I would like to think that Uwe Boll is not a mentally-challenged individual. However, the incompetence of his movies speaks otherwise, and while "In the Name of the King" is far from the worst thing he's ever thrown together in a hurry, it pretty much erases the argument that Boll's idiocy was a direct result of his minuscule budgets.
A simple farmer named...er, Farmer (Jason Statham, in need of a better agent) has found his land violently overrun by snarling beasts known as the Krug, who have abducted his wife (Claire Forlani) and murdered his child. Guided by the evil sorcerer Gallian (Ray Liotta), the Krug are advancing on King Konreid (Burt Reynolds) with plans to take over his kingdom, assisted by the King's scheming lackey, Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard). On a race to rescue his wife, Farmer and his heroic neighbors (including Ron Perlman) encounter magicians (John Rhys-Davies), tree nymphs (Kristanna Loken), and fellow warriors (Leelee Sobieski) on their path to revenge.
Someone, somewhere thought it was a smashing idea to hand over a 60-million-dollar check to Boll to realize a feature film adapted from an obscure video game entitled "Dungeon Siege." These faceless, apparently alcoholic, millionaires obviously did not receive the golden opportunity to view Boll's spastic, crummy takes on games such as "House of the Dead," "BloodRayne," and "Alone in the Dark" beforehand.
Boll has become something of an industry joke for his shortage of directorial competence, and rightfully so. The man has no idea how to make movies, relying on the ideas of other, far more intuitive filmmakers to coast by. With "King," Boll doesn't simply steal from the hordes of previously forgotten sword & sorcery pictures; instead, he lunges straight for the gold, liberally ripping off Peter Jackson and his sacred "Lord of the Rings" triumph. While the rest of the picture is strikingly boring in every conceivable way, the only thing that brings genuine excitement to the screen is watching Boll pass off Jackson's visual brush strokes as his own. Seriously, the two films are identical at times.
Thievery is only the first of "King's" offenses. Even with all that beautiful budget to burn and years of experience behind him, Boll still can't figure out how to frame simple exchanges of dialogue, edit a thrilling stunt set-piece, or guide his actors to coherent performances. One has to feel bad for the "talent" assembled in this slice of schlock; they share a look on their face as if they know that accepting this forgettable paycheck job is assured career suicide. The worst offender is Lillard, who hams it up ruthlessly as the conniving wannabe king. His lack of range is only outmatched by his inability to control his saliva.
However, there's a special place in Hell reserved for Liotta, a once talented actor who has burned his last professional bridge in "King," giving new meaning to "over the top" as the Dr. Evil of the film, Gallian. Apparently refusing much-needed period adventure costuming and grooming standards, Liotta looks less like a centuries-old vengeful wizard hell-bent on world domination and more like an over-primped goombah from a Brooklyn street corner on his way to a short afternoon at the local Renaissance Festival. You know, "For da chicks."
I remember a time not long ago when Liotta's name on a cast list meant something interesting was about to arrive. Now, all I can do is wince.
Packed wall-to-wall with backyard battle sequences anyone could easy fill up on during syndicated action television, "King" is a drag and a punishing one at that. Running a brutal 125 minutes, Boll doesn't know when to quit; in his delusional mind, a puzzlingly-constructed story, blurred bits of violence, and atrocious acting is a parade that should never end. With up to four completed movies of his awaiting release, it looks like Boll has no plans to quit unless someone personally takes the camera out of his hand.
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