"In the Name of the King" DVD Review
May 09, 2008 by Zach Demeter
Sometimes you see a trailer for a film and think “Wow, really?” In the Name of the King generated such a response from me and made me wonder just why Jason Statham, Mr. Transporter, was doing as what appeared to be a knight. Then I watched the film and saw that no, he wasn’t a knight, he’s actually a farmer who is going after his kidnapped wife. I began to wonder just how such a film could be made and then I saw his name. I hadn’t seen it associated with this film much before, so it must have slipped my mind, but there it was, plain as day. This was a Uwe Boll film. It all made sense.
Farmer (Jason Statham) is a farmer (nope, not kidding) who has his land destroyed, his wife kidnapped and his son killed, all by the evil group known as The Krung. Farmer sets out on a quest to get his revenge and rounds up his friend Norick (Ron Perlman); the two eventually run into a few others on their way, a magician named Merick (John Rhyes-Davies), a tree nymph named Elora (Kristanna Loken) and a female warrior named Muriella (Leelee Sobieski). Together the group head to whipping out The Krung, who are now after King Konreid (Burt Reynolds). With the aid of the evil wizard Gallian (Ray Liotta), the Krung may just succeed on their quest, especially with Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard), the King’s right hand man, secretly planning to take him down along with the Krung.
It takes a wild imagination to come up with such a ridiculous plot and throw in so many rather decent actors and completely destroy it, but that’s what Boll excels at. I don’t know if he honestly believes if he makes great films or if it’s just some kind of marketing ploy, but how and why studios and actors gravitate towards his crap, I’ll never know. This is Loken’s second time working with him, you’d think she’d just have said “no”—it’s not like she’s getting any exposure with his films.
There were so many other actors who I enjoyed in this film that were just so wasted. I’ve grown to like Statham and his overly boisterous bravado in his action-packed flicks and Ray Liotta is a fine actor who I have enjoyed in quite a few films lately. And Ron Perlman…ever since his voice work on the animated Batman series and his role as Hellboy, I’ve become a huge fan of him and usually enjoy whatever he’s in, even if it’s only a superficial level. But this…no, this movie just makes me wish they had agents who put up a big wall when Boll comes around, because it was just an absolute mess.
Simply put, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, aside from having an absolutely ridiculous name, is really just a horrible film. Not only does Boll have some of the strangest directing choices with out of focus shots and an affinity for aerial views, but he seems to do it with intent on cloning Lord of the Rings. It’s an absolutely baffling idea that this film would even be made, but it was done and I can honestly say that while I was tired of the fantasy style movies before, this one just made me want to punt a kitten.
Begrudgingly I must admit that Boll does mindless violence rather well and the sequences found here are no different. While they lack the copious amounts of blood he’s known for, no doubt due to the films PG-13 rating, the battle sequences still remain as one of the grandest displays of rag doll usage around. Extreme violence abounds in this picture and when Burt Reynolds calls in the ninjas (what the hell, why not), it just gets even worse. I’ve never played the game series this film is based off of, but I cannot believe it’s as random as this film is.
The worst thing about the film is that it is over two hours long. Not only was this the first Boll film I’ve had to review, but it was also two hours long. I may have whined about AVP Requiem in that review, but I’d rather watch that a few more times than witness In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale again.
I’m sure there’s an audience out there for the absolutely stupid action movie that makes no sense, it is filled with extravagant amounts of absolutely stupid dialogue and no amount of beer or weed can make you think otherwise. The film is all about overabundance: overdirecting, overacting, overwriting and overboring, the film is simply a big fat waste of time. Unless you want to waste two hours of your life on something stupid, run away from this film. Run away. Run far away. Skip it.
Oh good, extras. The DVD is presented in a standard amaray DVD case with a slipcover (really? Of all Fox films I’ve reviewed that don’t have slipcovers, this one gets one?) and no insert. Menus are easy to navigate and the films technical presentation is what you’d expect. It’s a fair 2.35:1 video transfer with minimal amounts of compression and like all modern action movies the Dolby Digital 5.1 track sounds great. Surrounds are underutilized, but aside from that everything is clean, clear and the action sequences will draw you in until something stupid happens on the screen then you realize that you should be downing another beer as the brain cells die slower that way.
A small amount of extras are included on the disc and thankfully there is no commentary. Some sick part of me actually wished there was, as hearing Boll talk for two hours has to be some kind of scientific study in of itself, but sadly there’s nothing here. The first extra is a Behind The Scenes (10:09) feature that is really just ten minutes of footage shot on the set with music playing in the background. It has no focus and travels from scene to scene with no real central idea in mind.
Next up are deleted scenes. I normally like watching deleted scenes just to see what the directors left on the floor, but in this case I really wondered how there could be anything that was removed from the film considering its two hour runtime. All three of the deleted scenes arrive in anamorphic widescreen and are titled Rise Of A New King (3:08), Farmer And Norick Fend Off Krug (5:19), and Farmer, Norick And Bastian Take Rest (1:06). They’re all as horrible as the rest of the film, I assure you. The rest of the extras on the set are your usual set of trailers (for this film and others).
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Skip this release. If you find yourself wondering “Hey, I wonder if that film is really as bad as they say it is”, take that money you’re going to waste and either a) light it on fire and stare into the pretty orange flames or b) donate it to some charity for hiring better German directors to replace Boll, because the man simply doesn’t want to stop making crap.
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is now on DVD.