Tuesday, December 27, 2011
IN THE NAME OF THE KING: TWO WORLDS (2011)
IN THE NAME OF THE KING: TWO WORLDS
(Canada - 2011) Directed by Uwe Boll. Written by Michael Nachoff. Cast: Dolph Lundgren, Natassia Malthe, Lochlyn Munro, Aleks Paunovic, Heather Doerksen, Natalya Gustislaya, Christina Jastrzembka, Michael Adamthwaite. 96 mins. R.
Uwe Boll's straight-to-DVD sequel to his 2008 box office bomb has a drastically reduced budget thanks to the extinction of all those great German tax loopholes that the filmmaker and part-time boxing enthusiast took advantage of in the past. As has been the case over Boll's last several films, he no longer has the cash to corral the big names he once did. So, where the first ITNOTK had Jason Statham supported by the likes of Burt Reynolds as a noble king and Ray Liotta as an evil and improbably leather-jacketed sorcerer, this has Dolph Lundgren with Boll regular Natassia Malthe (BLOODRAYNE sequels) and DTV mainstay Lochlyn Munro. ITNOTK was pretty terrible, but it was a fun terrible. The sequel is just boring, and really tough to get through without a bizarre cast of slumming and/or intoxicated big name actors to keep it interesting. With a sleepwalking Lundgren and some really subpar visual effects, ITNOTK: TWO WORLDS looks and plays like it should be debuting on a Saturday night on SyFy.
In present day Vancouver, ex-military officer and karate instructor Granger (Lundgren) is attacked in his home by a bunch of medieval ninjas in Darth Maul makeup, and transported to a world centuries past. Elianna (Natalya Gustislaya), sorceress to the King (Munro) has brought Granger back in time because he is The Chosen One, revealed by a prophecy to be the warrior from the future to help them fight the Holy Mother (Christina Jastrzembska) and her army of Dark Ones. An unimpressed Granger tells the king "You can take that prophecy and shove it up your ass." But it turns out the Holy Mother and the Dark Ones have spread a plague across the land, which killed the previous King (the character played by Statham). Now suddenly convinced of the prophecy, Granger has a change of heart: "Tell me where to find this crazy bitch."
As has happened in the past (1968 TUNNEL RATS, his version of a late '80s Vietnam movie; and THE FINAL STORM, a religious-themed thriller that came about a decade after the LEFT BEHIND/OMEGA CODE craze), Boll seems to be ripping off a film years past its sell-by date, in this case the nearly 20-year-old ARMY OF DARKNESS. There's a lot of story elements pilfered from Sam Raimi's 1993 cult classic, but there's no energy or momentum, and everyone seems catatonic. Lundgren is clearly bored, Munro starts using an Irish accent late in the film for no apparent reason, and Malthe, as a nursemaid who accompanies Granger on his quest, is simply awful. There's a plot twist 2/3 of the way through, and a badly CGI'd fire-breathing dragon makes a guest appearance, but there's virtually nothing to recommend about IN THE NAME OF THE KING: TWO WORLDS. Boll has shown occasional flashes of decency in some of his more recent films (1968 TUNNEL RATS and ATTACK ON DARFUR weren't bad; POSTAL had some genuinely hilarious moments; and the harrowing prison drama STOIC was actually good), but without name actors like Statham, Reynolds, Liotta, or Ron Perlman, or, say, BLOODRAYNE's Ben Kingsley (yes, Ben Kingsley was once in an Uwe Boll film) to raise the MST3K factor, there's little reason to watch something like IN THE NAME OF THE KING: TWO WORLDS, a cheap, shoddy piece of work that even the most die-hard Dolph Lundgren fans should avoid.