(REVIEW) In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

OK, I’m returning to report, having seen this film in the theater.

First off, it’s bad. It’s weapons-grade, enriched bad. It’s bad on rye with a side of cole slaw. It’s not as bad as the Courtney Solomon-directed Dungeons and Dragons abortion, but it’s close. It’s definitely one of the ten worst films I’ve ever seen in the theater, and it might be in the top (bottom?) three.

The casting was horrible. Statham, as always, was right at home and very convincing in the action sequences, but he was mediocre at best as a fantasy-world tough guy. Granted, he didn’t have much to work with as a Braveheart-style “farmer who doesn’t want to go to war, even though he’s the toughest guy around, but now you’ve made him REALLY mad” character. :rolleyes:

While Burt Reynolds may have seemed the most laughable casting choice in the film, he was actually not too cringe-inducing. He just sort of played it reserved and low-key, and it wasn’t too distracting.

Ray Liotta, on the other hand, was atrocious. He chewed the scenery up and down, much like Jeremy Irons in D&D (in virtually the same role), but underneath it all his Jersey wiseguy accent kept poking out. It stuck out badly, kind of like Samuel L. Jackson in the Star Wars prequels.

Just as horrible was Leelee Sobieski, who delivered one of her trademark non-acting acting performances. No emotion whatsoever. Seriously. No inflection. No expression. It’s like watching a bored high school sophomore reading a script aloud for English class. (How does she keep getting roles?)

However, the worst acting in the film, and that’s saying a lot, comes from Matthew Lillard. I don’t know what he was going for with this role. It’s basically him acting loony and unhinged, like in the climactic scene in Scream, only for two hours straight. He isn’t funny, he isn’t menacing…he just falls flat.

The movie tries to be epic in scale, like Lord of the Rings, and fails utterly. Even during the Great Big Battle, it looks as if there are fewer than 1000 people fighting. There are no sets or cityscapes to lend scope to the production, and so it ends up feeling as if Burt Reynolds is king of a rather small town, instead of a mighty kingdom.

A couple of laugh-out-loud moments (literally - the theater was busting up)

  • In the Great Big Battle, Statham gets from one side of the battlefield to the other by running on top of people’s heads.
  • Also in the aforementioned GBB, the bad guys, some humanoids called Krugs who want to be orcs but look like badguys from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, are using catapults to launch flaming boulders at the good guys. Apparently running out of boulders, they start lighting their own dudes on fire and launching them. And the projectile-Krugs light up instantly, as if they were soaked in oil for just such an occasion. This one got big laughs.
  • The movie’s emotional climax occurs whenwe find out Statham is in fact Reynolds’s son, and therefore the rightful heir to the throne.It was meant to be an emotional moment, and the theater was dead silent for a split second before erupting into general hilarity.

To sum up, I’d seriously give the movie about a 1.5 on a scale from one to ten. I was in danger of dozing off several times, and I found myself laughing at all the wrong moments. Really, really horrible.

Does she get naked? Because if so, I have a theory…

Actually, I think she gets parts because producers go “Wow, I can’t believe Helen Hunt is willing to be in this”, and by the time they figure it out, it’s too late.

Its not like she’s getting roles in any films that are even close to decent recently, except The Wicker Man- with the amount of movies and TV shows out now, even the shittiest actors can get steady work.

I also don’t get how a guy who has had many films, IIRC not one gross over 10 mil, get a 60 mil budget on this film, has two more films in post production, two in pre production and two more announced? Blood Rayne 3? Alone in the Dark 2 (producer only?):confused:

I’m sure that there are a lot of parking valets in Los Angeles who would disagree with you…

Anyway, to get back to the movie, it sounds bad all right, but at the same time about what I would have expected. I think of the theatrical release of these movies as being essentially an ad campaign for the DVD/VOD release. Cause really, it sounds like a great movie to watch late at night when you’re bored and have the benefit of your substance of abuse of choice.

I’m curious about one thing. In the film, do the characters continually stop into blacksmith’s shops only to find that they’re not yet strong enough to use any of the weapons and armor available for sale?
Yeah, I recently reinstalled the game and was reminded why I didn’t bother to replay it after finishing it the first time.

I like the Dungeon Siege games and there’s no way I’ll watch this one sober or in the theater. I think I’ll put it down for a Netflix rental (with plans for a couple Long Island Iced Teas at the same time).

Thanks for taking one for the team, OneCentStamp.