Reviewed by: Christopher Walker
|Featuring:||Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys-Davies, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Kristanna Loken, Matthew Lillard, Brian White, [more]|
|Producer:||Brandon Baker, Uwe Boll, Dan Clarke, Wolfgang Herold, Chet Holmes, Michael Roesch, Peter Scheerer, Jonathan Shore, Shan Tam, Shawn Williamson|
“Rise and fight.”
If you’re either a film lover or not, and you haven’t heard the name Uwe Boll yet, then let me give you an introduction: Uwe Boll is today what director Ed Wood was in the 1950s; one of the worst directors in the history of cinema. His first three films were based on video games and have done poorly in the box office: “House of the Dead,” “Alone in the Dark,” and “BloodRayne” (although all of them went on to produce direct-to-DVD sequels, surprisingly). He has three more coming out this year, only one of them is NOT based on a video game.
Well, now Mr. Boll can add another piece of crud onto his plate, a movie based on the Dungeon Siege video game. This movie should give cause to start re-launching “Mystery Science Theater 3000”.
The main character in the movie is named Farmer (Jason Statham), who is really… a, uh, farmer, living peacefully in the land of Eb with his lovely wife Solana (Claire Forlani) and son. That is, until Krugs come arrive in the village and start their burning and pillaging, taking his wife and murdering his son. The Krugs are under the control of a powerful sorcerer named Gallan (Ray Liotta): Gallan wants to be king of the entire land, which is under sovereign rule by King Konreid (Burt Reynolds). Farmer’s mission of vengeance will collide with the kingdom when one of the king’s bodyguards Merrick (John Rhys-Davies) recognizes him and aids him on his quest to save his wife Solana and the entire kingdom. The kingdom includes Commander Tarish (Brian J. White), Konreid’s daughter Muriella (Leelee Sobieski) who wishes to fight in battle, and his traitorous cousin Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard), who blurts off lines as if he’s trying out for a local Shakespearean production. (The girl who also played in “BloodRayne,” Kristanna Loken, has an extended cameo as one of the forest women who helps Farmer on his quest.)
There’s not much to say about the movie in that it seems to proudly rip-off “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well. What Peter Jackson did masterfully and artistically with the three movies, Boll undoes with one film. The music easily rips Howard Shore’s Oscar-winning scores, and doesn’t take itself seriously in a few scenes (rule one of movie making, when a main character buries his son, DO NOT switch to a track usually reserved for suspenseful scenes). The choice of music during the end credits doesn’t help either—ranging from questionable to hideous. The dialogue is laughably bad. Some of the special effects are poorly handled. The Krugs look like a hybrid of the Orcs and the Putties from “Power Rangers.” The battle scenes happen in a flash, and there is hardly a shred of believability from the characters (even Statham himself is a clunker). Characters appear and disappear without explanation. One character appears so late in the film, a possible love interest for Solana's brother Bastian (Will Sanderson), that I hardly care why she's there in the first place.
This is Boll’s first PG-13 outing, after three R-rated movies. While there's no sex or really foul language, it doesn't make much difference due to director's lack of cinematic skills. Granted, there are some good choices in the camera work and cinematography, but there’s much room for improvement in Mr. Boll’s career, if he does indeed have one left after this year is done.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.