Ridley Scott turns his hand to a historical epic set during the crusades with his usual visual flair.
As for the script, it’s easier to make a straight comparison with Gladiator. Gladiator worked so well because it had a charismatic lead supported by an excellent cast of well rounded characters who existed within a believable world recreated through its social and political context. None of this is in evidence here, however. It’s not that the dialogue or characterisation is bad, it’s just that there is not enough of it. Orlando Bloom is far too bland to be a leading man who could carry this kind of film and whenever two characters started to converse, the dialogue was always limited to an exchange of a couple of soundbites before skimming over to the next insubstantial scene. The battle sequences are unsurprisingly brilliantly staged, but if you don’t feel like you know the characters involved, it’s very difficult to care who wins and so any emotional involvement evaporates.
I’m probably being a little harsh as it is a perfectly well executed Hollywood hack and slasher, but I have come to expect a lot more from Ridley Scott and as such Kingdom Of Heaven was a genuine disappointment.