matrix: the news and media magazine of the british science fiction association
Issue 188
July 2008
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ARCHIVE
- Matrix 187 - Mar 2008

 

 

REVIEWS: Burt Reynolds Does Fantasy... Badly
Directed by Uwe Boll

 

12

Release date: 11 January 2008
Runtime 127 mins
Brightlight Pictures
Writer: Doug Taylor (screenplay) & Jason Rappaport (story)

'In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale'
Reviewed by Martin McGrath

In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleYou can say what you like about Uwe Boll – and mostly those statements tend to include the words “talentless” and “hack” – but you can’t deny his uncanny ability to attract funding and get films made. Of course, generally speaking, the world would be a better place if most of Mr Boll’s films never saw the light of day, but there’s something strangely compelling about the way he continues to plough his own furrow.

In another universe, there is no doubt an Uwe Boll who is a misunderstood genius turning out a stream of brilliant, personal little films that will only be properly appreciated after his death – probably in a garret, probably of pneumonia.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in that universe. We live in a universe where Uwe Boll makes a medieval set adventure which features Burt Reynolds as a wise old king and Matthew Lillard and Ray Liotta as villains (and apparently engaged in a competition to see who can deliver the single most ridiculous screen performance of all time).

It is possible that this represents the most extraordinary coincidence of miscasting in cinema history. Sadly the casting is the only surprise In the Name of the King has to offer.

This is over two hours of life you’ll never get back as Farmer (Statham) becomes drawn into a war between the good king (Reynolds) and his wicked son (Lillard) and evil sorcerer (Liotta). Of course it turns out that Farmer is the king’s long lost son and he leads the army of good from the brink of defeat to glorious victory. It’s fantasy by the numbers and it is utterly without invention or originality.

One sensible decision by Boll is to eschew CGI effects for his enemy – the orcs faced here are just blokes badly made up in dodgy armour and make-up. It isn’t convincing but at least they look real. Sadly that’s more than can be said for the fighting sequences – both Jason Statham (the hero) and Ron Perlman (his faithful side-kick) are actors with considerable action movie experience but even they can’t rescue the hackneyed fight scenes and ludicrous banter.

Since directing In the Name of the King, Uwe Boll has directed and released three more films, has three more finished and in post-production and two more in the works and is working as producer on yet three more. No one can deny his commitment and his determination, but he can never make up in numbers what he lacks in quality.

In the Name of the King is rubbish – cynical, stupid and ineptly made. In its own way it is a classic of its type. It has the irresistible appeal of a car crash or those television programmes that feature people falling over and injuring themselves. For those who get a thrill out genuinely bad films, there’s little to match the sight of Burt Reynolds attempting to act regal. I have no doubt that the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 people could do a stirling job with this film but, until then, don’t watch, it only encourages Uwe.

In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

Newcon 4 Pantechnicon Science Fiction Foundation