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With: Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Kristanna Loken, Matthew Lillard, Brian J. White, Mike Dopud, Will Sanderson, Tania Saulnier, Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Gabrielle Rose, Terence Kelly, Colin Ford, Michelle Harrison, Eva Padberg, Darren Shahlavi, Aaron Pearl, Michael Eklund, Ron Selmour, Paul Wu
Written by: Doug Taylor, based on a story by Jason Rappaport, Dan Stroncak, Doug Taylor
Directed by: Uwe Boll
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense battle sequences
Running Time: 127
Date: 01/01/2006

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Having a Boll

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Uwe Boll makes bad films. Only Boll himself might dispute that. If you're looking for a good film, check out The Lord of the Rings trilogy. But there's still something about Boll that's uniquely interesting. (He even has his own devoted cult following.) It comes down to one thing: Boll's films have personality. No matter how bad they get, they still feel as if human beings, rather than computers, made them. Given a choice between Boll's In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and another swordfighting epic, say, Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), I'd take Boll's new film. Scott's film was ponderously dull, but In the Name of the King provided a weird kind of perverse pleasure; it had me wondering how in the world this film got made and where Boll's bizarre filmmaking choices came from.

Jason Statham stars as a farmer -- called "Farmer" -- whose wife (Claire Forlani) is kidnapped by an army of monsters ("The Krug"). Teamed with his brother-in-law (Will Sanderson) and an old friend (Ron Perlman), he hits the road to find her. It turns out that an evil magus Gallian (Ray Liotta) is controlling the marauding army so that the king's spoiled, ungrateful nephew (Matthew Lilliard) can take the throne. But the king (Burt Reynolds), his faithful magus (John Rhys-Davies) and the magus' daughter (Leelee Sobieski) have other plans. Kristanna Loken co-stars as Elora, the queen of the tree people, who aid Farmer in his battles. Blessed with action choreography from the great Ching Siu Tung (Swordsman II, The Heroic Trio), the action in this film is much clearer than in other Boll films, but Boll's strange editing techniques inspire great head-scratching. He jarringly cuts from one location to another in the middle of everything. Worse, when Gallian is manipulating his evil army, he appears in a room full of swirling fog; and Boll awkwardly cuts this footage into the middle of the outdoor battle sequences! Despite the jaw-dropping cast, the energy of the performances tends to flag, so Boll relies heavily on bad music to pump things up. Only Lillard and Liotta manage some (laughable) scenery chewing. Still, I wouldn't change a thing. It's been a while since I've seen Hollywood filmmaking this unsafe and unhinged.

DVD Details: Fox's DVD release comes with a chunk of interesting behind-the-scenes footage, deleted/extended scenes and trailers.

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