Title: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)
Rating: 4 out of 5
Tagline: “Rise and Fight.”
My Tagline: “Fall Flat and Squirm.”
Favorite Quotes: “Wisdom is our hammer…” & “I’m glad he has a family now, and I’m glad it’s us.” & “‘This is where we pay for our sins?’ ‘No. This is where we pay for our virtues. Sins are more than welcome here.’” & Every single word Ray Liotta says.
Plot Synopsis: Somewhere at some point in time a kingdom called Ehb existed and it had wizards only they were called Magi and it had Orcs only they were called Krugs and it had forest lesbians instead of Elves. Well a bad wizard decides he’s going to take over so he enchants the normally mindless Krug to do his bidding, which seems to include the slaughter and enslavement of the innocent citizens of Ehb. Caught up in this mess is a withdrawn and freaking annoying farmer and his freaking annoying family. His friends are sort of there too but they’re completely unnecessary and when the movie does decide to go back their storyline it seems out of place and slightly disorienting. So this bad wizard has the King’s nephew wrapped around his finger and his dick inside the King’s Magi’s daughter and it his intention to use these connections to take control to the Kingdom. Very soon Magi girl stops liking the bad wizard, the nephew decides he wants the insurrection to be accelerated, the farmer dude decides he wants to kill the bad wizard, the forest lesbians decide they want in on the killing action, the King catches wind of the bad wizard’s plans and the King’s generals naturally want to do what the King says. So with the human race united against him and his attempt at assignation-with-intent-of-insurrection thwarted the bad wizard decides to use the direct approach and just attacks with his retarded Krug things. In the end the forces we are told are the good ones win out. Though I think I would have sided with Ray Liotta to be honest.
Review: Uwe Boll has been stroking a boner for “The Lord of the Rings” for years now and has badly wanted to do his own epic, confident he could do so much better. Well he’s finally got his wish and he has not disappointed.
Where does one begin with this Dungeon Siege tale? I suppose the best place to start would be the actors. I mean, Burt Reynolds is the freaking King for crying out loud! You just can’t do any better than that. Ray Liotta and Matthew Lillard are just brilliant in this movie, it’s worth watching just for them and it seems pretty clear they knew what kind of movie they were in. (though I would argue both are brilliant in everything they’re in) Apparently that Statham dude is physically incapable of talking normally and is stuck in that “24” style whispering but whispering really loudly for dramatic effect. Even in tender scenes with his wife the dope sounds likes he’s sneaking in an office building to rescue the hostages or something. And poor Leelee wants so badly for people to remember that she exists. She and Reynolds give it their all in legitimately decent performances that not only offer an interesting contrast to the shit that surrounds them but is very sad as it is nearly impossible to take either one of them seriously. Just the name Burt Reynolds conjures up images from scenes like in “Striptease” where the man is completely coated in petroleum jelly and wearing only a cowboy hat and boots with a thong. I just can’t help but laugh. Brian White gives a decent performance as well but as the movie progresses and the battles start up it’s like he just realized what kind of movie he was in and goes crazy to some wonderfully funny effect. The Farmer’s kid is hilarious and while most of the cast felt unnecessary their awkwardness and lameness adds greatly to the experience that is In the Name of the King.
I’m sure some would argue that this is the best Boll script so far but that’s really not saying much. And Boll didn’t write it so I must examine it purely on it merits as a stand-alone movie, not an Uwe Boll film. The script was fortunate to have such great actors bring it to life and had it not been for their interpretation it would not come off well at all. The best proof of this is seen by looking at the mostly unnecessary characters that are merely spouting out some very simple dialogue with some very simple motivations. Be sad, be funny, be hopeful, be scared, and other things like that. When they speak it seems awkward and silly. It is through these characters that the true nature and quality of the script emerges. The occasional use of old English and overly simplistic nature of the dialogue comes off as droll and uninspired as those are the most pretentious things I could think to say about a lame script. I’m sure somebody out there would like to argue that the film follows Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and to some degree I suppose that’s true. After all, the main character is actually called “Farmer.” That’s right, they literally named the dude “Farmer.” It is this obvious and rather pathetic attempt to make the film something more than it is that I feel best exemplifies the script as a whole. It’s basically just a bunch of annoying shit like that. Other than that the film really holds no relevant or deep-seeded themes brought to life through archetypal storytelling played out with interesting characters set against a beautiful and fantastic setting interlaced with fun action and moving emotion. It’s really more an extra long Saturday morning cartoon show. A villain, Ray Liotta, tries to cease ultimate power and a lame hero, Farmer, stops him. I’m looking forward to the nearly three hour extended director’s cut but as it stands the theatrical version feels very condensed and the whole thing somewhat unexplored.
The Battles, The Action, The Effects
Between Statham’s magic boomerang and the “Power Ranger” style creatures and fighting the battles in this movie offer us some great scenes. Whether it’s people holding still long enough to be flipped or weapons dully thudding against clothes like in Sci-Fi channel movie or just the ridiculously stupid and poorly considered fights that completely ignore every consideration taken into real combat this movie’s violence is laughably bad. I’m not going to waste time going into tactical considerations to try to make myself sound smart but seriously, you would have to be a total imbecile to think that’s what fighting is or should be. They have ninjas on the front lines jumping around on trees while the knightly clad human forces are fighting in the forest where all that armor would just be an encumbrance. Their archers would be useless and instead of utilizing their human strengths like discipline and formations they just engage in this silly melee like some kind of giant street gang fight against big stupid monsters who have no fear. If the Kingdom of Ehb’s military leaders are really that dim then that must be the easiest kingdom in the known universe to take over. But here’s the thing, they had fight chorographer Tony Ching of “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers” fame. Even with legitimate talent like that Uwe still manages to pull off something that looks hokey as hell. Oh and apparently before going into battle it's tradtional for boths sides to slather themselves in kerosene. Some of the visuals may have been better than in the past but they are also ripped directly from other movies, namely “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. (see if you can spot the influence) As with many of his films there is at least one thing that’s legitimately good, like the makeup in “House of the Dead,” in this case I like the costumes. Not including the Krug who like Power Ranger villains. Maybe I’m wrong but I like the costumes.
As always the best part of Mr. Boll’s films is his earnest believe that he and his work are brilliant. He has said that In the Name of the King is actually better than The Lord of Rings. Nothing could be further from the truth and he doesn’t even realize it. As with all his work this film fails in nearly every way. Its action defies the laws of nature, its attempts at humor fall flat, its writing is among the worst in film history, its character development is too deliberate, and the overall quality of production is so poor that none of the themes are fleshed out and its goals are not met. And for a bad movie fan such as myself, it’s a lot of fun to watch. Thank you Mr. Boll and if you are reading this please put me in one of your movies.