There are bad movies, and there are awful movies, but sometimes there are movies that meant well but missed the mark. That is where In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale falls. Universally panned, critically loathed (4% on Rotten Tomatoes), and a box office failure, this movie by Uwe Boll fell far short of its budget in ticket sales—worldwide. But, if this movie was so bad, why did they make TWO sequels?
It can’t be that bad, can it?
We have Jason Statham playing a guy named “Farmer”; Leelee Sobieski who has never been in a movie that I liked; Ray Liotta who played Shoeless Joe Jackson once now posing as the bad guy; John Rhys-Davies, Burt Reynolds & Ron Perlman!, and that guy from MTV who somehow keeps ending up in movies playing the same character. What isn’t to like?
Fortunately, I wasn’t aware that “A Dungeon Siege Tale” was actually based on the game and not just being oddly descriptive. So one night while I was sick with the flu and didn’t know better, I dove in and was mildly surprised. Jason Statham dressed as a farmer performing martial arts on
Orcs Krugs was just what the doctor ordered. All of the recognizable actors brought gravitas to their roles and gave the movie an odd nobility. As silly as it all was, I was entertained from beginning to end. Then again, I’m a connoisseur of finely-crafted cheese.
Power-hungry Gallian—a mage—has somehow amassed power and found a way to lead the lawless Krug into battle to take over the Kingdom of Ehb. On his way to the castle, his forces rampage through Farmer’s village, killing his son and making off with his scrumptious wife. This causes Farmer, Ron Perlman, and some other guy to head off to rescue her. Meanwhile, Burt Reynolds’ kingdom is falling apart from within due to his daughter, Leelee, sleeping with Gallian, the magic leech, and that annoying guy from Hackers trying to steal the crown and poison the king and stuff.
Yes, it’s true the sets were low budget, and it’s true that the Krug looked like their budget was accidentally spent on the caterers, the forest was inexplicably filled with magical circus performers, and the kingdom’s economy must have worked on magic because there weren’t enough people farming the land to feed all those soldiers, but I marveled at the scope of the tale. There was backstory. There was intrigue. There was character motivation. There was magic, redemption, and betrayal. And there was Jason Statham kicking butt all over the place.
If you compare it to the classic Sword & Sorcery movies from the 80s, this movie was art. I mean, have you even seen Red Sonja? It was awful. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale had much better special effects. The last battle between the good mages versus Gallian was well done, and Statham still got to kick butt despite not knowing any magic. Catch this one on Netflix. Watch it with friends. You’ll laugh at the silly parts, and marvel that the movie wasn’t nearly as bad as you were led to believe. You might even enjoy yourself. I did.
(An extra star was given for all the butt-kicking)
Release Date: January 11, 2008 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (alcohol is consumed, somebody gets drunk)
Language: 2 (mild expletives)
Nudity: 0 (Dang it!)
Sexuality: 2 (Leelee snuggles in bed with the bad wizard. It’s hardly hot. I’ve seen more racy Sears catalogs.)
Violence: 3 (Battle, war, swords, dying, beheading, implied death of a child. Nothing graphic that I can recall)