A potentially exciting concept - that of modern-day knights jousting on motorcycles - is all that's good with Knightriders. Otherwise, George A. Romero's homage to the Arthurian ideal falls flat in all departments.

A potentially exciting concept – that of modern-day knights jousting on motorcycles – is all that’s good with Knightriders. Otherwise, George A. Romero’s homage to the Arthurian ideal falls flat in all departments.

Premise is that of an itinerant troupe devoted to ancient principles which pays its way staging Renaissance fairs featuring bloodless jousts. Opening reel or so features one such event in agreeable fashion, even as it plants seeds of dissent within the ranks.

But all Romero can come up with in the way of drama over the next two-plus hours is the spectacle of invidious, greedy big city promoters and agents preying upon the group, with the pure, idealistic King Arthur figure going off to sulk when several of his men are seduced by the notion of becoming media stars.

Both the film’s look, with its medieval costumes and bucolic settings, and the long stretches of high-minded talk, most about how pressures to be co-opted into society must be resisted, lend proceedings the air of a stale hippie reverie.

Another liability is the sullen, essentially unsympathetic ‘King’ of Ed Harris, who is never allowed to project the magnetism or romance expected of such a dreamer.

Knightriders

Production

Laurel. Director George A. Romero; Producer Richard P. Rubinstein; Screenplay George A. Romero; Camera Michael Gornick; Editor George A. Romero, Pasquale Buba; Music Donald Rubinstein; Art Director Cletus Anderson

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 145 MIN.

With

Ed Harris Gary Lahti Tom Savini Amy Ingersoll Christine Forrest Brother Blue
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more