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Director Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) strikes a good balance between action and romance in this version of the medieval legend, but his leading man is upstaged by the supporting cast. A tousled James Franco is appropriately pouty as the sad knight who loves, then loses the fair Isolde (Sophia Myles) to his benefactor (Rufus Sewell), a noble striving to unite the Britons against the marauding Irish. Not only is Sewell more attractive and believable as a screen lover and heroic figure, he lends the flimsy dialogue by Dean Georgaris (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life) some needed gravitas. Equally magnetic is David Patrick O'Hara (Braveheart) as Isolde's father, a scheming Irish king—combining malice and realpolitik, he's a most fitting lord for the Dark Ages. PG-13, 125 min.

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