Turning a video game into a movie is often a very difficult task. Faced with legions of fans and the need to compact scores of hours of game play and story into a 90-120 minute film is a daunting task at best. Then when you add the required changes that the property holder requires, the finished product often do not resemble the games in which they were based upon.
Uwe Boll has made several films based on video games, and as such, has earned some scorn from hardcore gamers who do not share his visions of the games, and take to the internet to blast the director and his work many times without even seeing the latest film.
In his latest movie, In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Boll has come prepared with a large cast of name actors and a budget reported to be almost 60 million dollars and as such, has crafted his most visually appealing film to date.
The story centers around a farmer aptly named Farmer (Jason Statham), who works away on his land with his wife and young son. His neighbor Norick (Ron Pearlman) attempts to get Farmer to enter the Kings army but is rebuffed as Farmer simply wants to tend his land and be with his family.
During a trip to sale their produce, Farmers wife, son, and in laws, as well as the local trade community fall under a deadly attack by the Krug, who despite being simple minded beasts, now wear armor and yield weapons with devastating results.
Faced with the loss of his son and the possible loss of his wife, Farmer, Norrick, and Farmers brother in law ignore the request of King Konreid (Burt Reynolds), to join his army and set out to track the Krug and save the captives on their own.
Unknown to Farmer and his friends, a dangerous Maggi named Gallian (Ray Liotta), is conspiring with the Kings nephew Fallow (Matthew Lillard), to usurp the good king by controlling the Krug hordes via magic in order to take control of the land.
Along the way there are plenty of epic battles and some good FX to keep your attention as well as some interesting fantasy elements such as Kristanna Loken as the leader of a forest dwelling race that use nature as weapons.
The film does have some issues though as the dialogue in the film was often uneven and there were short scenes and awkward transitions at times which made my wife and I wonder why they were in the film.
Another issue I had was surprisingly with Ray Liotta who while a very fine actor, seemed to lack menace and charisma as the main villain in the film. I also noticed that his accent came and went throughout the film and that he seemed unable to get a firm grasp on his character as he flipped between manic and serene at times with little to no motivation.
That being said, the action in the film is good and there some epic battles, especially one in the forest and rain that are entertaining. Stratham and Pearlman are a good combination and they have some good moments of levity in between the action and Burt Reynolds is solid in his performance of the King, as is supporting work by the always good Leelee Sobieski and John Rhys-Davies.
In the end, the film is a mixture of elements, some that work well such as the action and fantasy and those that do not such as the uneven story, stilted dialogue and some of the characters. It is clear that Boll is improving which each film he directs and I am sure that having a larger budget allowed for greater options than in his past films. He does get good performances out of some of his cast and does deliver on the action and visual style of the film.
In the end I was divided, as there were things to like about the film and other elements to find fault with. I asked my wife what she thought and she told me that the film was far from the worst thing she had ever seen and she enjoyed parts of it rating it between 2.5 and 3 stars out of 5 if nothing else for the action and FX which she enjoyed.
I agreed with this as despite issues I had with the film, I did enjoy the action and epic battles and they in the end did win out over the blemishes of the film as I ended up not minding the finished product in the end and thanks to the bonus material on the DVD which not only included deleted and extended scenes but some interesting behind the scenes features, the film is worth a look for fantasy fans as long as you are willing to come in with an open mind and enjoy the positives and not dwell on the negatives.
3 stars out of 5.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older
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