Hindsight is a beautiful concept. The ability to look back on statements that you yourself have made in the past and laugh at how wrong or stupid you had been around five or six years ago. In my case, hindsight comes rather rapidly and extremely frequently, and in a review for Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story, I defended the director saying I had yet to see a truly terrible movie from him. I have now seen a truly terrible movie from German filmmaker Uwe Boll, and In the Name of the King is just that film.
Boll is a peddler of shlock, and that was one of the things that attracted me to his style of filmmaking in the first place. He has a certain energy to him that, when tapped into correctly, can lead to some genuine, well put together films. Postal comes to mind, a film where the offensive and frankly unconnected bits of comedy are, I would assume, intentional. With In the Name of the King though, the humour comes from the inability to craft a product that is anywhere close to tolerably enjoyable. A so bad it’s good movie through and through, with the ham fisted, cliché dialogue and constant copying of other fantasy films clear throughout.
Lord of the Rings seems to be the biggest influence, and that does explain why Jonathan Rhys-Davies shows up for a great deal of the movie. His inclusion shouldn’t surprise you, though. A film littered with big name actors including Jason Statham, Ron Perlman, Ray Liotta, Matthew Lillard and Burt Reynolds doesn’t have the confidence to do anything interesting or engaging with any single one of them. Lillard is having the most fun out of everyone involved. Every scene he appears in showcases that he’s still quite the enjoyable actor outside of his stints in Scooby-Doo and Serial Mom, but also gives us a glance at his fun side. I say fun side, but he’s forced to put on a British accent and play sidekick to Ray Liotta in one of films strangest tag teams.
Most of the cast don’t get off so lightly though, and for the most part we receive a generally underwhelming leading role from Jason Statham. Statham isn’t exactly the most impressive of leading characters, but he suits the role somewhat and that’s good enough for this movie. He fights his way through a fair few scenes that bring about some fast cut action, but Boll’s direction is so inconsequential and careless that none of it feels pivotal or all that engaging. We’ve no reason to be interested in a tale of a man literally called “Farmer”. He gets a name further down the line but I truly cannot remember what it was.
In the Name of the King is a completely forgettable movie, from a director who can definitely do much better. Boll’s direction throughout is certainly amicable at times, but without anything to show within the somewhat competent camera angles and at times impressive CGI, it’s a big budget mess that doesn’t do anything interesting at all. Inconsequential, a bit bland and a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a mixture of absolutely every fantasy film you have and have not seen, but with that ever-charming Boll element. Take it at face value and it’s a mess, but dive into the performances, take yourself along for the ride. It’s still a mess, but at least it’s a funny one.