SYNOPSIS: Based on the international anime sensation, Knights of the Zodiac brings the Saint Seiya saga to the big screen in live-action for the first time. Seiya (Mackenyu), a headstrong street teen, spends his time fighting for cash while he searches for his abducted sister. When one of his fights unwittingly taps into mystical powers he never knew he had, Seiya finds himself thrust into a world of warring saints, ancient magical training and a reincarnated goddess who needs his protection. If he’s to survive, he will need to embrace his destiny and sacrifice everything to take his rightful place among the Knights of the Zodiac.


While the word “force” is heavily used in the Star Wars series, the word “cosmo” is mentioned numerous times in Knights of Zodiac. This subpar live-action adaptation of the Masami Kurumada’s manga “Saint Seiya” fails no matter what kind of force or cosmo goes into it. It’s simply bad.

For those who has no idea about the beloved manga which ran from 1985 to 1990, it’s about five mystical warriors called the Saints who sworn to defend the Olympian goddess Athena in her battle against other Gods.

In a feeble attempt to make it accessible to both manga and non-manga audiences, the screenplay is given a condensed treatment and mainly focused on Seiya (Mackenyu), the young man destined to become Pegasus Knight and Sienna/Athena (Madison Iseman), daughter of rich businessman Alman Kidd (Sean Bean) and the evil Guraad (Franke Janssen).

With the exception of a prologue and a voice-over telling us the half-baked origin of the mythical characters, we are brought to present time whereby a street fighter Seiya is abducted by Kidd and his henchman, Mylock (Mark Dacascos) to his home where her daughter, the reincarnation of Athena lives. At the same time, Kidd’s ex-wife Guraad and her henchman, Nero (Diego Tinoco) is on the way to get Sienna and to prevent her from turning into the goddess of war and wisdom.

For convenience sake, Seiya is sent to learn magical kung-fu fighting from a lady in a mask while he ponders and thinks of her missing sister, Patricia at times. And then there is Nick Stahl (who returned to acting in recent years) playing a cyborg ninja, Cassios who apparently has a grudge against Seiya.

Beside the less than engaging plot, Knights of Zodiac is plagued by bad acting, wooden dialogue and dreaded CGI effects. Mackenyu and Iseman are too amateur to be the movie’s main leads thus worsening things. Veterans liked Bean and Janssen has too little to do in the entire fiasco. Dacascos deserved more screentime to flex his flashy moves and Stahl thinks he is playing an exaggerated version of a Shakespeare villain.

The entire outing is peppered with mostly bad CGI and green screen. For a movie that cost $60 million, the visual effects look cartoonish and honestly horrible for the most part. Andy Cheng, an ex-Jackie Chan stuntman who was responsible for the fights choreography probably gave up after looking at the lacklustre sets or if there’s any to begin with.

Knights of Zodiac is so bad and campy on the whole that it doesn’t even qualify as a pilot TV episode or a B-movie. It’s also way too long that I need to flip a supermarket magazine in-between the clunky happenings to kill the time.


Review by Linus Tee



Genre: Action/Fantasy
Starring: Mackenyu, Famke Janssen, Madison Iseman, Diego Tinoco, Mark Dacascos, Nick Stahl, Sean Bean 
Director: Tomek Baginski
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Year Made: 2023



Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Running Time: 1 hr 52 mins