Knights of the Zodiac

Directed By Tomasz Baginski

Starring – Mackenyu, Famke Janssen, Sean Bean

The Plot – Seiya (Mackenyu), a headstrong street teen, spends his time fighting for cash while he searches for his abducted sister. When one of his fights unwittingly taps into mystical powers he never knew he had, Seiya finds himself thrust into a world of warring saints, ancient magical training and a reincarnated goddess who needs his protection. If he’s to survive, he will need to embrace his destiny and sacrifice everything to take his rightful place among the Knights of the Zodiac.

Rated PG-13 for action and violence

KNIGHTS OF THE ZODIAC – Official Trailer (HD) – YouTube


Adapting a popular manga turned anime isn’t the easiest thing to emulate in live action form, but due credit goes to Baginski and his corresponding production for not only channeling the swift and exaggerated essence of their artistic origins, but also conjuring some of the most expressive fantastical imagery that I have seen in a film this year. Considering the special effects of C.G are, shall we say, less than underwhelming, the iconography of Greek mythology transfers wonderfully to the pageantry of the silver screen, with a rich combination of lucid color and scenic backdrops that inscribes no shortage of beauty to the engagement, embodying as much of the artistic merit in either form of media that bares a heavy responsibility with so many hardcore enthusiasts as fans of this story. In addition to this, the fight choreography is easily the best aspect of the movie, with meticulously directed emphasis in blows and devastation that come as a result of some impeccably steered razor sharp fight choreography that kept me invested during fight sequences. One thing that is abundantly clear in this aspect is that no shortage of time and commitment was paid towards enhancing the appeal of arguably the most vital aspect of this imaginative world, and one could only imagine how much more gut-wrenching these sequences could be if the movie unloaded impact inside of an R-rating.


Despite everything previously heralded about this adaptation, “Knights of the Zodiac” is easily the most boring experience that I’ve had inside of a theater this year, with a collectively creative undertaking that often undercuts the necessity of audience investment. For starters, the underwhelming element of the writing and directing often influences the many engagements for all of the wrong reasons, initially beginning corny when pertaining to the spontaneous outbursts of violence, but then transitioning to laziness in the many introduced and rushed subplots and backstories during the film’s inferior second half, which the script continuously illustrates in passing. If the film showed more than it told us, then I feel like the audience could at least meet it at eye level with regards to being given a fair chance to properly invest, but the direction of the narrative feels so aimlessly spontaneous at times throughout the engagement that it never attains any semblance of intrigue or even accidental momentum with the way the script is constructed, or how the talent of the ensemble are properly utilized towards being such compelling forces of nature that we properly invest in. As for those performances, some of the blame of underwhelming returns certainly go towards the casting, with some actors and actresses who are completely wrong for the roles they’re commanding, but the ensemble themselves give these completely wooden performances that don’t elicit a single credible turn between them, with Mackenyu being the most phoned-in of the bunch. Nothing personal towards the aspiring actor, but his emotionality is a bit too one-note and inexpansive for what’s being asked of his portrayal, giving the same amount of range during scenes he candidly conveys the tragic element of losing his sister at an early age, with scenes he’s childishly flirting with Athena during their initial engagements. Even film veterans like Sean Bean or Famke Janssen can’t properly rise to the occasion, phoning in the awful material they’re given with deliveries that often come across more as questions, rather than assertive statements of power. As for the jarringly bizarre captures of aforementioned special effects, it’s remarkable that this film entails with it a 60 million dollar budget because none of that feels donated to the effects work, which often feel too lifeless and used improperly to evade the painful emphasis they’re frequently saddled with. Most apparent here is the complete lack of immersion that stems from so many obvious artificialities in the movie’s visual pallet, from the superpowers imbedded to the fight sequences, to the lack of diversity and tangibles in the movie’s many foreign worlds. Much of the execution feels similar to the green-screen dominance that oversaturated and overwhelmed this year’s “Ant-Man: Quantummania”, with a complete lack of organic influences that make it all the easier to believe and invest in the dynamics of these exotic worlds. Finally, the film is also remarkably audacious in the form of a wasteful climax that only serves as a last slap in the face to anyone thinking that a beneficial pay-off would be given to an audience who just endured 107 minutes of this coma-inducing boredom. Not only does the established central conflict of the film not receive a resolution that served as the reward for the extent of the journey, but the film also has the nerve to sequel-bait for a second installment that it will undoubtedly never receive, leaving the ending of this film falling a bit flat, thanks to this and a shifting dynamic for power that surprisingly doesn’t include many casualties to its conflict. I understand that the former serves as a result of the latter, but when the protagonist of the film himself quite literally forgets about this subplot until Athena reminds him of such during the closing scene, it proves how underutilized these internal conflicts were to characters who were essentially just exposition dispersing robots, instead of living, breathing entities.

“Knights of the Zodiac” is a back-handed bitch-slap of an anime adaptation that features disjointed storytelling, wooden performances, and horrendously hilarious special effects cementing one of the very worst films to hit theaters this year. It’s amazing that in an age where studios are struggling to stay afloat that Sony still has 60 million dollars to lend to this bumbling blunder of a dumpster fire, with an execution that is every bit soullessly shallow as it is brutally boring.

My Grade: 2/10 or F-

7 thoughts on “Knights of the Zodiac

  1. yeah….this looked kind of hokey to me when I saw the trailer. Some bits made me hopeful for a moment, but I can’t say I’m surprised.

  2. With me not being a fan of anime, I didn’t even think twice about this one. Having seen the reactions and read your review, this sounds like another case of Dragonball: Evolution where the source material not only doesn’t translate well to thr big screen, but it leads to a lifeless experience that far less exciting than its action scenes may suggest. The phoned in acting in particular sounds like such as buzzkill especially when it seems like the movie does sort of understand the exaggerated energy of anime in the imagery you mentioned. This would be a hard pass for me whether I saw the anime or not. Superb critique!

  3. Woof. This one just sounds bad from the get go. It is so difficult to translate good anime to live action, and this one seems to fail at about every level. But the biggest red alarm for me is having you call it boring., because you generally always find a positive! I think I’ll pass on this one!

  4. I feel that I have to watch this, just to try and give it some numbers for them to try and create a actual good movie for the genre. I like anime to a degree, and some real life ventures could prove successful, but only with the right story and people behind it. Thank you for the honest review.

  5. Yeah thought about seeing this with Xavier but if you said it bored you I won’t make either of us sit though it thanks

  6. I honestly had suuuuch low expectations for this one, but holy moly I never expected it to be this bad. Its The Last Airbender all over again.

  7. Sheesh! This sounds horrible. Your description s had me cracking up. Sad when the most you can say is about the special affects of the fighting and even that could have been better with a R rating. I probably wouldn’t last 5 minutes and anime is not my thing anyway. Must say I’m curious to see the mivie since it did get such a poor score

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