Who doesn’t love Ridley Scott. The 83-year-old legendary director has more than a few certified masterpieces to his name, including Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), and his sole Best Picture winner, Gladiator (2000). He’s still going strong, with The Martian from 2015 a critical and commercial success, and House of Gucci, due later this year, starring Adam Driver and Lady Gaga, getting massive pre-Oscar buzz. It’s a good thing because, if Scott is lucky, House of Gucci will be big enough to drown out any memory of his other film this year, The Last Duel, which is so painfully bad, it makes Scott’s previously worst film, The Counselor (2013), seem almost palatable by comparison. [Editor’s note: Nevermind, nothing can ever be as bad as The Counselor.]
To be fair, the failure of The Last Duel is not all Scott’s fault. There is so much about it that sits largely in Scott’s wheelhouse and he expectedly delivers. It is a big action period piece, set in France in the fourteenth-century, featuring huge battle scenes, with hundreds of extras (and horses) rolling around in the mud, attacking each other with giant swords, blood and testosterone gushing everywhere. It’s got excellent production value, from incredible period costumes (again, for a cast of hundreds) to an insanely detailed production design, and a prop budget that must have broken the bank. There are big stars, too, including Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Ben Affleck and Jodie Comer. And it’s based on the true story of famous French knight Jean de Carrouges (played by Damon), a brave warrior who famously challenged a former friend, Jacques Le Gris (played by Driver) to a duel to the death after de Carrouges’s wife Marguerite (played by Comer), accuses Le Gris of raping her. The 1386 duel became famous for being the last judicial duel allowed by the French king. It’s all very dramatic, and very cinematic.