This is a re-release of the earliest US edition that disappointed fans because of it's substantially shortened run time and clipping of many important plots and events from the storyline. THE PURPOSE OF THIS RE-RELEASE APPEARS TO BE THE ADDITION OF AN ENGLISH DUB to the foreign language portions of the movie. For authenticity, the original movie employed the appropriate languages for each region where Arn finds himself. When in Sweden, they speak Swedish, at the English monastery, they speak English. In the Holy land, he even speaks the native tongue with Salahudin. This is a virtue of the movie, not a detraction. I realize many out there try to avoid subtitles at all cost. I strongly suggest in this case you seek out the original (link below) this time and enjoy the authenticity. This English dub was not horrible, but I still found it annoying and sub standard. A very small minority out there may prefer it, but you still don't get the combined movies for the whole story.
The full name of this show is ARN - THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR - and can be found here: ARN The Knight Templar - The Complete Series [Blu-ray]
The full version is 258 minutes and worth every single second of it! It is based on a fictional character from the Jan Guillou Trillogy.
This version is indeed the massively shortened version, slightly renamed in order to trick people into buying it again. Curiousity got the best of me and I actually bought it after I wrote this review and included updates. Hopefully my expense will save you the effort. When this was originally released in Europe, the first movie was called Arn, The Knight Templar & the sequal was called Arn, Kingdom at Roads End (they never appeared this way in the US). Later a combined and shortened version was released in the US (this same movie without the dub). Fans of that series patiently awaited the full, combined version that finally came out a few years ago in the US and is the link I provided above. Most people who know this show will know the difference. If you have not heard of it before, you are in for an amazing experience that rivals the best of Crusade movies Hollywood ever produced. Much more realistic in many ways and absolutely well executed as you would expect from the long line of great Scandinavian cinema. If you are interested in the genre, Arn is a must own, not a rental!
THE PLOT: Arn Magnusson is a young boy (son of a prominent nobleman) raised in a local monastery so he can devote his life to God. A retired knight, now a monk, teaches the boy Arn to fight and realizes his skill lies more in combat than in being a monk. Arn grows up in the monastery and becomes enamored with a beautiful young girl (Sofia Helin) who sings with the choir in the monastery. He commits an indiscretion, is falsely accused of further crimes, excommunicated and assigned to do penance by the church through service in the Holy Land, fighting as a Knight Templar for a period of 20 years. He displays legendary skill and honor, becoming well respected even by his enemy Salahudin and his forces. They call him - Al Gouti.
While he is in the Holy Land, his love is forced into a convent and abused by the Abbess who is a member of the rival clan to the Magnusson's and close relative to the king. They are also behind the addition of false charges and his excommunication. This story has great depth and engages the viewer virtually every moment. You will want to watch the combined set (two movies in one) in a single setting. Great conflicts, great adventures, and epoch love will all need to be resolved somehow, and the quest to do so is just plain beautiful. The condensed version of this movie removes many very important elements and results from the story. It's not even the same movie really. If they had to do a re-release for the dub, I wish they had at least done the entire set. I really don't think this one has much value and I would still prefer the original over the dub had they done it anyway. Very much so!
Even if you never saw any other version than this butchered release, even with the dub, you would probably still be impressed. If you see the entire production as intended you will understand exactly where I am coming from. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you seek out the complete, non dubbed version. You will notice a few similarities in the plot to Kingdom of Heaven, mainly because it deals with the same time period. This is absolutely it's own movie, not a knock off. Kingdom of Heaven is a higher budget, glitzy showpiece that is also one of my favorite movies. However, in fundamentals I would say there are many areas where this is a superior piece. Not to mention the entirely separate parts of the story taking place in Sweden. My negative review does not denigrate the original listing because of the change in title - the two listings are not connected at the time of writing. The original is FIVE STARS.