Directed by Tomasz Beginski, Knights of the Zodiac stars Mackenyu, Madison Iseman, Famke Janssen, and Sean Bean. The franchise began with an anime and manga that spanned 114 episodes and 28 volumes. It was later remade into a another two-season anime for Netflix, and this film is a remake of that less well-received version of this story.
The plot follows Seiya (Mackenyu), a teen who is purportedly a knight meant to protect the reincarnation of Athena (Iseman). Janssen plays the girl’s mother who intends to deprive her of her power and prevent her from becoming Athena, and Bean plays the girl’s father who recruits Seiya to protect her.
The highlights of Knights of the Zodiac are the action scenes and fight choreography, which are visually delightful and edited to be generally clear and comprehensible; in an age when action sequences are cut to ribbons, “comprehensible” is the highest of compliments. Aside from an over-reliance on CGI light blasts, the fights are quite fun and thrilling.
But the story is bland and predictable. Attempting to stuff so many plot explanations into the film’s 112-minute runtime left the story bloated and overlong with dragging exposition dumps and characters staring into the middle distance while narrating their thoughts. The action beats punctuate what otherwise is a long slog.
Knights of the Zodiac is ultimately a live action adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation, and anything that can make it interesting is lost in translation.