Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Jason Statham as Farmer
Leelee Sobieski as Muriella
John Rhys-Davies as Merick
Ron Perlman as Norick
Claire Forlani as Solana
Kristanna Loken as Elora
Matthew Lillard as Duke Fallow
Brian J. White as Commander Tarish
Mike Dopud as General Backler
Will Sanderson as Bastian
Tania Saulnier as Tawlyn
Ray Liotta as Gallian
Burt Reynolds as King Konreid
Gabrielle Rose as Delinda
Terence Kelly as Trumaine

Special Features:
Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
Deleted and Selected Scenes
Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 127 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD description:

"Based on the best-selling action-fantasy game and filled with spectacular visual effects, this epic tale of heroism, courage and destiny is brought to life by an all-star cast: Jason Statham ('War'), Leelee Sobieski ('Joy Ride'), John Rhys-Davies ('The Lord of the Rings' trilogy), Ron Perlman ('Hellboy'), Claire Forlani (TV's 'CSI: NY'), Matthew Lillard ('Scream'), Ray Liotta ('Wild Hogs') and Burt Reynolds ('The Longest Yard').

When a bloodthirsty legion of half-man/half-beast Krugs rampages through his village, one man picks up a sword and undertakes a quest of vengeance... and honor. Haunted by the memory of his son's death and the kidnapping of his wife (Forlani) by the Krugs, Farmer (Statham) ignites a duty-call for others to join his crusade to stop the campaign of terror waged by an evil sorcerer (Liotta) whose ruthless quest for the crown could spell doom for the entire Kingdom."

"In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" is rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences.

Mini-Review:
I would have loved to have heard the pitch for this movie:

"So we want to do 'In the Name of the King.' It's like 'The Lord of the Rings,' but different!"

"Really? Tell me more!"

"We've got monsters like the LOTR orcs. We've got castles and big battles! We've even got John Rhys-Davies!"

"Sweet! Who else do you have?"

"We've got Jason Statham, that dude from 'The Transporter'!"

"Hmmm…he's cool! Who else?"

"We've got Leelee Sobieski, Claire Forlani and Kristanna Loken!"

"Giggity! And…?"

"We've got Ray Liotta as an evil wizard!"

"Awesome! Wait… what?"

"Yeah! And get this… Burt Reynolds is the king of our fantasy realm!"

"Bandit?!? Dude, I don't know what you're smokin', but I want some of it."

At least that's how I imagine this movie deal went down. This is typical, right?

The first of many problems with "In the Name of the King" is that it comes across as a poor attempt to copy "Lord of the Rings." The battles are quite cheesy with ninjas (yes, ninjas) flying through the air all "Crouching Tiger-like". The orcs look like men in rubber suits and sound like guys grunting. The sets and visual effects are pretty good, but are of no help when the story isn't working.

That's the other problem – the story. It's full of clichés from every fantasy film you could name. You have your typical farmer attacked by monsters. You have the typical scenes of poor villagers being dragged off as slaves. You have the big battle scene followed by the inevitable confrontation with an evil wizard. It has been done many times and will be done again. Unfortunately it doesn't work here.

Then there's the other problem which I alluded to before – the insane casting. Since when do you think of Ray Liotta when someone says 'evil wizard'? And Burt Reynolds in a fantasy movie? That's like putting Dolly Parton in a Spike Lee film. It doesn't fit. And as much as I like Matthew Lillard, I hated him in this movie. He's sniveling, obnoxious, and over the top. His performance is a major problem in the film. As for the rest of the cast, Leelee Sobieski, Claire Forlani, and Ron Perlman all fit in the fantasy environment, but there's not much room for them to excel here. Finally, Jason Statham handles the action well as Farmer (that's the best name they had for the character??), but he's identical to his character in the "Transporter" films. He's rather one dimensional, but it's fairly forgivable considering everything else that goes wrong with Uwe Boll's film.

Despite the fact that this was based on a game, "In the Name of the King" could have been a significantly better film. It had the good visual effects. It had the good settings. It just needed a better cast and a dramatically reworked script. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone but the most forgiving fantasy fans (unless you're looking for a movie to feature at a Mystery Science Theater 3000 party).

The bonus features are rather minimal. You'll find a 'making of' featurette and a few deleted scenes.

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