Certificate: 12A

Running Time: 126 mins

Star Rating: 2/5

SEVERAL years in the making, director Guy Ritchie's testosterone-heavy reworking of Arthurian legend is an interminable bore. A lumbering script, co-written by Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram, pickpockets elements of an origin story from the biblical tale of Moses, Robin Hood and the Marvel Comics universe, with an eye to kick-starting a multi-film mythology filled with familiar characters from olde worlde legend.

Thunderous action sequences appear to have been reconstituted from the cutting-room floor of other blockbusters: rampaging giant elephants in battle armour in the opening melee look suspiciously like hulking Oliphaunts from The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, and a monstrous magical serpent slithers just like Lord Voldemort's pet Nagini in the Harry Potter franchise.

The hero's obligatory training montage is rendered as a superfluous jaunt to a magical realm called the Darklands, where Arthur hones his swordsmanship against a dizzying menagerie of computer-generated snakes, bats, rats and wolves.

It's a triumph of visually arresting yet soulless digital might, awash with dodgy East End geezers who litter Ritchie's oeuvre.

Female characters are treated with casual disdain: reduced to witches, wenches or eminently expendable spouses and offspring, who can be slain to facilitate the flimsy plot.

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword is swashbuckling tosh, hamstrung by lifeless performances, clunky dialogue and inert screen chemistry.