Well, I guess I just have no taste at all, as once again, I found myself enjoying another nearly universally-reviled movie.
For the last five years or so, I've been reading about a film director named Uwe Boll, who, if his critics were to be believed, was the living incarnation of Ed Wood. Specializing, as he does, in cinematic adaptations of video games, I had never personally encountered any of his work before last night. However, this weekend I got my chance to sample his wares, when I rented his sword & sorcery opus, In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, starring my favorite film badass of the moment, Jason Statham.
Now, I was unaware of Boll's connection to the movie when I picked up the disc – I was simply intrigued by the thought of The Transporter starring in a sword & sorcery saga. I was further intrigued by the film's offbeat cast: Statham, Ron Perlman, Lelee Sobieski, John Rhys-Davies, Matthew Lillard, Kristanna Loken, Ray Liotta and Burt Reynolds (!), so I rented it.
Now, maybe Boll is a terrible director, but I couldn't prove it with this film. Sure, it's a pretty by-the-numbers fantasy film, with the usual cliches and corny dialogue – but you know what? I liked it. The fight and battle scenes were really quite well done, the CGI was limited and rather restrained, costume and set design were both excellent, and I never got bored. Granted, Ray Liotta's portrayal of the evil magus was pretty laughable, and I had trouble with the sight of good ol' boy Burt in fur robes and armor (tho he was actually okay in his role), but Statham was a fine, kick-ass hero and Ron Perlman and Rhys-Davies brought some dignity and a touch of class to the flick.
From the reviews online and at the IMDb, you'd believe that this thing was the Plan 9 of fantasy epics. In The Name... isn't The Lord of the Rings or Excalibur, but it's sure as hell not the worst movie I've seen – not even the worst in it's genre. I grew up watching and enjoying stuff like The Beastmaster and The Sword & The Sorcerer, along with Roger Corman's shot-in-Argentina S&S films like Deathstalker, Barbarian Queen and The Warrior & The Sorceress, so I'm obviously pretty forgiving when it comes to the genre. Hell, I rather liked last year's Pathfinder, too, and that one was panned almost as badly as In The Name of the King!
Would I recommend it? I don't know. People seem to be pretty hard to please these days, and determined not to enjoy things. But I plan to buy a copy, if and when I find a cheap used one somewhere, and I'll definitely be watching it again.
But then – I clearly have no taste at all....