The most surprising thing about Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King is that it really isn’t a bad movie, at least not in the way you would expect it to be. Out of the gate Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King has three strikes against it, it’s directed by Uwe Boll, it’s a video game adaptation and it’s populated by a mismatched cast of often miscast actors and while it never quite overcomes any of those problems, Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King has the elements of a marginally good fantasy epic scattered about that it never can quite bring together into a complete whole.
There’s a good reason for that. Cut apart Lord of the Rings and Eragon and paste back the pieces and you have 70 percent of Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King. Uwe Boll and Doug Taylor weren’t adapting Dungeon Siege the game, they boiled together the basic elements of the fantasy movies that had already been made into a fairly generic plot. The problem is that the plot is generic and the bits of backstory scattered through the movie that suggest the story and the fantasy universe of Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King might be more complicated than it appears are thrown in at random and never explained. We don’t learn that the Kingdom was torn apart by battles and that King lost a son until the Magus decides to inform the King that Farmer is his long lost son.
There is a whole tribe of women who swing from trees and seem to command the power of leaves led by Uwe Boll regular Kristinna Lokken but there is no explanation for who they are. The Magus tells his daughter that their bloodline has now been contaminated but doesn’t explain either. Uwe Boll forgoes actually making any sense of the story in favor of action scenes that have Farmer chopping down legions of Krugg with the same one two three combination attack, much like a video game.
Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King is often pretty with plenty of sweeping vistas shot from a helicopter or designed in CGI and at times openly steals shots from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Indeed Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King begins to look a lot better in shots and montages that were likely done by a second unit director. The action scenes by contrast are a confused mess amateurishly shot and cut together.
The actors are at once the only real strength of Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King and its greatest weakness. The cast has no consistency and give the impression of never having met each other before and are often acting in different movies. Jason Statham is miscast and out of his depth and the least plausible heir to the throne ever. Burt Reynolds is better than you would think playing the King as a hard and ruthless bastard who has grown tired of it all. Ray Liotta phones in his usual sweating cokehead performance that he’s been giving ever since Goodfellas. If the trailer led you to hope that Ray Liotta would be hilariously over the top, that honor instead falls to Matthew Lillard who gives the best deranged performance on the movie, somehow restraining himself from chewing actual scenery. John Rhies Davies phones in his usual capable work as the Magus while Leelee Sobieski turns in the movie’s one other good performance as his daughter and seems to be enjoying herself. Most of these actors have name recognition but they have no level and Uwe Boll clearly doesn’t provide one and isn’t fond of multiple takes. The results are rough hewn and dizzying as half the actors never really blend into the fantasy setting and their performances repeatedly clash with each other.
The plot itself depends on the characters repeatedly doing stupid things, such as splitting up and breaking into the evil fortress, but it still makes much more sense than Uwe Boll’s movies usually do. Doug Taylor’s script has fragments of good dialogue, just enough to make you regret all the bad. But in the end Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King is a collection of strung together action scenes, most of which don’t make any sense. It reaches a head when the King marches his armies into the forest for a battle with the Krugg. To which the Krugg respond by bringing catapults into the forest, setting themselves on fire and loading themselves into the catapults and firing themselves at the King’s men. In a forest. I presume it’s supposed to be some sort of commentary on the War on Terror, but it’s more like flaming lunacy.
In the end Uwe Boll does well enough with Dungeon Siege In the Name of the King to lift it marginally out of the realm of Uwe Boll movies and into the realm of pointless video game adaptations like Mortal Kombat the movie, Doom and Street Fighter. There’s enough good in Doug Taylor’s script, the performances and even some of the direction to make you regret the sheer waste that is the other 75 percent of the movie.