- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
here are good directors (Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese) and there are bad directors (Gus Van Sant, Brett Ratner). And then there’s Uwe Boll, a man so despised by moviegoers for his low-budget adaptations of second-tier video games that the guy had to literally beat up a bunch of unruly film critics just to regain a little self-respect. Shameless promotion aside, the German-born filmmaker has actually shown signs of improvement over the last few years, and though his latest film, “In the Name of the King,” is a blatant clone of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, it still ranks as his best movie to date.
Jason Statham stars as Farmer, a simple peasant who, after his wife Solana (Claire Forlani) is kidnapped during a village raid by a band of orc-like creatures called krugs, embarks on a quest to rescue her from the evil wizard Gallian (Ray Liotta). With the help of his best friend, Norick (Ron Perlman), and brother-in-law Bastian (Will Sanderson), the trio proves a formidable team, but what Farmer doesn’t realize is that he’s destined to play a much bigger role in the impending war. Gallian has teamed up Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard) in a plot to take control of the kingdom, and though the king (Burt Reynolds) is quick to respond, his army – including Commander Tarish (Brian J. White) and Merick the magician (John Rhys-Davies) – must rely on the aid of Farmer to save the day.
As is expected, “In the Name of the King” is a B-movie adventure film dressed up like a big-budget epic. The krugs look like “Lord of the Rings” orcs that have been designed by a “Power Rangers” production assistant, and a majority of the other costumes appear to have been borrowed straight from the local Medieval Times. Even some of the film’s actors deliver performances that you’d only expect to see at a renaissance fair-themed dinner theater. Ray Liotta hams it up like Nicolas Cage on a particularly bad day, while Matthew Lillard transcends self-parody with an accent so bad you’ll be left wondering how he was ever cast. And then there’s Burt Reynolds, a man who doesn’t even know how to play a king, let alone look like one.
The story itself is also pretty kitschy and has very little to do with the original “Dungeon Siege” game, but unlike most Uwe Boll films, it’s still entirely watchable. The SFX shots (few as they may be) are quite impressive, while guys like Jason Statham, Ron Perlman and Brian J. White actually manage to do a decent job with the material they’ve given. It’s not great, mind you, but the fact that it’s not as bad as “Dungeons & Dragons” should be enough to make even Boll proud of the final product. After all, if you walk into a movie like “In the Name of the King” with any sort of expectations, you’re guaranteed to be disappointed. If you don’t, however, you might just walk away feeling like it wasn’t a complete waste of your time or money.
Unrated Director's Cut Blu-Ray Review:
Fox may not have been brave enough to release Uwe Boll’s 162-minute cut of “In the Name of the King” in theaters, but credit them for at least making it available for the few fans who were interested. It’s not that much better, but with over 30 minutes of additional footage, it does help to fill in some of the gaps, including the fate of Matthew Lillard’s character. Also included on the Blu-ray is a brand new audio commentary with the director where he discusses casting (Kevin Costner was his first choice for the lead) and making the film, as well as the same amateurish behind-the-scenes featurette and deleted scenes from the original DVD release.