This movie is so unbelievably bad that I have to break it down into parts for this review.
Based on a video game, it comes over as The Lord of the Rings lite, complete with Orc-like Krugs, John Rhys Davies, and a guy with a Legolas hairstyle. Bad guy Gallian (Ray Liotta) swirls around in clouds of smoke, and does his business through the eyes, ears and lips of really big Krugs who ride horses.
The only redeeming parts are the fight scenes with Statham, and even the battle scenes get monotonous after a while. And speaking of the battle scenes, we get the infantry and the archers and so on, but why do we have ninjas and Amazonian tree women in the mix-up? (Mind you, Kristanna Loken of the L-Word looks really good wrapped in leaves)
Leelee Sobieski is underutilized as the daughter of Rhys Davies character Merick, but comes into her own at the end, while Matthew Lillard does his Scooby Doo thing mainly for comic relief.
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS)
1. A farmer named Farmer farms his land with his family
2. Marauding Krugs under the command of Gallian attack
3. See Farmer fight
4. Fight Farmer, fight
5. Farmer fights in vain, but lives to fight again
6. The King wants Farmer in his army, but Farmer wants to be a one-man show
7. No man is an island
8. Farmer signs up, but has problems with the armor, which doesn't suit his image
9. Battle scenes
10. Change of leadership occurs
11. Grand finale with bad guy proves that books have power
12. Women totally rock
Jason Statham's role
There once was a farmer named Farmer
Who was rugged, but really no charmer
When the Krugs came for battle
He killed them like cattle
Without ever wearing his armor
Ray Liotta's role
There once was a power drunk mage
Who totally failed to engage
He is so badly cast
It will leave you aghast
As he stinks up his time on the stage
John Rhys Davies' role
Though this ain't The Lord of the Rings
We're glad for the class that he brings
And though he's on his own
There's a Legolas clone
To help the return of the kings
Burt Reynolds' role
We're more than a little bit hurt
To see what's become of old Burt
More tired than mean
He's a creaky machine
Out of gas, and now fully inert
This movie's no more than a joke
Filled with nothing but mirrors and smoke
With ninjas and magic
The plotline is tragic
And it's NOT Uwe Boll's master stroke.
on 23 June 2008
I'll be honest - I didn't think this was too bad. Ok, so it shamelessly rips off the million times better LOTR movies, but it was fairly enjoyable! I grew up in the time of Hawk The Slayer, Beastmaster, Sword And The Sorceror, Dragonslayer, Krull etc. Trust me, some of these were no Lord Of The Rings either! For every Conan the Barbarian, Excalibur or Dragonslayer (classics!) there was The Iron Master, The Sword Of The Barbarians & Ator The Fighting Eagle!!! Red Sonja and Willow were a bit iffy too, to say nothing of Sword Of The Valiant...
At least, this is innocent of any movie or album's cardinal sin, in that it is never boring! There's plenty of action, the CG is decent in most places - there's some reasonably impressive 'Marching Army' visuals, and the battle choreography is ok, apart from some kung fu elements which are misplaced. Have to say that the 'evil' army, a beast like race known as The Krug are basically a rip off of The Orcs, right down to the subterranean caverns that they live in! The Krug make up & costumes are a bit shoddy and won't give Weta Workshop any sleepless nights!
At least, the armour & costumes are more impressive for the 'good' army!
It's not as dark as The Rings epics and certainly suitable for younger viewers - there's no sex or strong violence, the battle scenes are relativeley bloodless. The film is often light hearted, and after a bit of a shaky start, improves considerably with time
It's basically like a pantomime - lot's of well known faces turn up, in something that is just out to entertain!
Jason Statham; unusually cast but more than ok as the hero, Burt Reynolds; improves as the story evolves, John Rhys-Davies; always good in any movie!
Kristanna Loken; as gorgeous as in Terminator 3.
Ray Liotta; have to say totally miscast as the evil sorceror!(a REALLY poor villain), Matthew Lillard; as entertaining as a bout of dermatitis!
It's not Return Of The King, It's not Troy, BUT if you can happily watch Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or Xena:The Warrior Princess, then there's a fair chance you'll enjoy it.
I know this movie has been really slated, and I can't disagree with a lot of the bad press, BUT come on, how many of us happily sit through Warlords Of Atlantis on Channel 5 or Land That Time Forgot on BBC2 ?? The FX in those films were awlful, even for the 1970's BUT we enjoyed them, we suspended disbelief!
There's a few decent extras on the disc, it hardly costs the earth, so if you like your fantasy, and are a bit forgiving, then at least rent it. It's more than passable entertainment for 2 hours. If you hate it, then dig out the old 'uns like Jason And The Argonauts or The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad...
on 26 May 2008
In the world of heroic fantasy there are very few really good movies outside of the LOTR franchise. We watched this movie in a double bill along side 10000BC and to be 100% honest there was no one there who felt this was the weaker of the two!
