If you saw Hell or High Water than you know why I had to see this film. Director David Mackenzie comes back with star Chris Pine to take on some Scottish war drama. True to form, the movie opens with an amazing single take. From there on out, it’s largely so-so.
I can’t figure this film: it’s either good and should be bad, or bad and should be good.
Think of it like Braveheart 2. The Scottish kings capitulate to the king of England, but William Wallace getting dismembered really gets Robert Bruce’s (Chris Pine) haggis in a tangle and he restarts the rebellion. Cue the standard rebellion war movie timeline: he assembles an army, they get smashed, he sends his wife and daughter away, they get captured, he looks for allies, and has one final battle that ends the movie.
The movie itself is gorgeous. Stunning. It’s an ad for Scotland and I’m sure they love it all the more that its full of English people getting butchered. The blood and gore is largely CGI, but of a caliber I didn’t expect; looked pretty good and gory to me. And mad props to Chris Pine for doing a Scottish accent that didn’t feel fake.
Unfortunately, that familiarity and roteness is the downfall of the film. It feels like we’ve seen all this before. Maybe not better, but just the same. I wasn’t wooed by amazing performances (great battle scenes though). I wasn’t awed by the story; why do we care about this so much? On the scale of ancient battles this is just a small skirmish. The Romans fought larger groups of Scots.
To be fair, this is a great movie to watch while drunk. I went full MSTK3 on it.
2 out of 4 stars.