Sunday, February 14, 2010

Worst of the Worst: #49, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

So you can participate in even some way in the suckage of the #49 movie, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, I'm embedding audio of the song that plays over the end credits. It's awful, so please to hit play and listen to Blind Guardian's "Skalds and Shadows" while you read the review.

As I've said before, German director Uwe Boll is a true legend in the field of bad movies. He has a lifetime achievement award from the Razzies. He specializes in making movies of video games and we know how bad those kinds of movies always are. He shows up on this "Worst of the Worst" list four times and I've already seen one of them, Bloodrayne, which I loved. So I was looking forward to watching In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, because I assumed that Boll's movies are all funny-bad. But, no! There were certainly some unintentional laugh-out-loud moments in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (I like writing the title out), but it's mostly quite dull. Boll tries to be serious about it, instead of his usual kitsch. In fact, because it's about some dumb quest and has monsters in it, sort of, it could be called "Bored of the Rings" instead of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is about a farmer named, um, Farmer (they try to explain it but it's really annoying) who lives happily in a village in some kingdom or another. When some monster-ish things bust into his town for no reason and kill his young son and kidnap his wife, he sets off to avenge and find, respectively. It turns out the monsters are controlled by an evil wizard who is trying to take over the kingdom by killing the king and installing the king's only heir, a screw-up nephew as the new ruler. Why this involves monsters attacking a farm was never quite answered. Meanwhile, the wizard strengthens his powers by seducing the daughter of the king's good wizard, who then gets a bout of conscience and decides to fight for the good guys. The king's good wizard visits the town that Farmer lives in and realizes something special has happened (Spoiler Alert: Farmer is actually the real heir to the throne, if you didn't already figure it out) and tries to convince Farmer that defeating the wizard will both save the kingdom and save the wife. A lot of poorly shot battle scenes ensue, blah, blah, blah. In fact, the editing came very close to giving me a seizure. Whereas Inglourious Basterds, which I watched again last night, has a lot of lingering camera shots, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale has scenes that involve a number of one-second camera shots that keep switching back and forth. Excedrin time.

Okay, so you have the plot, but here's the thing. It has an big-name cast and this is where the true unintentional comedy of In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale comes in to play. Farmer is played by Jason Statham, who's awesome. I mean, the guy's pretty much great in anything, even if this isn't quite The Bank Job or Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. His wife is played by Claire Forlani, who's just fine. One of his sidekicks is played by Ron Perlman, who isn't quite as good as he is when he's a bunch of red makeup, but he's okay. The good wizard is played by John Rhys-Davies, who's also just fine. But let's take a break right here.

One of my new pet peeves is the crutch of a script of a period piece with very stilted lines delivered in British accents. Every Roman movie or TV show, from Gladiator to Rome to (in my opinion, the entirely unwatchable) Spartacus: Blood and Sand has this. As did Lord of the Rings, of course. This movie is no exception, but then you get into the other members of the cast. The king's screw-up, evil nephew is played by Matthew Lillard, who does an okay British accent but just isn't a very good actor. The evil wizard is played by Ray Liotta, who doesn't even try. He shows less passion than a Washington Wizards player. The king is played by Burt Reynolds. Burt Reynolds. Liotta just talks regularly, but there's no way in hell that Burt Reynolds could ever try any accent other than his regular voice. So imagine Burt Reynolds delivering these stilted lines that use "shall" instead of "will" and so on. It's funny.

As I watched this, I wondered why anyone would work with Boll. Everyone knows that he's in the conversation for worst director in the world. Why would anyone finance his movies? Bloodrayne cost $25 million to make and has made $3 million. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (or ItNotK: ADST) cost $60 million and made $27 million. You might as well just light $20 million on fire or trust it to an NBA GM. But, there's an interesting Producers-like angle to this. It turns out that, in Germany, the country is so hungry for a film industry that there are all kinds of tax shelters and reimbursements for movies that lose money. So, as long as Boll produces his movies in Germany, they can lose money and his investors still make out like bandits. I mean, seriously, like bandits, since they're stealing multiple millions of dollars from people that, by going to see his movies in the theater, prove themselves to be even too stupid to be contestants on this new season of The Amazing Race. What does it mean? We have more Uwe Boll movies to look forward to in the future and for that, at least, we can all be grateful (so long as we all like bad movies).

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