What is not mentioned in either the promotion or the credits of the film is that Black Knight is uncreditedly based on Mark Twains A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court (1889). A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court is a story in which the title character is thrown from the 19th Century back to the times of King Arthur and uses modern Yankee ingenuity and knowhow to show up the Mediaevals with comic results. The story has been filmed a number of times in 1921, 1931, a 1989 tv movie, the inevitable A Kid in King Arthurs Court (1995), the modernised A Knight in Camelot (1998) and most famously as the excruciating Bing Crosby musical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court (1949) and the Disney comedy Unidentified Flying Oddball/The Spaceman and King Arthur (1979).
Where the comedy in Mark Twains story and most film versions is a play on modern knowhow upstaging Mediaeval lack of sophistication and pomposity, Black Knight generates its comedy around Martin Lawrence doing what is essentially a stand-up routine in the Middle Ages. Indeed, the film happily spears any connection to a A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court ingenuity-wins-out story with Martin Lawrence producing a cigarette lighter just as he is about to be executed, only to be booed We already have fire. Black Knight centres around predictable gags about Lawrence introducing modern culture to the Middle Ages showing people how to High Five, putting Reeboks on knights instead of armoured heels, seeing the Mediaevals spouting modern colloquialisms, calling himself Sir Skywalker, introducing rock music and so on. It is a mark of Black Knights lack of originality that these last two gags the hero naming himself after characters in Star Wars (1977) and introducing rock music to the past were both done before in Back to the Future (1985).
As with much of modern mainstream comedy, there is a good deal of joking around poop, Mediaeval lack of cleanliness, sanitation and eating habits. Everything takes place with great predictability Lawrence humiliates the handsome bad knight, inspires the peasantry to rise up against the bad king, learns the meaning of ... [insert your own cliche], fallen knight regains his glory. The film even plays the oldest cliche in the time travel fantasy book of the hero returning to the present to find a modern equivalent of his Middle Ages girlfriend waiting. The comic meeting of modern and Mediaevals was done much funnier and with much greater originality in Les Visiteurs (1993).
Martin Lawrence also Exec Produces the film. Fairly much the whole film has been construed around this one facet everything is designed to either reflect or amplify Martin Lawrence the funny crazy guy. Certainly, his zany nonsense keeps it going, but the essential mark is that take Martin Lawrence out of it and there is nothing else to Black Knight.