successful, and there are a number of moments that are very funny, with the remainder of the movie being at least amusing. There are a few jokes that are taken too far - the Lord Skywalker one being the most annoying (it was funny the first few times, but not the next 50-odd) - but for the most part, the director Gil Junger has managed to rein in Martin Lawrence from some of his more extreme edges. The style of humour is still typical of Martin Lawrence who is very much a poor-man's Will Smith (and that is saying something). The humour is therefore quite obvious, presenting little that is subtle, but overall it is still effective.
The greatest strength of Black Knight are the supporting characters - especially a trio of British actors. The use of respected actor Tom Wilkinson to play the former knight Sir Knolte was a master stroke, as he brings much-needed stability to the production. King Leo's henchman, the despicable Sir Percival, is played to perfection by Vincent Regan, this is especially important as he is essentially the one real straight man in the movie. Finally, the handmaiden Victoria is very well portrayed by Marsha Thomason; she manages to put both restraint and dignity in her performance. The biggest disappointment however is that yet again Daryl Mitchell has been relegated to a supporting role with only a few minutes of screen time - he is a charismatic and very talented comic actor, and really does deserve a bigger role.
Overall, Black Knight will never become a classic of the time-travel genre, nor will it ever be considered a classic comedy, but it is good enough to provide a nice 90 minute diversion, and will certainly not tax the brain.
Presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
This transfer is exceedingly sharp from the time it arrives in "England" at 6:19. Prior to that it is a little hazy, and is considerably softer. The change is so obvious that it is entirely possible that it was intentional. There is almost no visible grain, with only a few instances such as at 53:02 and 81:01. The shadow detail is superb, easily showing everything that is placed in shadows. There is no low level noise in this transfer.
Colours are very good. Just as with the sharpness, the present-day sequences are a little washed-out compared to the English setting, which presents lush greens and vibrant highlights where needed.
There is a small amount of background pixelisation when the grain becomes noticeable, but no other compression artefacts are visible. There are a few instances of light aliasing, but only on the chain-mail of Sir Percival at 79:12 does it really become distracting. There are numerous small film artefacts, which seems to be part of a disappointing trend for new Fox transfers, but large and distracting ones are virtually non-existent, with only the mark at 81:01 causing any real distraction.
The subtitles are very close to the spoken word, only occasionally missing a word, and never changing the meaning of the sentence.
Being a single layered disc, there is no layer change.
There is only a single audio track present on this disc being the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 Kbps).
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, and there are no issues with excessive hiss or other noises. Audio sync is spot on for the entire duration of the movie.
The score is credited to Randy Edelman and is very typical of his style, big and bold, and for this movie it works very effectively. There are also a few contemporary tunes worked into the film, including one used to very good comedic effect in England. Overall, the music is a highlight of this film.
The surround channels are very aggressively used to carry both the score and ambient surround. They are almost never quiet, delivering an immersive soundtrack that is even more impressive during action sequences, where the cries of battle come from all around.
The subwoofer track is also very impressive, backing up both the score and the sound effects very well. The bass is tight and well expressed, and when the songs or effects noises call for it, it really comes to life.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is brilliant, with only the slightly hazy appearance of the first few minutes to really complain about.
The audio quality is just as good, if not better, than the video, presenting a constantly active soundtrack that really comes to life during action and musical sequences.
The extras are extremely minimal, but what is included is actually more than usual for a Fox rental disc.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|