January 11, 2012

Blu-ray Review: In the Name of the King 2 - Two Worlds

When it comes to genre film fans, there is one name that strikes anger into the hearts of fans around the world, even more than Michael Bay. That name is Uwe Boll. For years this filmmaker has turned out terrible movie after terrible movie. Seriously, sometimes I really wonder of he is capable of making a decent project. Most of the time the films are laughably bad, you need go no further than House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark to recognize his ineptitude. Still, they tend to provide a fun target. That brings us to one of his more recent ventures, a sequel to the 2007 Jason Statham vehicle, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

That original film was pretty terrible, despite the number of recognizable faces in the cast like Statham, Ron Perlman, Leelee Sobieski, Matthew Lillard and Burt Reynolds. Sure, an odd cast for a fantasy actioner, but decent nonetheless. This time around it feels like another story in the same realm but with a different everything else, despite there being an allusion to this film's hero being the son of Statham's character in the original. It also feels like a much smaller scale film with a smaller cast, fewer locations, and smaller sets. Not that there is anything wrong with this.

The sequel bears he name In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds. It trades Jason Statham for Dolph Lundgren. Lundgren plays a retired special forces operative named Granger. Yes, this is a fantasy action movie, I know the special ops mention probably threw you of a little bit. You see, this particular movie uses that cinematic plot device of a man out of time.

The movie opens in the past, where the majority of the action takes place. A sorceress name Eliana is running through the forest, pursued by a men dressed all in black. She puts up a good fight just as it is revealed she is in present day Vancouver (the city gets to play itself for once). This allows time for the introduction of Granger, who now teaches martial arts to children and mourns the loss of his old team.

Before you know it, Elianna and some of those black-clad guys show up at Granger's house. He fights them off and is transported to the medieval past. Here he meets the king and is told of being forced out of their kingdom, plague, the Dark Mother, and other such stuff. It is Granger's job to battle through the forest and kill the Dark Mother.

Nothing is quite as it seems and not everyone's motives are as pure and up front as they would seem. Part way through we get some reveals and a shift in what Granger needs to do. This leads to further fighting and swordplay before we reach the inevitable conclusion.

The movie is not a great one, but it is perfectly watchable should you come across it on cable. The action is decently staged, performances are a little funny and work well for a low budget film. More often than not, Dolph Lundgren looks a little bored, but I liked it anyway. I will never view Uwe Boll as a good director, but there are certainly worse, this movie shows that. If you have a little time to kill, give it a shot, just don't expect too much.

Audio/Video. The movie is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Overall, this production looks pretty good. There is nice level of detail, moreso in close-up. The majority of the movie is shot in the woods and the color palette reflects that. It has a very earthy look with plenty of browns and greens. The movie was shot digitally and does lack that distinct "film" look, but it is still a generally a pleasing image.

The soundtrack is presented with a DTS 5.1 Master Audio track and it does its job. Dialogue is clear, the surrounds are used nicely throughout. There are no real standout moments, but it does resent everything clearly separated and easy to listen to.


  • Commentary. The first track is with director Uwe Boll. I have to admit, the guy is pretty entertaining. This track has him describing the origin of the story, talking about the cast and locations, as well as taking a personal phone call, talking about what he doesn't like about digital cameras and discussing his financial movie project. 
  • Commentary. The second track is with screenwriter Michael C. Nachoff. This track is a bit to the dryer side of things, but still is a bit interesting as we hear about how the script came about and the things that didn't work or got modified.
  • Behind the Scenes. This is a brief featurette that takes us onto the set and features some interviews and some footage shot by Boll, himself.
  • From Page to Screen. A five minute interview with Michael Nachoff about the development of the project.
Bottomline. Again, not an awful movie, but not really good by any stretch. It is the sort of movie that you can watch and enjoy easily enough, but doesn't offer enough in the way of substance to warrant repeat visits. It is formulaic filler made somewhat worthy by its recognizable star.

Mildly Recommended.

Article first published as Blu-ray Review: In the Name of the King 2 - Two Worlds on Blogcritics.

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