Greetings all, I just got back from an advanced (free) screening of "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" and I'd like to share my experience with everyone. More accurately, I'd like to warn everyone about this horrendous film. It's a laughable attempt at some kind of epic fantasy and when I say laughable, I mean the entire theater was laughing throughout the movie. This isn't a comedy, folks. It was THAT bad. There are some jokes and comic relief planted into the story but they come off as weak attempts to lighten a mood that should be much darker than it ever is. After going to a screening of One Missed Call last week, I can't decide right now which one was worse. Maybe I'll go see AvP-R just to round things out. There are some light spoilers in here…but really…do you care if this movie is spoiled any more than it already was when it was made? How this cast of fairly talented actors got roped into this movie, I can't imagine. The plot, to sum it up as briefly as possible, surrounds Jason Statham's character Farmer (a farmer), who must rise up and embrace his destiny to lead an army against the evil magus Gallian (Ray Liotta) in order to save his wife (Claire Forlani) and free the lands of the mindless orc-like Krug that are ravaging the lands under Gallian's influence. Farmer brings along with him some friends, including Norick (Ron Perlman aka Hellboy) and along the way he encounters the King (Burt Reynolds), his double-crossing nephew (Matthew Lilliard), the king's magus (John Rhys-Davies, aka Gimli) and the magus' daughter Muriella (Leelee Sobieski). Sounds simple enough and has potential for at least a decent hero story. Unfortunately, potential is all this film has to go on. The main actors, for the most part, seem to be wholly out of place. Statham does the most with what he is given in terms of a script and pulls off a decent performance all things considered. Of course, his action/fighting scenes are where he shines and there are quite a few of them throughout the film. Unfortunately, much of the choreography feels much staged and there are many times when it is clear that his punches, kicks, and sword blows are not landing on his opponents as they jump away, apparently killed or whatever. Ron Perlman's face is cool just to watch whenever he's on scene, but his dialogue is bland and his delivery of most of his lines is quite uninspired. It really didn't look like he wanted to be on set and many of his fight scenes give that same impression. Matt Lilliard's character is poorly defined…he is villainous, but acts like Capt. Jack Sparrow with his drunk-like swaggering and over the top performance. You can't take him seriously and it's possible that he realized what kind of movie he was acting for and just said "to hell with it, I'm going to have a fun time and act like an ass". John Rhys-Davies is similarly clearly enjoying most of his screen time, but in a different way. The presence he often commands on screen is quite something. Despite having lost a lot of weight since his days on Sliders and as Gimli (I'm thinking he chose the Peter Jackson diet), he still fills the theatre with his booming voice delivering corny lines and clearly enjoyed giving a strong and serious performance despite being surrounded by an idiotic setting. Sobieski is adequate. She neither impresses nor disappoints…though she does look eerily like Helen Hunt at times. Now for to the two biggest jokes of this movie. Firstly, Burt Reynolds. Who decided that BURT REYNOLDS should be the king in an epic fantasy movie? Bad call. Reynolds sometimes looks the part only because of the costume and mostly when the helmet is covering up his head. Every line he delivers feels like it is meant to be a spoof. It feels like watching him on Saturday Night Live giving a "funny" impression of something that might happen in The Lord of the Rings. The only reason that his terrible performance was watchable was that he was clearly taking it seriously and utterly failing to convince a single person in the theater that he could ever be a king. Granted, the lines he had to deliver were terrible to begin with, but the delivery was pure comedy. Next up is Ray Liotta. What happened to this guy? He is supposed to be an evil wizard (think Saruman, but suckier) and there isn't a single time that he is one screen when you don't want to start laughing. He and John Rhys-Davies should have switched roles if they both HAD to be in this movie. Liotta can't deliver a single line without his voice cracking or fading. There's a scene where he levitates from a balcony down to the main level of a room and the pose he strikes during the movement looked like he was channeling Madonna in her video for Material Girl. The energy that he has reminds me of listening to student films from grade 10. It really is THAT BAD. Not only do the personal performances fall short, the visual and special effects that accompany them are hit and miss at best. The Krug are very clearly men in rubber suits that look like they would make cool costumes for Halloween but not for a movie. There are a few cool shots in which the magicians transport themselves, but they are few and far between. A couple of times you get to see an effect that looks really promising but then the camera abruptly and prematurely cuts away to something else, making it seem like the shot had to be abandoned partway through because of budgetary or time constraints. Actually, there are LOTS of shots in this movie that don't flow from one to the other. The opening shots cute back and forth among involve Liotta and Sobieski in a terribly awkward romantic situation, Rhys-Davies cursing someone on a hill, lots of shots of mountains and trees and other crap that doesn't go together. The movie continues on this way until the end. Bad editing? Maybe. Maybe the editors didn't have much to work with, who knows. Some of the cinematography looks nice at times (filmed in the forests and mountains of Western Canada), but it is often pretty clear when you are looking at something that is CG or a matte painting background. I was impressed by actor Brian White, who seems like he really got into his character and is hoping that someone can see his talent despite all the junk that surrounds him. Also, Claire Forlani is pretty hot on screen and there are some hot women that live in the trees performing Cirque-du-Soleil acrobatics while killing the Krug. Ultimately, this movie is a joke. The theater was laughing from start to finish at how bad the acting was, how bad the lines were to begin with. The worst part of this movie is that it takes itself seriously. It thinks it's a good movie with solid performances. It MIGHT be fun for young boys to watch just because it's an "action" "film", but I hope that some kids out there have the sense to recognize the difference between this and something of quality like LOTR. This was based on a video game and I don't think that it matters. I played through Dungeon Siege a few years ago and had a good enough time with it, but this movie didn't remind me of it at all. In fact, this movie had a real lack of dungeons and sieges. This one won't last long in theatres and should be in a second-hand DVD bin by the end of the year if you are looking for a few good laughs at the expense of a few good actors. If you can use this, I'm Jubba in the talkbacks.