The cast is good, the story though not groundbreaking does career along at a good pace with enogh going on that I did not become disengaged.
In short if you like your high fantasy then you will probably like this.
If you take the rather sad but not uncommon approach that all fantasy is by default rather rubbish and only something spectacularly good is comparable to mediocre offerings in other genres then this is probably not hte movie for you.
Looking at In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, one of his many video game adaptations that have earned him the eternal damnation of legions of angry gamers, it's hard to make much of a case for Uwe Boll being the world's worst director. He's certainly not a very good one, but this is more the kind of mediocre any straight to video hack or the odd mainstream director like Brett Ratner at his laziest can deliver than the kind of car crash awfulness you get from the likes of the genuinely dire Robbie Moffat or Timbo Hines. Presumably more influenced by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films and Ridley Scott's Gladiator than the game itself, it's the kind of derivative fantasy that feels like a bigger budgeted modern version of films like The Magic Sword and Jack the Giant Killer without the monsters. Jason Statham is our hero, a farmer called, er, Farmer. Father to a murdered son, husband to a kidnapped wife, he vows to have his vengeance in this world or the next, but preferably this, spurning King Burt Reynolds' call to arms to rescue wife Claire Forlani from Ray Liotta's power-hungry warlock and discovering his true destiny and saving the kingdom along the way.
Rather than a turkey for the ages, it's fairly watchable if you're in an undemanding mood even if a better director could have made more of his resources. There's not much in the way of unintentional laughs beyond the laughable end title songs (three of `em, ranging from amateurish renaissance fair stuff to bad heavy metal), though it's hard not to guffaw when Statham's character's real name is revealed to be Camden: you can take the boy out of London, but you can't take London out of the boy...You can see where the money (reputedly a respectable $60m) was spent, with excessive helicopter shots of CGi fantasy landscapes and armies. There is one nicely conceived effect that sees Liotta in the middle of a whirlwind of images reflecting the viewpoint of his minions, but generally Boll is lacking in much in the way of visual imagination: his signature shots seem to be tracking in on characters regardless of context or distorted panning shots and at times in the first half of the picture Boll's use of colour looks like he couldn't be bothered to grade the film properly and just went for the one-light rushes look. But in an age where orange and teal seems the default look for every other picture, being unaware of the full colour range is hardly a unique offence.
The action scenes are uninvolving and stunts rarely shot or edited to their best advantage but that's hardly unique considering how poor most modern action scenes are, and at least there's none of the excessive shakeycam or four-cuts-a-second incomprehensibility that prevents you from telling what's actually going on. The exception is the big forest battle in the middle of the picture, which manages to be both insane - somersaulting ninjas, Krugs setting themselves on fire and being catapulted at the king's army, Statham jumping over horses to decapitate Krug commanders and Kristinna Loken's army of tree-dwelling lesbians hanging stragglers from vines with a life of their own - and relatively well executed enough for it to be a fair assumption the second unit took over that scene. Like many an action film before it, it completely overshadows the film's actual climax. But the film's real Achilles heel is the casting.
Statham is okay even if he's no Russell Crowe and Ron Perlman, who seems incapable of giving a truly bad performance despite being in some terrible crap, typically good, as is John Rhys Davies, promoted from dwarf to Gandalf-figure this time round, but the casting is downhill from there. Leelee Sobieski wanders through her scenes with the same blank expression and monotonous delivery for all occasions - love, loss, anger, pride - as if she's still in shock that she's gone from working with Stanley Kubrick to a shot-in-Canada German tax shelter Middle-Earth knockoff and the smelling salts aren't working (to be fair she has a couple of more expressive moments in the extended director's cut). Thanks to too much Botox and bad plastic surgery that makes him look more like a Mongol than a monarch in some scenes, a wildly miscast and disinterested Burt Reynolds at times looks more scary than the evil Orcs - sorry, Kruggs - as he often croaks his way through his direlogue while the even more miscast Ray Liotta, dressed first like Vincent Price and later like one of the cast of Grease and looking like a demented Bizarro World version of Tony Curtis, hasn't been this over the top since Turbulence. But perhaps pride of place belongs to Matthew Lilliard, seemingly playing his every scene as the king's duplicitous nephew like he's being attacked by a swarm of bees (think Renfield on acid) in the kind of loose-limbed and bug-eyed overemotional performance that seems designed to put anyone in their right mind off ever hiring him again. It's quite possible that the only reason he's still working is because so few people saw this.
