Review: Outlaw King

Okay people…let’s just get it out of the way early. It must have been the most talked about penis in the world over the last couple of weeks, but if you are only watching Outlaw King for a glimpse at Chris Pine’s member, then you are probably going to be sorely disappointed. What does it say about the human race that we are losing our shit over a literal blink and you’ll miss it cock shot in a movie? Especially when we live in the internet age, where there is virtually endless amount of peen at your finger tips with just a few taps on a keyboard.

Anyway, if you are really that interested (or only interested in it, as the case may be) skip to about an hour and a half into the movie, and you’ll catch the aforementioned Pine cone, as the actor emerges from a river following a quick dip before heading to war. It’s literally on screen for a second, mostly covered by splash back, but seemingly that’s enough to melt some brains. I can’t imagine what the people who are going crazy over this must have thought seeing Michael Fassbender in all his dick-swinging glory in 2011’s Shame. They must have passed out completely if this scene is getting them as worked up as it is.

Seriously though, it’s a shame that Outlaw King has been a little overshadowed by a penis, because it’s quite a good watch. It could be viewed as somewhat of a sequel to 1995’s Braveheart, in the sense that it sort of picks up the story where that movie left off. But while being an enjoyable film for sure, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the much-loved, Oscar-winning epic starring Mel Gibson.

In Outlaw King, Pine (sporting a very convincing Scottish accent) stars as the stoic King Robert the Bruce, who takes up the fight for Scottish independence after the death of the rebel William Wallace in 14th century Britain. In an effort to uphold an initial truce with the English King Edward I (played by Stephen Dillane), Robert agrees to marry the King’s goddaughter Elizabeth De Burgh (Florence Pugh, who brings gravitas to the part far beyond her 22 years, and shares a palpable chemistry with Pine that makes us root for them as a couple). This of course doesn’t last, and the story sees Robert scrambling around the country trying to gather an army and avoid being annihilated by the much larger English force.

While Braveheart saw Gibson’s William Wallace lead his people more directly into a fight for honour, bolstered with rousing speeches and upfront heroics, Outlaw King sees Pine’s Robert take a more tactical approach to warfare, forsaking speeches in favour of outsmarting his enemies. While he is cool and calm at all times, this quite confidence is balanced by a band of hardy, bloodthirsty warriors around him, most notably Aaron Taylor Johnson’s passionate but unhinged James “Black” Douglas.

As to be expected in a film such as this, everything builds to the final battle, and to call it a bloody affair is an understatement. Director David Mackenzie certainly doesn’t shy away from the harsh and gory realities of war in 14th century Britain, with soldiers and horses alike becoming horrifically impaled on spikes, when they are not being hacked to pieces. The brutality of it all is in stark contrast to the beauty of the Scottish countryside in which it all plays out, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie has many a viewer contemplating a trip to Scotland (once they get over the harrowing war scenes at play here).

Ultimately, while it will never replace Braveheart in the hearts of the viewing public, Outlaw King does boast strong performances (Pine in particular is great in a role that many would probably not have picked him for if given the choice), thrilling action sequences and a luscious backdrop in the highlands of Scotland. And that’s three things that should be spoken about before Pine’s penis even gets a mention!



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