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The King Maker

Score: 88%
Rating: R
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home

Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 92 Mins.
Genre: Action/Adventure/Historical
Audio: English 5.1 (Dolby
           English, French


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While the premise of The King Maker sounded appealing to me, I was hesitant to pop it into my DVD player after seeing Attack of the Gryphon recently, another Sony fantasy film. However, I couldn't have been more mistaken. The King Maker is far more akin to the likes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero or the recent Curse of the Golden Flower. It is chock full of gorgeous scenery, clever fighting scenes and devious acts of betrayal.

First off, The King Maker is based upon a true story, making it that much more interesting. It begins with a young Portuguese soldier, Fernando de Gama (Gary Stretch from Alexander and World Trade Center), being shipwrecked upon a beach in Siam. He is soon picked up by slave traders and brought to the market to be sold off. He proves to be quite a handful as he skillfully fights his way from his captors, but is quickly recaptured, only to be bought and rescued by a lovely young Portuguese woman named Maria (Cindy Burbridge) who immediately realizes that he, too, is European. She brings him into her home, nurses him back to health and takes him to meet her father, Phillippe, (John Rhys-Davies from Lord of the Rings, Sliders) and the two men share an instant but vague recognition. Through flashbacks, we learn that de Gama has been searching for the man he believes responsible for his father's death when he was a young boy.

Through a series of battles with a neighboring country, de Gama proves his worth as a soldier and a value to the King of Siam and he is drafted to become one of two personal bodyguards to the king. In the meantime, the Queen of Siam is embroiled in a torrid romance with a handsome young man, but one who is of lowly status in the kingdom. She finds herself pregnant and hatches a vicious plot to murder the king and her young son and place her lover in the spot of the king. She calls upon her trustworthy friend, Phillippe, to assist her with this scheme.

Soon, it becomes apparent to de Gama what is happening in the kingdom and it is up to him to make things right, along with his close friend and co-bodyguard, Tong. Love, schemes, revenge, life and death come crashing together as the movie draws to a close.

By the time the movie had ended, it was such a fantastical plot that I had forgotten that it was a true story. That made it all the better. The acting was quite solid and not overdone, except for the part of the old witch, who was painful to watch. The scenery, sets and clothing in this movie are absolutely gorgeous. The fight scenes, while not as excellent as Crouching Tiger or Hero, are still quite enjoyable to watch. After all, who doesn't love ninjas on wires? Overall, this may not be one to purchase, but it is worth a rent, especially if you are into history. The King Maker definitely weaves an entertaining yarn.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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