Tuesday, January 08, 2008



Cast: Jason Statham, Claire Forlani, Ray Liotta, Ron Perlman, and John Rhys-Davies
Director: Uwe Boll
Time: 128 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? "In The Name Of The King" is a 'rojak' (mix-and-match) sword-and-sorcery flick adapted from the videogame by German director Uwe Boll. Those familiar with the works of Boll - like his 2005 "BloodRayne", "House Of The Dead" (2003) and last year's "Seed" - would consider this bad news since Boll has been known for churning out turkeys and D-grade stuff year after year.

However, the 'good news' is that this is an improvement on the rubbish Boll has been serving lately. At least he has the good sense to 'borrow' ideas from epic blockbusters like "Lord Of The Rings" and recycle them in this unabashedly derivative flick.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The hero of the piece is a man called Farmer (Jason Statham), a guy who just wants to till his land, harvest his crops and take care of his wife (Claire Forlani as Solana) and son. However, his plans change when a horde of zombie-like soldiers pillages his village and kidnaps his wife. Farmer soon realises that in order to rescue his wife, he must also help to save the kingdom of King Konreid (Burt Reynolds) from the evil designs of sorcerer Gallian (Ray Liotta).

Teaming up with his foster father Norick (Ron Perlman), brother-in-law Bastian (Will Sanderson) and the king's wizard Merick (John Rhys-Davis), Farmer has to go through the same sort of odyssey as Frodo the Hobbit to fulfil his destiny. Of course, this odyssey involves a whole lot of Orc-bashing like those of "LOTR", an encounter with nubile tree-dwelling nymphs led by the elf-like Elora (Kristanna Loken) and the usual palace intrigues provided by the deceitful Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard). As if these were not enough, Boll also throws in some "Matrix"-type moves and Jedi swordplay from "Star Wars".

Don't expect too much from the action in this US$60 million (RM200 mil) production. All through the movie, we would remain detached from the proceedings because it has nothing to get us involved in. The sword-fighting scenes are rudimentary - with just a glimpse of Statham doing a flying stunt - and some rather ridiculous 'magic' sequences.As expected, Boll demands very little of his cast. Statham is miscast and he has the emotional depth of a fashion mannequin. We half expect Reynolds and Liotta to burst into laughter while mouthing those lame lines. Among the A-list cast, only Lillard seems to earn his keep as the low-life nephew of the King. Rhys-Davis does his usual eye-popping schtick in his Merlin-type role while Leelee Sobieski provides a little eye candy as his beautiful daughter, Muriella.

Technically, "In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" offers delightful cinematography and some breath-taking landscapes. The background music can be rousing at times. It is just too bad that it is so deficient in other departments like acting, scripting and editing. At over two hours, the repetitious and irrelevant sequences are too much of a bore to bear.

THE LOWDOWN: To be fair, we should not write off this Boll effort like we did his previous outings. It is passable for a mindless pastime, just like the videogame upon which it is based.


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