In The Name Of The King 2: Two Worlds DVD review
Uwe Boll's latest, In The Name Of The King 2, goes straight to DVD. We're there to meet it...
Uwe Boll makes two kinds of movies. There are his serious films, rage-filled political movies that take aim at various real-life villains, and then there are his silly movies, usually based on videogames, packed full of monsters and daft jokes. The latter are the ones people tend to hate him for, and sadly, In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds definitely falls into that category.
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale came out in 2007 and, I have to admit, I didn’t hate it. It’s a fantasy epic with a ridiculous sense of humour; it stars Jason Statham, Burt Reynolds, Matthew Lillard, and Ray Liotta, which has to be the least likely cast for a faux medieval fantasy movie ever, and it’s a lot of fun. In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds, though, was made on a fraction of the first movie’s budget, and features hardly any recognisable faces at all. And while it has its moments, it isn’t anywhere near as much fun as the first movie.
The opening scene is promising: a young woman in medieval garb runs through a forest, pursued by scary-looking guys in black robes. She uses some kind of olde worlde smoke bomb to distract them before fleeing, running right out from the trees into modern day Vancouver. It’s quite a neat reveal, all things considered. But as soon as the characters start explaining what’s going on, everything starts going wrong.
It turns out that the girl is a sorceress from the fantasy Kingdom of Ehb. She’s travelled through time to nab Granger, an ex-Special Forces soldier turned karate teacher who, according to prophecy, is destined to be the saviour of Ehb. (Granger is played by Dolph Lundgren, probably the only recognisable face in the entire cast.) She zaps them both through a time vortex and immediately gets killed on the other side. It’s okay, though, because her role as sexy medieval guide lady is quickly filled by the improbably named ‘Manhatten’, a kind of court doctor. We’re quickly introduced to a whole succession of weird characters, from a greasy-looking king to a seer who lives in a tree, and everyone says the same thing: the prophecy says Granger has to save the day.
Since he’s stranded in a world without antibiotics, Granger goes along with it. Cue lots of walking through forests and awkwardly choreographed sword fights. Everyone double-crosses everyone until it’s almost impossible to know why anyone is doing anything, since none of it seems to have much of a point. The dialogue is awkward, and everyone mumbles. About halfway through the film, Granger switches sides when it turns out that the king is actually the baddie, but since he was clearly unpleasant from the start that’s no real shock.
Things look up, a little, when it turns out the McGuffin Granger was searching for in the forest is a dragon. For a moment it seems Dolph Lundgren might be required to wrestle a giant CGI dragon, but then the dragon turns out to be on his side (although God knows how it knows who’s on what side any more) and he doesn’t. Just when it seems the entire film has been a waste of time, Granger and the evil king get zapped back into modern day Vancouver, and the film’s climactic battle takes place in Granger’s poky little flat, where the only available weapons are a frying pan and a torch. I mean, you don’t see that every day.
It’s difficult to know who the audience for this film might be. It’s not based on a computer game, it’s a sequel to a film not that many people liked (or even saw), and apart from the opening and closing scenes, it’s not very good. Boll’s best films are angry, or funny, and this isn’t really either. It’s just kind of… there.
There are a surprising number of extras included on the disc: two commentaries, a behind the scenes featurette, an interview with the writer, and an interview with Dolph Lundgren. What the disc doesn’t have, though, is something it sorely needs, subtitles. The sound quality isn’t great, the dialogue is frequently strange and stilted, and many of the actors have strong accents. Deciding not to subtitle the film just seems like an exercise in sadism.