'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword' lands with a thud

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That most flexible of ancient legends gets a new workout in Guy Ritchie's "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword", the first in what's rumored to be a six-film series - box-office willing.

Is there any need whatsoever for this latest telling of the King Arthur legend?

His objective in life is to exact revenge on Vortigern (a perfectly slimy Jude Law), who killed his parents and became king.

Ritchie brings the same skill set to this film as he did to his "Sherlock Holmes" movies - and I don't mean that as a compliment, except that at least in this film the upsetting of romantic genre expectations is so complete that it carries a certain morbid fascination.

Hunnam, who has previously admitted taking a motorbike from his crime drama Sons Of Anarchy, said he tried to steal a sword from the King Arthur film but "was rumbled mid-theft". It may not be yours, either. The story, such that it is, reconstitutes Arthur as a street tough who enjoys shirtless, bare-knuckle fighting (naturally) and only comes to recognize his true destiny after pulling the sword from the stone. And why does Hollywood keep making King Arthur movies - the last major one was Antoine Fuqua's 2004 bomb - when audiences clearly aren't clamoring for them?

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Ritchie replied: "You might have to get Semitic roots, which I'm sure you could find if you dig deep enough".

Aside from the lead roles, the character of The Mage (Astrid Berges-Frisbey) really stood out - even maybe outshone the males.

"I maintain that was the moment I got the part!" Which is somehow a good thing: Rather than a bone dry, boring version of King Arthur, we get this rock and roll version, which has elements of "300", "Mission: Impossible" and "Clash of the Titans" baked into its DNA.

"King Arthur" opens in theaters everywhere Friday, May 12.

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