In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

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Posted January 1, 2012 by in

Rating

Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

3.5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: fantasy
 
Director: Uwe Boll
 
MPAA Rating: PG-13
 
Actors: Jason Statham, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta
 
Length: 127 minutes
 
Release Date: 1/11/2008
 
Studio: Boll Kino Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, Herold Productions, Brightlight Pictures
 
 
What We Thought

Films receive many titles, like “good cheese”, and “great trash.” In the Name of the King is between the two: “great cheese,” campy, and in its own way, kinda cool.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
This is very difficult for me to write about.   As a critic, I’m supposed to praise Pedro Almodovar and his big screen soap operas, and I’m supposed to hate the very breath that Uwe Boll draws.  Boll’s House of the Dead was a waste of time, and I couldn’t even bring myself to do a review of Alone in the Dark—it’s that bad.  Mr.  Boll averages an 18 at Metacritic.com.  But he doesn’t make movies for critics, who care about film as a challenging art form, requiring mastery of storytelling, cinematography, editing, and so on.  He makes movies for 18 year old boys who want to see half-naked women and zombies.  At the risk of damaging my credibility, I’m just gonna going to ahead and say it; I saw an Uwe Boll movie, In the Name of the King:  A Dungeon Siege Tale, and I enjoyed it tremendously.
     And what’s not to like about it?  It has Jason Statham as Farmer, a peasant-turned-warrior after his young son is killed and his wife is kidnapped.  Statham is a capable action hero, doing his own stunts, jump-kicking and sword-swinging his way through legions of Krugs, a sub-human race controlled by the evil wizard Gallian, played by a scene-chewing Ray Liotta.  Gallian intends to conquer the kingdom of Ehb using the king’s drunken, traitorous nephew Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard) as a puppet king.  Farmer pursues the Krugs across the land in hopes of rescuing his wife, while King Konried (Burt Reynolds) attempts to recruit him to battle against the inhuman horde.
     The special effects are surprisingly good, particularly when wizards Gallian and Merick (John Rys-Davies) turn themselves to dust, and allow the wind to carry their matter far away, where they re-materialize from the inside-out.  There’s exterior shots of CGI castles and dungeons that aren’t quite Lord of the Rings, but are impressive nevertheless.  I myself have accused Uwe Boll of stretching his meager budget too far, but not here.  In the Name of the King is a damn good looking movie.  For you cinephiles, it’s shot in 2:35, and the compositions are pleasing.  Boll has struggled with editing in all of his previous movies, but here, he’s abandoned the MTV school of editing, and cuts the film together in a skillful, disciplined way.  There’s some fun sequences where Gallian controls Krug field generals from within his lair.  The scenes cut together so we understand that when the Krug speaks, it’s Gallians making them do so.
     Even what doesn’t work about In the Name of the King works in its favor.  Matthew Lillard’s scenes as Duke Fallow, the scheming nephew of King Konreid, range from bad to terrible, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun.  If you can laugh at a “bad” movie, at least you’re laughing.  There’s many a bad movie (some of them directed by Uwe Boll himself) where it’s terribleness isn’t enjoyable.  But In the Name of the King boasts over-the-top actions scenes where the Krugs launch themselves on man-sized sling shots to propel themselves through skirmishes.  Sometimes, they light fellow Krugs on fire, put them in catapults, and send them soaring through the air, until they crash into trees…interesting tactic?  There is a lot of speechifying in In the Name of the King, but none of it is rousing or inspiring.  What is inspiring about In the Name of the King is it will be damned if isn’t at least trying to be a better movie.  Once the quasi-ninjas start jumping out of trees and into the battlefield–a strategy used repeatedly but  isn’t explained–does one realize that In the Name of the King earns a title.  Films receive many titles, like “good cheese”,  and “great trash.”  In the Name of the King is between the two:  “great cheese,”  campy, and in its own way, kinda cool.  John Rhys-Davies adds gravitas to the adventure as the good wizard Merick, adviser to King Konreid, and father to maiden Muriella (Leelee Sobieski), whom Gallian courts for nefarious purposes.
     In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is currently available on Blu-Ray and DVD.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

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