Well, here we are. I guess it had to happen eventually. Since starting at Substream last summer I’ve seen a lot of terrible, terrible movies, most of which I would prefer never to see again due to their blatant ineptitude. But there’s something magical about production company The Asylum’s King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s not just bad. It’s not just inept. It’s a Holy Fucking Grail of awfulness. And it’s so. God. Damn. Funny.
Not to be confused with this month’s theatrical release of Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, this King Arthur comes from the studio responsible for Transmorphers and Sharknado, and has all the attendant low budget non-spectacle one could expect. After a brief prologue that looks like a local LARPing club got together and filmed in a cave, we fast forward to present day Bangkok—I guess, considering that we don’t get much sense of space from all the sparse interior shooting locations—where the descendants of Arthur and the knights train in a dojo together for some reason. But if you think that’s where the stupidity stops, here’s the kicker: the sorcerers Mordred and Morgana fly down in a FUCKING SPACESHIP and seek out the knights so that they may steal the magic sword Excalibur, all while Mordred spouts exposition with an inconsistent English accent that settles somewhere around the cadence of Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
What follows is a disasterpiece that belongs in the same category as gems like The Room and Troll 2. It is a nonsense amalgam of cheap special effects and even cheaper performances. Most of the visual effects are little more than an after-effects lighting overlay, and sound effects just show up at their wont, regardless of their relation to what’s happening on screen. Slow motion effects are used while characters talk in real time, and the film expects us to find the prospect of a heat-seeking bubble intimidating. It’s a surreal laugh-out-loud engagement with surrealism.
The icing on the cake, though, is the insanely bad dialogue, delivered from the mouths of dudebros who can barely string a sentence together. So much of the joy in watching this film is in experiencing the terrible delivery, but allow me to share with you some of my favorites. And don’t worry, context is not important:
- “Give or take a couple centuries, he’s our uncle!”
- “I live a real deal authentic medieval lifestyle.” (As said by a dude perpetually in flannel.)
- “I don’t trust that internet stuff. If it’s not on ink and hard paper, I don’t think it’s historical fact.”
The less than mediocre delivery of these lines can probably be attributed to the fact that the cast doesn’t so much seem to be comprised of actors as martial artists, and to the film’s credit some of the fight choreography isn’t bad. It’s nothing spectacular to write home about, but there’s definite skill and effort there.
Oh, and did I mention that just when the insanity seems to have exhausted itself, the final confrontation is against a kaiju-sized latex fetish doll that breathes fire? Because that’s the awesome note this so-called movie ends on! Objectively, this is one of the worst films I’ve ever reviewed in my time as a critic, but it wholly deserves a bump in score just based on the amount of fun I had mocking it. If you want something trashy and insane with more than a dash of schadenfreude, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is sure to be a worthy addition to any bad movie connoisseur’s collection.