"Ask not what your fiefdom can do for you. Ask what you can do for your
fiefdom," Jamal Walker (Martin Lawrence), known to the locals as Skywalker,
lectures the medieval peasants in Gil Junger's BLACK KNIGHT. In a
good-spirited comedy that is a time traveling A KNIGHT'S TALE crossed with a
bit of the WIZARD OF OZ, Lawrence finds a perfect part for his talents. He
can be quite obnoxiously annoying as he was in the aptly named WHAT'S THE
WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?, but this time he is nothing short of wonderfully
charming and side-splittingly funny.
Jamal, a moat cleaner at a rundown medieval amusement park, falls into the
water while retrieving what proves to be a magical medallion. This accident
forever changes his life after he finds himself smack dab in the Middle
Ages. For a long time, however, he thinks he is just in a new theme park
called Castle World.
When Jamal asks the first fair damsel he meets for her number, she says it's
7. He finds out that her name is Victoria (Marsha Thomason), and she is the
seventh of the ladies-in-waiting to the princess. The script uses the
juxtaposition of Jamal's modern dialog ("You might want to take a chill
pill.") to the ye's and thou's of the period to spice up many humorous
episodes. Mainly eschewing bathroom humor, the movie makes the most of its
few cruder moments. Jamal, for example, isn't wild about using the privy
because he can't stand the thought of using straw in place of toilet paper.
The plot has Jamal being enlisted in a scheme to remove the present king and
restore the deposed queen to the throne. It's not all hard work for him.
Along the way he gets to party with the court and bed the lasses. It's a
simple story and works well in supplying ample opportunity for Lawrence to
show off his comedic skills. And it has a great ending that leaves the
audience roaring with laughter.
BLACK KNIGHT runs 1:45. It is rated PG-13 for "language, sexual/crude humor
and battle violence" and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave the film ***. He thought it was funny, and he
liked the way that it took so long for Jamal to figure out where he was.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes