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The Black Knight (1954)
A fun piece of entertainment for the whole family
I 1st saw this movie when I was a kid when it came on TV. I also saw it's contemporary "The Black Shield of Falworth" around the same time, and enjoyed them both. Both take some liberties with history I'm sure but they do something more important than being completely historically accurate. They entertain the viewer. It's the classic tale of the underdog who has to fight against the odds in order to have a chance of achieving what he wants set against the backdrop of the middle ages. The colors and pageantry of the film and it's musical score add to the excitement of watching to see if the hero will triumph or not. Some will claim that Alan Ladd was too short or too old for the part or some such, and I grant he's not a big action hero type like Errol Flynn for example but I think those facts add to rather than take away from his portrayal of the hero. His character of John the Blacksmith is the "everyman" who may not be the likely winner but is willing to fight for what he wants against a world that doesn't say yes easily.
The President's Man (2000)
The President's Man
I gave it an 8 out of 10 because it does (as others have noted) follow the old formula of the Mentor (Norris) training the next generation (Neal) as his eventual replacement. Certainly there are similarities between it and other like minded films and of course his character is very much like his character in Walker Texas Ranger. That said I enjoyed it as what it was meant to be. Pure escapism entertainment. Made for TV movies do have smaller budgets than the big box office features so naturally you get what you pay for. Also part of it I think is the difference in picture quality between TV and big screen movies. A TV image has around 280 scan lines per second to maintain the image, but a DVD (yes it's out on DVD now) has around twice that many. Also if something is misaligned (say for a blue screen effect) for the small screen (TV) it's not as noticeable since the screen is smaller. The same misalignment for the big screen (theater) would be a very noticeable thing though. In short the movie people put more work into a film for the big screen because they have more time, money, and errors are more likely to be caught on the big screen. This movie is what it is, a made for TV 90 minute escape from everyday life. You can't judge a movie made for TV by the same criteria as you would one made for the big screen. Plus the man was 60 yrs old already when he made it. How many people would still have the stamina to act like he did in this one at that age? Arnold Schwarzenegger is just 7 yrs younger than Mr. Norris and he has gone into politics. Probably because he recognizes his own human limits and that he's not the young man he was when he made Conan and the Terminator.