In the Name of the King
Dir. Uwe Boll
Premiered at Brussels April 11, 2007
I didn’t pay to watch this movie.
Back in my 1977 series, I mentioned having watched several of that year’s films in the form of pirated copies on YouTube because they were not otherwise available, and that doing so was possible only because those films were so old and obscure that the distributors no longer bothered enforcing their copyrights.
This is never my first option. Despite the wishful thinking of the common consumer, online piracy is not a victimless crime. Nevertheless, I opted not to legally rent In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale as an act of conscience. It is a testament to this movie’s intellectual property value that YouTube hasn’t taken it down, despite only being ten years old; which meant that paying for it would only benefit one person.
It’s time to talk about Uwe Boll.
Boll is widely considered one of the worst filmmakers of all time, not just because his films are bad, but because they’re bad on purpose. A notorious provocateur, he’s made running themes of mass shootings, 9/11, and the Holocaust, but he also knows that mass audiences don’t see his work enough for such things to make an impact. In fact, he’s built a career on it: exploiting a loophole in the German tax code that allows investors in German films to write off their losses with a small amount of interest in the event that said film doesn’t profit. As a result, Boll makes badly-acted, badly-shot in-name-only adaptations of b-grade video games, rips off his government, and ideally his edgelord schtick pisses off some critics, whom he then challenges to boxing matches, presuming they aren’t big or strong enough to beat him.
Boll released two films to theaters in 2007, plus two more direct-to-DVD, but it’s safe to say that his anti-career was losing what little relevance it ever had. Despite continually preying on Hollywood has-beens, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale was the last of his films to feature any genuine movie stars– ironically, it probably has the most recognizable names of the lot– Jason Statham, Burt Reynolds, Ray Liotta, John Rhys-Davies, Leelee Sobieski, Matthew Lillard, and Ron Perlman come to mind.
The game it’s based on…doesn’t matter, because Boll uses the easily-acquired game licenses for name recognition, then claims that his refusal to use the source material is a protest against the game developers’ indifference.
The plot doesn’t matter either, because it doesn’t exist. I didn’t know it was possible for an entire movie to be out-of-context, but In the Name of the King is. Boll seems to have pitched the movie as a Lord of the Rings ripoff, complete with an insane $60 million budget, and just filled it with scenes where nothing of consequence happens. For example, characters are never introduced; instead the film simply cuts to them mid-scene as if we’re already supposed to know who they are, nothing happens, and the cycle begins again. Said characters also tend to engage in dialogue across space and time. So forgive me for sounding like I’m drunk and trying to remember a movie I saw ten years ago.
Statham plays a farmer named Farmer– the only name I remember from the movie because it’s brought up constantly. Farmer is just a farmer, farming, and then evil wizard Ray Liotta comes with a bunch of…I want to say orcs, but their broad, stiff gesticulations and generic grunts recall nothing so much as Power Rangers villains. They raid Farmer’s village in a ten minute fight sequence; it’s just a small skirmish, merely a pretext to get Statham separated from his wife and son, but it goes on forever, and so does every battle scene in the movie.
hat’s when King Burt Reynolds shows up and asks men to join the Army to fight Ray Liotta. This is a little silly for a couple of reasons:
We already know that Ray Liotta has taken over the King’s castle and is…holding something over the King’s nephew, Matthew Lillard (like everyone else, Lillard knows he’s in an Uwe Boll movie and gives the bare minimum performance; unlike everyone else, he does this by calling on his Ren Faire days and hamming it up for his own amusement).
Farmer doesn’t want to join the King’s because he thinks the Army is full of shit and won’t get him his family back. Though this kinda comes off as him being a general coward, because Farmer is just a naive farmer who farms and has no interest in the wider world or bravery or anything, though this itself is contradicted by the fact that he is able to kill a bunch of orcs with his magic CGI boomerang, and occasionally a scimitar left over from an old Aladdin halloween costume.
Yeah, this isn’t fun anymore. It’s an Uwe Boll movie. None of it matters, and the joke is on me for writing about it. I’m gonna stop.
Next Time: Spider-Man 3