Our friend Uwe Boll decided, after losing the rights to the “Dungeon Siege” name (oh no, said no-one, ever) to just make a sequel to “In The Name Of The King” anyway, only with none of the names or locations from the first one. Throw in a money saving plot, and you’ve got yourself a “winner”.
The tax loophole that Boll had exploited to such wonderful effect closed in 2006, so despite financing already being in place for his next few movies (I’d suggest 2007’s “Postal” being the last movie to benefit), by 2011 and this movie funding had become a great deal tighter. Gone were the days of the first movie’s insane casting choices – all we get here is Dolph Lundgren, a fine fun B-movie leading man, but he’s no Burt Reynolds. Aside from a too-good-for-this-movie performance from Natassia Malthe, the only other casting choice of note is Lochlyn Munro as the King, a guy who (in part 1 comparisons) isn’t close to the level of even Matthew Lillard or Leelee Sobieski.
Dolph is basically the perfect guy. A former Special Forces soldier, he runs a dojo where he trains kids and also does a class for cops, for free (they leave donations for the young ‘uns). As he toasts his fallen comrades, a bunch of weird hooded figures suddenly appear in his home and start trying to kill him. And to let you know this movie isn’t messing around, then Malthe shows up (listed as “Manhatten” on IMDB, but that can’t be her name, surely?), helps him out and pulls him through a magic portal to Generic Fantasy World.
Only this one is significantly smaller than that of the first film. We see a run down old castle, some forest and the odd hut – the remote Canadian locations are absolutely beautiful, but there’s not many of them. The film cleverly tries to handwave away there only being like 50 people in this entire kingdom by having a plague set loose by the mysterious Raven kill nearly everybody, including everyone who survived the first movie – they can’t refer to any names or places, but the continuity attempt is there.
Anyway, it’s double-crosses and fantasy quests and all that good stuff, with the added bonus of a 21st century guy doing some wise-cracking, questioning why he’s part of some prophecy or other. Honestly, when the word “prophecy” is uttered in a fantasy movie my brain just checks out…plus this movie uses generic fantasy speech more than perhaps any other movie I can remember. No contractions, lots of thees and thous…I hope my mediaeval ancestors swore like troopers, to be honest.
I’ll get the good things out of the way first. Dolph using modern fighting styles in a fantasy setting feels like a fresh idea, and it’s done well. He’s a fine leading man, and Natassia Malthe is great too. In fact, most of the acting is strong, apart from Munro, who seems drunk the entire time. Talking of Munro, when we first see him he’s visibly putting on a wig, but this ludicrous hair plays no part in the rest of the movie, leading me to doubt my own eyes.
The bad is, unfortunately, everything else. The dialogue is rotten, the plot is incomprehensible and stuff that happens at the beginning makes no sense when related to stuff that happens at the end. The ending manages the impressive feat of being hilariously stupid and unsatisfying at once, and when you realise you’re watching something that rips off the Martin Lawrence movie “Black Knight”, you know you’re in for a bad time.
Still, not all “thumbs down” ratings are equal, and I’d call it an entertaining bad movie, which you’ll have fun mocking. It’s got plenty of bizarre technical goofs (elasticated underwear in the olden days? Plus, you can apparently see cars parked through the gates of the castle at a few points, but I didn’t notice them and I’m not going back to check) for the eagle-eyed or easily bored among you.
Rating: thumbs down