Only Uwe Boll would assume that the moviegoing public craved a trashy Lord of the Rings rip-off starring Burt Reynolds and Matthew Lillard, and only he could then manage to make such a potentially riotous endeavor so humorless. It’s true that with In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, his fourth feature film adaptation of a video game, the supremely untalented German director continues to show signs of minor formalistic development. Yet considering his previous works’ wholesale ineptitude, that compliment is a backhanded one, and in truth, there’s almost nothing to recommend about this cinematic substitute for sleeping pills, which concerns a mythical land where a farmer named Farmer (Jason Statham) is thrust into a war begun by a sniveling prince (Lillard) and an evil sorcerer (Ray Liotta) after his wife (Claire Forlani) is kidnapped. In what amounts to one long, rambling odyssey by sleepwalking actors through unremarkable countrysides, Boll’s adventure has Farmer slay countless Krugs (men in bad Orc costumes) while journeying to a magician’s stronghold, along the way crossing paths with Leelee Sobieski’s warrior/wizard and some forest folk who swing on branches like wannabe Cirque du Soleil performers. It’s almost too kind to say that the story has no meat on its bones, as In the Name of the King seems less an original narrative than a patchwork compendium of moments—not all of them even pertinent, but what the hey!—borrowed from past fantasy epics. That Boll is now plagiarizing from Tolkien and Peter Jackson instead of his former, favorite source, the Wachowskis, is a nominal improvement. But regardless of his notable cast and bigger budget, Boll’s latest is as incompetent and awful as one would expect from a hack whose entire career reportedly exists solely thanks to a German law that provides tax write-offs for investors if the film loses money—a law that, in effect, makes Boll a real-world Max Bialystok.
- Freestyle Releasing
- 124 min
- Uwe Boll
- Doug Taylor
- Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Kristanna Loken, Matthew Lillard, Brian J. White, Ray Liotta, Burty Reynolds
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