It took me almost the entirety of the film to figure out who among the entirety of the cast and crew of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale thought that making this movie was a good idea. My conclusion was that it doesn’t matter. Uwe Boll wanted to make it, and so he did. He was given a far larger budget than he should have, and it’s all wasted with this production. He got together a bunch of well-known actors, some of whom might have turned in the worst performance of their careers with this release.
The lead is a farmer named Farmer (yes, seriously) played by Jason Statham whose accent doesn’t fit in with anyone else in the film, save for, perhaps, John Rhys-Davies, although both of them are too talented to be in this schlock. One day, out of the blue, Farmer’s wife is captured and his son is killed by evil creatures that the film calls “Krugs,” but who reminded me as one of the rejected costumes for the Orcs in Lord of the Rings. They look awful, although they’re just foot soldiers. There’s a bigger plot afoot, although you won’t care.
See, there’s a guy who wants the king dead, and there’s a sorcerer who basically functions as the main bad guy because he’s a sorcerer and they’re all-powerful. Farmer has to gather friends to help rescue his wife, because that’s all that matters, apparently. Even after he’s told that something bigger is happened, he doesn’t care. That’s a little admirable, but it means that he’ll have to be convinced to help later, lengthening the running time to an unbearable length. In the Name of the King plays for over two hours, which is about an hour and a half too long.
The name Uwe Boll doesn’t make many people happy. He’s the one behind awful video game adaptations, and is someone who often doesn’t appear to know what he is doing when he makes a movie. If there’s an example that anyone needs to hold up and point to when making this statement, In the Name of the King should suffice. This is an awful movie, and seems even worse when you note how often it tries and fails to rip off Lord of the Rings.
It’s not like Lord of the Rings was the first of its kind — not by a long shot; sword and sorcery movies were really popular before it was made into a movie. However, with it coming out just a short time after Peter Jackson’s fantastic trilogy, and considering how frequently it attempts and does not succeed at copying entire scenes, these comparisons are completely justified. Everything that made Lord of the Rings good is missing here, so you’re basically left with a compilation of deleted scenes without context, character or coherency.
None of the characters here have any depth to them. They’re written horribly, they’re poorly acted, and none of them seem to matter in the long run. There isn’t even any real danger to the fight scenes, which is one of the biggest flaws. Even if not everyone will make it out alive, it feels that way and they’re boring as a result. If there’s one thing that In the Name of the King can’t be, it’s dull, but somehow, Boll finds a way to make that happen scene after scene.
You might think the atrocious dialogue and hammy acting would make it more interesting. You would be wrong. This isn’t one of those so-bad-it’s-good movies; it’s just too bad to enjoy at all. Sure, it’s kind of fun to see Burt Reynolds — oh yeah, Burt Reynolds is totally in this movie — yelling for his ninjas, but that’s about the only standout moment. The rest has been done so, so much better elsewhere, giving you no reason to watch it here. $60 million being thrown down the drain would have been a better use of the money.
Not even the action scenes were enjoyable. They’re plenty violent, and yet they’re bloodless. Why? Because there wasn’t much blood in Lord of the Rings, I’m guessing. Or maybe the studio figured that the best way to recoup the loss they were going to take was to keep the PG-13 rating and remove and CGI blood that had probably already been added. The best thing that can be said about the action is that it’s competent. Boll’s only strength — if you can call it that; it’s more like his only “not-weakness” — as a director is action, and they’re all fine. Boring as could be, but from a technical aspect, they’re okay.
Here are some of the names that appear in this film. Take this as their wall of shame. Jason Statham. Leelee Sobieski. Ron Perlman. Kristanna Loken. Burt Reynolds. Ray Liotta. John Rhy-Davies. Matthew Lillard. Claire Forlani. There you go. Now, if you ever need a film to cite when talking about a bad performance or a role taken for a paycheck from any of these actors, you can use this film.
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is an absolutely awful film. Do you have any reason to watch it? No. Even many of the “bad” sword and sorcery films of the ’80s and ’90s were better than this, and that’s saying a lot. At least those, even if they weren’t good, were fun because you could laugh at them. This one is too long and too dull to permit even that. It has awful performances, boring action, a lack of clarity, coherency or reason to care, and I hope nobody else is subjected to it.