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The members of a traveling Renaissance Faire, who saddle up on motorcycles instead of horses, ride from town to town to stage medieval jousting tournaments with combatants in suits of armor and wielding lances, battle-axes, maces and broadswords. The spectacle of this violent pageant soon garners national attention, much to the dismay of the current king of this Camelot. A challenger to his throne arises as they try to maintain their fairytale existence in a world wrought with corruption.
Written and directed by George A. Romero (The Night Of The Living Dead series) and starring Romero regulars Ed Harris (Creepshow), Tom Savini (Dawn Of The Dead), John Amplas (Martin), Patricia Tallman (Monkey Shines) and Ken Foree (Dawn Of The Dead).
• New Documentary On The Making Of Knightriders
• Behind-The-Scenes Home Movies
• Theatrical Trailer
• TV Spots
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Unfortunately, this movie just drags on and on for over 2 1/2 hours. The acting is terrible. The story is silly and everything about the plot is a waste of time.
There could be something interesting in the story of a troupe of Renaissance Faire actors using motorcyles instead of horses for jousting competitions. In the end, it really makes no sense and only motorcycle enthusiasts might enjoy all the stunt riding. This is an extremely violent sport and for what purpose? The troupe rents a field and sets up camp. There are very few spectactors so how do they support themselves? That actually becomes a comflict within the group as one faction wants to keep the sport pure and another wants to take it to the next level of fame and fortune.
Again, there just seems to be no purpose or story here. This group of free-spirited medieval hippies seem to have no purpose in life other than to joust and find ways to make the jousting more deadly.
This film obviously has a cult following but I kept hoping the film would end and it went on and on. Scene after scene of jousting or someone just riding down the street on a motorcyle. There is no substance to this film at all.
I did like seeing a young Ed Harris as the "king." I always think of Harris as this ruggedly handsome actor in macho roles. Here he is at around age 30 and handsome in a "pretty boy" way looking young and vigorous. I see his took his roll in this lame film seriously and I enjoyed his scenes. Bursts of anger when needed and an impish smile with a gleam in his eye when there is a tender moment. I can see he had the talent to go on to bigger and better roles.
I don't think this film will appeal to a general audience. The appeal is limited and this is not what I expected from George Romero.
A group of motorcycle riders travel the countryside putting on jousting matches while wearing armor sort of like a Renaissance Faire on wheels. The leader of this group Billy (Harris) ends up being challenged after the spotlight of the media focuses on their shows. Billy must struggle to keep his troup together as they face challenges from corrupt police officers and key members leaving the group.
"Knightriders" received a VERY limited theatrical release and, by luck, I managed to catch it when it was originally released and, again, when it first appeared on video for the very first time. The film continued to have spotty releases on DVD shifting from label to label with questionable transfers over time. The film deserved better and, finally, "Knightriders" gets its due on a terrific blu-ray from Shout Factory.
Shout Factory does a fine job in transferring "Knightriders" to blu-ray with a very nice, sharp transfer. Is it flawless? No. The main flaw is that the film appears a bit too clean in terms of less grain structure than I had expected but the film still looks less harsh (and more importantly LIKE a film) and better than it has before. The color scheme is different here than previous home video releases reportedly closer to what Romero had attended in the first place. On the whole, this is a much improved presentation even with some of the minor flaws present in the presentation here.
The DTS HD audio is presented in the original mono. Unfortunately, there's no option to go back and remix this for 5.1 (listen to Romero's commentary track and you'll find out why) but the mono presentation is clear and clean sounding as it should be and has considerable presence for what it is.
In the area of special features once again Shout Factory shines. We get an excellent commentary track from Romero, his wife Christine, actor/make up man and director Tom Savini moderated by Chris Stavrakis.
We also get new interviews with Romero, Savini and Ed Harris (who looks back fondly on the film as more than a stepping stone in his acting career). The new interviews run around 35 minutes.
We also get the original theatrical trailer and TV spots for the film.
"Knightriders" is an overlooked and entertaining gem of a film. It's unique premise was tricky to pull off and while Romero doesn't completely succeed, it's still a marvelously unique and fun movie to watch without a zombie in sight.
Made for a cross audience of cultures and interests.
Many actors from Dawn of the dead. A cameo of Stephen King and Tabby his wife.
George A. Romero (director and writer)
John Amplas (Whiteface) for the first 20 minutes
Tom Sauini (Morgan)
Christine Romerro (mechanic) wife of George
Taso N. Stavrakis (Ewain)
It makes some people think of the SCA: Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., and MSR (Medieval Studies and Restoration) which did inspire the movie. Romero mentions this in his commentary.
This is one of those movies that have acquired a following after it was rediscovered.
Le Morte d'Arthur (Modern Library)