Friday, January 18, 2008
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)
Man, I don't even know where to start. I was expecting it to be bad and I wasn't disappointed. I hoped to be entertained by it's badness and I got that too. But the entertaining parts were separated by too many long, boring battle sequences, so even as an enjoyably flawed movie it's flawed.
In the Name of the King is a movie out of its time. Forget modern fantasy. This should've been made twenty-five years ago after the heyday of the Conan movies when stuff like The Sword and the Sorcerer, Deathstalker, and The Beastmaster were popular. That's the kind of quality we're talking about.
Well, maybe not that good.
Jason Statham plays a farmer named Farmer who's village is invaded by rubber-masked orc-ripoffs. When the king (played by a very sleepy Burt Reynolds) shows up after the fact with his army of about twenty guys, Farmer decides to head off on his lonesome to fight the Rubber Men rather than join the military. His brother-in-law and a friend (Ron Perlman) also decide to help him so the trio take off on a quest to find the evil sorcerer (Ray Liotta, who's apparently invented medieval hair gel and shared it with Burt and some of the other guys) who's trying to take over the world with the Rubber Men's help.
Couple'a subplots: Matthew Lillard is Burt Reynold's slimy nephew who's working with Ray Liotta under the assumption that he'll get to rule when Burt's dead. Burt's "magus" (played by Gimli) is trying to defeat Ray via sorcery, but he isn't getting very far, partly because Ray's seduced Gimli's daughter Leelee Sobieski into unwittingly helping him. Sort of. The Gimli/Leelee plot is pretty muddy and really doesn't do anything for the overall story, but now I'm analyzing on a level that the movie doesn't deserve.
Better to just remember the stupid, funny stuff like Ray Liotta's Nazgul ripoffs that he uses to channel through during battle so's he can participate while staying safe in his magic tower. What's sad though is that these tall, dark, halfway fierce-looking creatures all talk with Ray Liotta's high-pitched, not at all fierce-sounding voice. Sad, but freaking hilarious.
Another funny bit was when Farmer's family arrives at his in-laws' house. Grandma sees Farmer's kid and makes a joke about putting him in the oven. It's a stupid enough attempt at a light-hearted family moment, but the kid's reply, "I hate the oven!" is even better.
Matthew Lillard is almost good in his badness. He seems to be the only actor who realizes that hamming it up is the way to go in an Uwe Boll movie. The only other actors who are watchable are Statham (who wisely focuses on looking cool and butt-kicking) and Leelee (who takes a meaningless character and makes you like her).
Everyone else fails to create real characters out of their ridiculous dialogue ("Wisdom... is our hammer.") and cliché relationships. There's zero chemistry between Farmer and his wife (Claire Forlani) and even Ron Perlman, whom I usually love, looks silly trying to be both sage and comedy relief at the same time. There's one scene where Farmer's brother-in-law, who's been captured by the Rubber Men, is supposed to be chatting with a fellow prisoner in order to reassure her, but ends up sounding like he's hitting on her.
What else? I don't usually notice editing a lot, but it was so bad in this movie that I couldn't help it. Stuff like seeing two guys falling into a ravine with a river at the bottom; then, don't show the splash or anything, just cut to the two of them swimming. There were several moments like that.
It really only deserves one out of five Rubbermaid shields, but if you've got a sense of humor for this kind of thing: three out of five.