In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds

In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds comes highly anticipated after the mega-blockbuster that was In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Of course, at this point you’ve probably already realized that I’m joking, as A Dungeon Siege Tale was an absolutely awful movie. It was boring and essentially a Lord of the Rings ripoff that took everything good about Peter Jackson’s trilogy, threw it out the window, and kept the rest. Uwe Boll, for whatever reason, wanted to make a sequel, so here it is.

It doesn’t really have any relation to the first film, by the way. That’s probably for the best, as even Uwe Boll must have realized the dud he made. This one actually begins in present day, as a former soldier, current karate teacher named Granger (Dolph Lundgren) is chilling out in Vancouver. Some warriors from the past invade his home, try to kill him, and eventually bring him back to the past. He’s informed that he’s part of a prophecy, and that he, some good warriors, and a doctor named Manhattan (Natassia Malthe) need to go kill a witch.

Of course, there’s more to it than that, and to give the film credit, it does throw a twist — predictable as it is — into the mix later on. It also contains so many random elements that come up for absolutely no reason that it’s almost an incredibly compelling watch. Unlike the first In the Name of the King, this one is at least watchable. It’s even crazier, but that works in its favor. You are glued to the screen watching a glorious train wreck, and I can’t say I was disappointed.

You don’t need coherency in a film like this one. In fact, because the first one tried to make sense at all times — even though it more often than not failed — it couldn’t be as crazy as it wanted to be. This one just throws whatever it wants at its characters and you have to either accept that and love it or move to something else. You know those kids who make things up whenever they think their story is starting to bore you? In the Name of the King 2 feels exactly the same way in its storytelling approach.

And, get this: Despite being filmed on a far smaller budget than the first one — $7.5 million as opposed to $60 million — In the Name of the King 2 looks a heck of a lot better, and even throws in a CGI dragon near its finale. Now, the CGI is awful, but that’s kind of charming in a movie like this one. The sets and costumes have actually improved, perhaps because so many big name actors weren’t involved, and the film doesn’t seem quite as fake as a result. In fact, the scenes that felt the least realistic took place in modern day Vancouver.

Even the action has improved. Oh, sure, we’re using shaky-cam and quick-cut editing, but there’s blood, and the swords actually look like they hit people. There’s a little bit more creativity, and the choreography has been improved. Sure, it’s still not great, but in a film like this, I’ll take any silver lining you can find. I was rarely bored during In the Name of the King 2, save for a couple of meaningless dialogue exchanges that go on for far too long.

The tone is also much lighter this time around, as characters are actually free to make jokes. Dolph Lundgren might not be a great actor, but he has screen presence and is far funnier than Jason Statham was in the first film. He cracks wise, and so do his supporting cast members. Instead of the super serious tone of the first film — despite all of the weird things going on around the characters — this one is a lot lighter and more enjoyable as a result. These characters recognize the absurdity of the situation.

I suppose most of the elements of the film are still awful, but I’ll gladly take all of the improvements and run with those. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, the actors are all awful, the twist is predictable, the cinematography, while better — all of the shots are at least in focus this time — still is too shaky for no reason, the CGI dragon, while a welcome addition, looks terrible, and the dialogue is horrible. But I didn’t mind most of that in this film. It was cheesy and horrible, but fun. It’s a somewhat enjoyable B-movie.

Mostly, it’s just so insane and crazy that it’s compelling and you can’t look away. The hammy acting works here, and Dolph Lundgren, while half-asleep for part of the film, actually works out quite well in the lead. Natassia Malthe, who played Rayne in the second and third BloodRayne films (Boll also directed those), is even less emotional, yet still over-the-top at times. Their romance falls so flat that it almost works. Some of these things you just have to see.

In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds probably shouldn’t exist, but after having seen it, there’s a part of me that’s glad it does. Sure, it’s silly and poorly made, but it’s a huge improvement over the incredibly dull A Dungeon Siege Tale, and I’ll take a fun, poorly made film over a dull one of whatever quality nine times out of ten. It has a certain charming quality to it, and the insanity that is contained within is something that you almost have to see. And, since you don’t have to see the first film, at least that isn’t a hurdle that needs to be overcome.

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