Orlando Bloom has been mauled by American critics of his new movie KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, who have dubbed him a "surfer boy trying to be serious".

Director Ridley Scott took a gamble handing the LORD OF THE RINGS star his first leading role - but reviews of his role as a blacksmith who becomes a knight sucked into the 12th century crusades, have not been kind.

The BOSTON GLOBE slams, "More than anything, this often fascinatingly confused Crusades epic lacks a leading man with the stature to put it over. Audiences know Russell Crowe. Russell Crowe is their friend. Orlando Bloom is no Russell Crowe."

And ECLIPSE magazine adds, "Bloom comes across as a vapid California surfer boy trying to be a serious 'artist'."

But there is some relief for Bloom - critics in his native Britain have given his performance a thumbs-up. THE TIMES gushes, "He is fabulously uncomplicated, and effortlessly sexy. He's also grown up from juvenile swashbuckler to handsome and earthy lead."

16/05/2005 17:07