So, Netflix’s attempt at an historical epic is now available to watch and on a rainy grim night me and the wife settled in to watch The Outlaw King, the untold story of Robert the Bruce.
First off let’s get the good news out of the way. It’s no Braveheart, a movie that plays fast and loose with real history to the point that it’s insulting. There’s no tartan in sight either which is a surprise but a pleasant welcome as it shows the film makers were more interested in historical accuracy than Mel Gibson ever was.
Chris Pine does a ok job as Robert Bruce but I felt as though a man who did so much against such odds would have had far more of a personality. He does a passable job and even his faux Scots accent is passable. The acting throughout is adequate but there’s the problem. Aside from Robert’s wife, every character is instantly forgettable.
The English as to be expected are portrayed as villains as per usual but again at least there not done in such a pantomime way that Braveheart handled it. Prince Edward’s character however annoyed me a lot. In real life, yes, the guy was a bad king who was eventually murdered by his nobles but in this movie, he comes across as a lunatic who kills for no reason other than ‘I’m the baddy so I kill people’. One scene where he literally disembowels a man was way over the top and I seriously doubt a prince would have got his hands dirty like that.
The trailer for this movie suggested that we’d be getting plenty of Medieval battles and we certainly do. The violence is high to the point where I was expecting to see a chap with a super soaker spraying blood everywhere and boy does the blood spray (to the point where it gets a bit daft).
The final battle is done well save for the movie makers playing fast and lose with history in a big way. Damnit Hollywood why change things when the real-life events where far more fascinating and exciting than any script could hope to be!
The costumes were excellent however and for the most part historically accurate. The combat too was done well save for the usual Hollywood nonsense of fire arrows and chucking swords at people.
Overall the movie was distinctly average, and the pacing was all over the shop in places. It also ended on weird spot that surprised me. If you’re expecting a recreation of the Battle of Bannockburn your going to be hugely let-down.
Outlaw King is a bit of a meh movie. There are some good scenes in it and the cinematography is excellent throughout it’s just that the script is a tad dull and poorly paced.
I give it a 6/10.