The director's cut largely adds character scenes and backstory to clarify some plot points while extending other scenes from the theatrical version. It shows a bit more ambition than the theatrical cut in places, notably in a scene wryly crosscutting both King and treasonous nephew rallying their separate armies with exactly the same speech. There's even more unsanity in the extended big battle scene, with the slingshotting Krugs presumably deleted because of dodgy effects. It tends to make it seem more like a miniseries at times, which isn't such a bad thing, though those who hated the theatrical cut will probably find it interminable. At the end of the day it's no worse than many a Hallmark mini-series and certainly quite a bit better than the SciFy Channel's atrocious Earthsea: were it not for Boll's critical bete noire reputation and his tendency to challenge his critics to boxing matches it would probably have come and gone with no more attention than something like The Last Legion.
Still, someone must have loved it (possibly the legion of German dentists who helped fund it and whose names take up 50 seconds of the end credits): despite being a massive box-office flop and not even doing that well on home video, a sequel is actually going ahead with added time travel and Dolph Lundgren as a modern-day special forces veteran thrown back in time. Somehow I doubt it'll be an improvement...
The UK DVD from Metrodome is rather problematic. The two-hour theatrical version is presented in the wrong ratio - 1.85:1 instead of 2.35:1 - and has a few pixelation problems in a few shots, though it did have some extras: 8 deleted scenes, trailer, two featurettes and a commentary by Boll that seems to lose many of the more surreal moments from the US director's cut commentary like bringing his dog into the conversation, taking phone calls about other pictures in German and going off to get something to eat. By contrast the more than half-an-hour longer director's cut is in the right 2.35:1 ratio (although several scenes feel overcropped) but, beyond trailers for other films, has no extras at all - not even subtitles.
on 11 July 2014
It's got orcs, only they're called "krug", it's got wizards, both good and bad who do duel-y things in a round chamber. It's got elves (as in "not another f***ing elf") and it's got a wooden leading man and a slimy Ray Liotta who's the Sauron-figure in this cheap and tawdry, badly scripted, 100% derivative piece of meritless tripe. It's stodgily-photographed, woodenly and without skill directed by someone who will never be fit to tie one of Peter Jackson's shoelaces.
If you must see this god-awful rubbish, watch it on Netflix - (they even put in some Ninjas, for crying out loud). And if you need any further measure of how totally trashy this flick is, it's got Burt Reynolds cast as the king. Please note the absence of capital letter on the word. Reynolds hasn't actually acted in anything since he took one of the leads in that canoe-escape film (Deliverance) with John Voight. And he hasn't changed his recent habits for this one, either.
Everybody who contributed to this production, should be ashamed of themselves if they have any kind of professional pride at all.
on 16 May 2012
I really enjoy this genre, this time in history, etc, so I have quite a few movies and TV series on DVD and Blu Ray on the subject matter. Unfortunately, this was not up to the high standard we have come to expect from similar items. Sound and picture were fine, but IMO, the casting was shocking. Jason Statham in his usual hero, mouth shut, say nothing, quite achiever role, Ray Liotta in a role which was in no way designed for him (and I am a Liotta fan), and then Burt Reynolds??? C'mon, you expect us to believe Burt Reynolds as a king?
The story line was nothing new. One 'goodie' slaying a dozen 'baddies', over and over. Just my 2 cents.
You may like it. Plenty have. I however, was very disappointed.
Fans of the mighty 'Stat' will probably want to give this fluff a miss.
It's perhaps just as well - as "In The Name Of The King..." has garnished a bit of a price tag here in the UK on the new fangled format - and the American 20th Century Fox BLU RAY is REGION A LOCKED - so you can't play it anyway on our machines unless they're chipped to be 'all regions' (which few are).
I love the man personally and rate him as an actor - and as far as I’m concerned - Jason Statham can fart in a bottle and I’d think it was a symphony. But “A Dungeon Siege Tale” tested my patience - and I'm sure its high price tag on BLU RAY will test everyone elses.
One to avoid I'm afraid to say...
on 11 July 2014
this review will be rubbish, not half as bad as the film, so I forgive myself.
Could have easily turned this off after 37 secs, but found myself staring open mouthed for the next 15 mins that I had to continue to see if it could actually get worse.
Where do I start? Worst script I have ever heardm ,but in the same token, added light relief as I often found myself giggling at unintended lines, fight scenes and and the complete rip off of mostly lord of the rings and krull.
It really was very close to and could have genuinely been a comedy.
