In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Directed by Uwe Boll. Starring Jason Statham and Claire Forlani. Rated 14A.
Making fun of Uwe Boll movies is such easy sport that something should complicate it—and that something is provided by the filmmaker himself, who occasionally threatens critics who do their jobs too well. So I’ll play angel’s advocate and say something nice about the German-born director: he really likes making movies!
Boll must, in fact, be extra passionate about his process, as he is able to raise heaps of money for laughable video-game spinoffs (BloodRayne and House of the Dead, for example) and attract reputable, if not A-list, actors. And, much like Ed Wood before him, he seems thrilled by whatever he gets from them. Whether this enthusiasm is to be shared by audiences will be determined by their tolerance for obvious Lord of the Ring “tributes” and dialogue that is mostly of the “whaddya gonna do aboudit?” variety.
Jason Statham plays Farmer, a medieval dirt-turner drafted into action when his family is threatened by the Krugs—zombie warriors who bear CGI similarity to orcs (i.e., they’re easy to defeat even in vast numbers). Nasty forces are arrayed against good King Konreid (Burt Reynolds, maintaining his dignity against heavy odds) and a magician and his daughter (John Rhys-Davies and Leelee Sobieski, respectively). Things really get personal when Farmer’s wife (Claire Forlani) is kidnapped and he has to go after a sorcerer (an ultra-campy Ray Liotta) abetted by the king’s drunken-but-crafty nephew (Matthew Lillard, looking more embarrassed than tipsy).
Another interesting fact about Boll is that he has a doctorate in literature. Happily, this doesn’t prejudice him against a supernaturally tone-deaf screenplay from Doug Taylor. “Tomorrow we gouge evil from its shell,” Farmer rasps the night before battle.
By the way, the producer-director has almost a dozen more movies in the pipeline for the next three years. And, pray tell, whaddya gonna do aboudit?