Black Knight Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Follow the link to Making The Grades for additional information on this film’s content.
JAMAL WALKER (MARTIN LAWRENCE) THINKS the writing is on the wall of the medieval amusement park where he works—and he’s not just talking about the sexually explicit graffiti. He is convinced competition from a new castle creation that opened a few blocks away will put them under. But the loud-mouthed employee’s negative attitudes are about to reach a new low when he is pulled underwater while trying to retrieve a strange medallion from the bottom of the moat.
Gasping for air, his head comes up in the midst of a pond. After meeting a drunkard (whom he assumes is a street person) and falling upon a huge castle, Jamal realizes he’s taken a trip to the far side of time. Discovering the kingdom is under the rule of an evil despot who has dethroned the reigning monarch, Jamal becomes an integral pawn in the rebellion to reinstate the rightful queen after giving into his physical attraction toward Victoria (Marsha Thomason), a key player in the uprising. Soon Jamal finds himself teaching new fighting moves, demonstrating the latest dance steps, and helping not-so-fair maidens learn novel kissing techniques.
The writers of this movie try to generate laughs by clashing Lawrence’s stand-up wit against the swords and shields of the Middle Ages. Instead, the humor gets lost in Lawrence’s trademark sexual obsession and profane language. Any scenes involving his character and women are full of sexual overtones (the only exception being those with his somewhat obese boss).
Meanwhile the violence moves unexpectedly to center stage when a decapitation is partially seen, including Jamal’s reaction as he picks up the dismembered part in disbelief, followed by a man placing the head on a spear. Later, things get even bloodier as ragtag rebels fight against the king’s army, resulting in at least a dozen on-screen deaths involving swords and arrows.
While Jamal’s selfish personality is tempered after making sacrifices for a worthy cause, the sex, language, and gore of this movie will leave many parents anxious for this knight to end.Starring Martin Lawrence. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release November 21, 2001. Updated May 4, 2009
Black Knight Parents' Guide
How are primary characters in a violent movie treated differently than secondary characters or extras in the background? How can “disposable” characters allow us to forget the consequences of violence?
Jamal is appalled by the lack of sanitation and modern bathrooms in the 14th Century, yet he is anxious to take the king up on his offer to have any woman he wants. What complications of disease and other problems of living a sexually promiscuous life in this time period are overlooked by the script? Is Victoria’s character accurate in this regard?
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Throwing people from the present into the past is hardly a new trick in the fantasy world. Even Mark Twain explored the idea when he sent his Connecticut Yankee into King Arthur’s Court. Other movies we’ve reviewed that follow similar situations are A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (a young boy is time warped into the Middle Ages), A Knight’s Tale (an action comedy that puts modern music and attitudes into medieval life), and Just Visiting (a switch on the idea—medieval people are transported to the present day).