IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE (Uwe Boll). 115 minutes. Opens Friday (January 11). Rating: N
Here’s yet another Uwe Boll movie based on a video game. So far, he’s done House Of The Dead (2003), Alone In The Dark (2005), Bloodrayne (2005), Postal (2007) and now In The Name Of The King.
Like Alone In The Dark (I haven’t seen the others), In The Name Of The King is long on visually confused, thrill-free action and short on everything else that makes a movie pleasurable.Except CGI-enhanced scenery. There are maybe 90 seconds’ worth of lovely establishing shots, but CGI artistry has progressed so far that even the crummiest fantasy can boast at least one of those.
The clichéd story has a turnip farmer named Farmer (Jason Statham) dragged into the war against the Klugs (think low-rent Orcs), which are secretly led by the king’s weenie nephew (Matthew Lillard) and a power-mad sorcerer (Ray Liotta).
Eventually, Farmer and sorcerer square off for their highly derivative duel (Matrix, anyone?), which foregrounds but does not answer the film’s most burning question: where did turnip boy learn those fancy martial arts moves?
That ludicrous incongruity is matched by the cast, half of which is British and sounds it. Half is American and sounds it. Some in both camps go for fantasy-approved stylized oration. Others try naturalism. Nothing clicks.
Meanwhile, Leelee Sobieski (good wizard John Rhys-Davies’s supposed warrior daughter) wanders around behaving like a contemporary urbanite who hasn’t got a clue what movie she’s in.
Not that it matters. No actor could bring life to lines like, “Wisdom shall be our hammer. Goodness shall be our nail.”