There were cracking lines between 'actors'. My personal fave moment was when one our heros ( can't remember name and don't care) is tied to wall in the Saurons ...Er I mean evil wizards castle. Anyway, so aragorn says, oops did it again, generic hero notices a bit of totty next to him and goes for some classic chat up line "so live round here then". " yeah " she says. Hero then goes for the big macho line " I'll get you out of here". she replies "we'll die down here ". Then, and this was priceless, camera zooms back to him, and do we get some huge uplifting speech or a confidence boosting message to give her hope? Nope. he just stares ahead with same look you might give it you've just remembered you've left a packet of Jonny's on your mums kitchen table - he says nothing at all. End of scene. Made me giggle.
Director - Hmm OK, so ideas for an evil wizard anyone?
Directors apprentice - How bout a grey wizards hat, grey cloak which turns white halfway through for some reason, and we call him Randalf?
Director - awsome, I like your thinking, but even WE wouldn't get away with that. tell you what , let's give him a leather jacket, a clubbing shirt and a 1990's hairdo. Oh and sod it, Let's stick ninjas in there to.
Directors apprentice - .....er what?
Yep all awful. Action utter naff - like a mental steroid induced 80's beat em up where its hero vs 100 at the same time and bad guys can get knocked out by a kick to the stomach ?? Wtf
The kings nephew is possibly the worst role for anyone in any film. A complete moron from start to finish.
Meh, I'm done now , can't be bothered with it.
its very bad. Funny because its bad.
Please watch it. It will make the next 5yrs of films you watch seem better.
I usually like fantasy films, even those which are bad - but this thing was too much even for me. Below, more of my impressions. This review in principle doesn't contain SPOILERS.
The story is supposedly about a farmer, who is simply named Farmer (Jason Statham), who lives with his wife (Claire Forlani) and son in a kind of medieval kingdom called Ehb, ruled by aging king Konreid (Burt Reynolds). Then one day the kingdom of Ehb is attacked by the army of a certain Gallian (Ray Liotta), a warlock exiled from the country long time ago. This will of course gravely affect everybody in Ehb, including Farmer and his family. I will say no more about the story.
The story is quite simple and we heard, read and saw it many times - but still, when they are well told, even the oldest and most known stories can be greatly enjoyed. Sadly, in this film, it is absolutely NOT the case. All characters are pale, the acting is wooden, dialogs are without interest, there is no humour, every next scene can be anticipated half an hour earlier, there is nothing original or surprising, action scenes are just a painful repetition of the main hero destroying everything in his path, bad guys are just sword fodder and the main villain is a sad, pathetic joke. All this makes this film so horribly BORING that it was an ordeal to watch it.
The director Uwe Boll got a big budget - 60 millions USD! - and wasted every cent of it, as we don't see anything worth that kind of money on the screen. He also managed to muster some good actors (Jason Statham, Burt Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, John Rhys-Davies) and three pretty girls (Leelee Sobieski, Kristanna Loken, Tania Saulnier) - and was completely unable to use them! In fact most of them seem just to wander aimlessly or simply stay there asking themselves "what am I supposed to do know?" when in the same time thinking "What the flip did I get myself into?".
This film is so horribly bad, that it simply has no redeeming qualities. AT ALL! This is a turkey of such epic proportions that if at least it was edible it could solve the problem of hunger in the world - but it is impossible to digest and deserves only to be regurgitated with extreme prejudice, for all parties involved...
I rented it instead of buying, but it was still a waste of time and money. AVOID!
I watched this caper on Blu_ray a few hours ago and was inspired to offer my own review after reading so many others. It seems to bear out that so many movie fans are divided over this effort from Uwe Boll. I have to agree with other reviewers that it is not a classic by any means. Nor, is it as bad as many others claim. Alright, the direction looked quite shaky at times, causing some scenes to look rather disjointed spoiling the flow of the movie. This may have been due to heavy cutting to make it a more acceptable length for cinema audiences. But, there are many great action sequences which are quite well done, and much of the CGI looks pretty good too.
As for the cast, the weaknesses are apparent with Burt Reynolds looking and acting way, way beyond his best. Ray Liotta is sadly miscast, and should not have been in this movie in the first place. John Rhys Davis, a veteran actor in his own right, looked bored and embarrassed in some scenes. But, hey, this is a movie for action fans, not Shakespeare. I enjoyed it in parts despite its inconsistencies, overlooking the weaknesses elsewhere, since I used to enjoy watching Xena The Warrior Princess a few years back. And yes, I have the full set of Xena on DVD which I still watch from time to time.
As for the Blu-Ray presentation which I played on my Playstation 3 which is attached via HDMI to my Sony Home Cinema amplifier, the picture and sound are both very good indeed.
For those who enjoy action movies and have a tendency to overlook the weaknesses within this movie, then I am sure you will find a lot to enjoy. For those critics who demand a lot more from their viewing, please avoid.