Kingdom of Heaven

Rated 2.0

A medieval French blacksmith (Orlando Bloom) joins his father’s (Liam Neeson) pilgrimage to the Holy Land in hopes of expiating his own sins and those of his wife, who committed suicide. Director Ridley Scott gives the movie all the spectacle, visual splendor and impressive battle scenes that $130 million can buy and his own talents can provide, but William Monahan’s script is sketchy and cursory, lacking a compelling story and characters to keep the top-drawer cast busy. Even the villains are puny. And the film is soft at the center. Bloom is too wispy to pull off a role that 50 years ago would have gone to Charlton Heston or Kirk Douglas. Neeson is as strong as ever, and Edward Norton is even better, playing the leper king Baldwin IV behind a silver mask; both, unfortunately, are gone too soon.