The Asylum has become a name in the genre that’s synonymous with low-budget, quickly filmed productions typically designed to ride on the publicity around whatever big movie is rolling into theaters in the near future. Anyone familiar with their film and television work knows that they have the ability to create some great guilty pleasure productions, but they, unfortunately, tend to make marginally bland to painfully bad films far more often than they make great guilty pleasures. My hope with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table was for another great guilty pleasure film. What they’ve produced instead is one of their worst and most bizarrely mishmash feeling films.
The film opens up in the era of King Arthur, giving us some largely forgettable exposition before moving us into a thrown room that resembles the inside of a large cave far more than it does the inside of a castle. King Arthur (Byron Gibson) and his men have finally defeated and captured Morgana (Sara Malakul Lane) and Mordred (Russell Geoffrey Banks). After a few minutes of listing the crimes of Morgana and Mordred, Arthur places them on the throne and uses Excalibur to seal them into a stone prison that’s then magically sent flying off into the deepest reaches of outer space. Once they’ve left Earth far behind, Morgana swears that they’ll return some day to exact revenge rather than, say, freezing to death or suffocating.
We then move the story to present day Thailand. It’s here we find Pendragon (Eoin O’Brien) on leave from the marines and hanging out with family and friends at a local dojo. We meet a series of characters who are supposed to be the descendants of the original Knights of the Roundtable, but who are given at best fleeting, token moments of establishing their identities and their relationship with Penn. They’ve all been brought together in one location in part apparently for an underground fighting competition at the dojo and in part by a relative of Penn (and the owner of the dojo) who is a big fan of the old legends.
As everyone does their thing at the dojo, Morgana and Mordred return to Earth under the cover of a meteor shower. They don’t come crashing down to Earth again ala the opening of such classic cheese as The Brainiac, but rather they land in a large alien spacecraft. Apparently, they’ve been hanging out with an alien race for the last few centuries, but we really don’t see anything from or about this race in the film.
Morgana sits around doing nothing for most of the film. Mordred seeks out the descendants of the Knights of the Roundtable to warn them about Morgana and her plans. It turns out that after centuries of both exile and being modified by aliens to extend his life, Mordred just wants redemption. He explains this at length and references it often while using a delivery that comes across sounding like a drunken, deeply depressed Forrest Gump speaking with an English accent.
The new Knights launch into their quest to find the fabled sword. Well, “launch into” is a bit of an overstatement. They mostly bicker, hang about in the dojo, and talk about how none of this is believable. But they eventually get around to seeking Excalibur and end up obtaining the Holy Grail. The Grail is the key to finding the sword for reasons that ultimately end up making zero sense.
In the meantime, Morgana uses alien tech we don’t actually see to make zombie(ish) slaves to attack the new Knights and bleed grey sludge when killed. The Knights arm themselves with a bunch of guns that literally look like toy guns that have been spray painted with bright silver paint. The guns are not black or gunmetal grey, but rather really bright, really shiny silver.
Eventually Morgana attacks. Penn pulls the sword from a pot of molten gold, and the fight is on. However, stabbing Morgana with the sword is not the way to kill her, but rather the way she returns to herself all of her magical might. She then uses that might to turn into Ultraman’s fire breathing evil stepsister and starts doing the kaiju stomp all over the city. We then get a final showdown that involves a lot of the local police firing their handguns at someone who looks to be several hundred feet tall, five people holding their own in a tug of war with the several hundred-foot-tall woman, and a ridiculous moment of pulling the sword from the giant woman to cap it all off.
In victory, the new Knights swear their oaths even as they mourn the loss of one of their own. We’re also assured of the future of the lines continuing.
I don’t know what they were aiming for with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, but what they got was an incoherent, jumbled mess. It takes itself too seriously to work as unintentional comedy, and it’s too laughable to be taken seriously. The story (credited to future Sharknado 5 writer Scotty Mullen) is all over the map while simultaneously going nowhere. Director Jared Cohn turns in work consistent with his directing of films like 12/12/12 and Little Dead Rotting Hood. The music by Christopher Cano and Chris Ridenhour is probably the best part of the film when not being replaced by songs from bad indie alt-rock bands.
I freely admit to watching and enjoying some of the films put out by The Asylum, and I have even added a few to my DVD and Blu-Ray collection. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a film that is neither enjoyable or a film that will ever be making its way to my movie shelves. It’s not only bad even by their standards, but it may in fact be one of the worst films The Asylum has put out to date.
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (.05 / 5) gruesome eyeballs