Friday 7 July 2023

REVIEW: Knights of the Zodiac (2023) Starring Mackenyu, Famke Janssen, Madison Iseman, Diego Tinoco, Mark Dacascos, Nick Stahl, and Sean Bean.

Review by Jon Donnis
Knights of the Zodiac, also known as Saint Seiya: The Beginning, is a 2023 fantasy action film directed by Tomek BagiƄski. It is based on the popular Manga Saint Seiya by Masami Kurumada. The film features a talented cast including Mackenyu Maeda, Famke Janssen, Madison Iseman, Diego Tinoco, Mark Dacascos, Nick Stahl, and Sean Bean.

The story revolves around Seiya (Mackenyu), a young orphan determined to find his kidnapped sister, Patricia. During a fierce fight with Cassios (Nick Stahl) in an underground fighting arena, Seiya unleashes an extraordinary blue light, leaving everyone amazed.

After the battle, Seiya encounters Docrates (TJ Storm) and Alman Kido (Sean Bean), who reveal themselves as allies. Kido warns Seiya that his ex-wife, Vander Guraad (Famke Janssen), is actively searching for him. Realizing the danger they face, Docrates is captured by Guraad's warriors, and Seiya and Kido are relentlessly pursued. With the assistance of Mylock (Mark Dacascos), Kido's loyal assistant, they manage to escape after an exhilarating chase.

Confused and overwhelmed, Seiya demands answers from his newfound companions. However, before he can receive any explanation, Mylock unexpectedly knocks him unconscious. During his unconscious state, Seiya relives the memories of his sister's abduction.

Kido reveals a shocking truth to Seiya: his adopted daughter, Sienna (Madison Iseman), is the reincarnation of the goddess Athena, and Seiya is destined to become the Pegasus Knight, a courageous warrior sworn to protect Athena. Seiya's sister, Patricia, sacrificed herself by surrendering to Guraad, hoping to shield Seiya from harm. With a heavy heart, Kido urges Seiya to train under Marin (Caitlin Hutson), the Silver Knight, to unlock his inner power known as Cosmo, and to safeguard himself, Sienna, and find Patricia.

During breakfast, Sienna briefly loses control of her growing Cosmo abilities, but Kido manages to calm her turbulent energy. Meanwhile, Cassios, consumed by his thirst for vengeance against Seiya, defeats several of Guraad's powerful prototype soldiers and accepts an offer to become one himself.

As Seiya and Sienna spend time together, a bond forms between them. Sienna convinces Seiya to embark on a training journey to meet Marin. Accompanied by Mylock, Seiya ventures to the secluded mountain where Marin resides. Determined to become stronger, Seiya climbs the treacherous mountain alone, seeking Marin's guidance. Initially struggling to harness his Cosmo effectively, Seiya perseveres with Marin's patient support.

During their training, Sienna experiences a distressing vision in which she sees herself as Athena, causing destruction and shattering Seiya's armor. Overwhelmed by the intensity of the vision, Sienna emits another burst of Cosmo energy.

From this point on, the film primarily focuses on Seiya's development of his abilities and fighting style, all while being pursued by Guraad and her gang.

As a live-action adaptation of a Manga film/character, Knights of the Zodiac primarily appeals to Manga fans. As someone less familiar with Manga, I found some of the subtleties and character presentations to be a bit overwhelming.

The film features impressive visual effects and CGI, but certain fight scenes reminded me of the live-action Power Rangers film from some time ago. The costumes could have been more visually appealing, especially considering the high standard set by DC and Marvel superhero films.

The plot itself can be a bit silly at times, and despite the presence of strong and well-known actors like Famke Janssen, Nick Stahl, Mark Dacascos, and Sean Bean, I felt their roles should have been more prominent compared to the relatively unknown Mackenyu.

However, there are enjoyable aspects in the film. The visual effects are top-notch, and the performances by Sean Bean and Famke Janssen stand out in particular.

The Good
Impressive visual effects, exciting action scenes, and strong performances by the notable actors.

The Bad
Some costumes are lacking, and the film may cater too specifically to manga fans.

Knights of the Zodiac is a fun action film for children, despite its occasional silliness, which is of course perfectly acceptable.

I score Knights of the Zodiac a fun 7/10

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