In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds (2011)
Directed by Uwe Boll
I fully admit to having enjoyed In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Just about every criticism you can throw at it is perfectly valid; I was still entertained. What can I say? A true guilty pleasure.
When I heard the news that Uwe Boll was making a sequel with Dolph Lundgren pulling an Army of Darkness as a modern soldier magically transported to this fantasy realm in order save it from the forces of evil, I was psyched for another guilty pleasure. Alas, In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds is most definitely guilty, but a pleasure it is not.
Dolph Lundgren is Granger, a deeply depressed ex-Special Forces soldier now teaching karate in Vancouver. He gets transported to a fantasy realm when warriors from that time ambush him in his apartment. He’s told his coming was foretold in a prophecy claiming that a chosen one from “the time beyond” would save the kingdom from an evil army of guys in black tunics known as the “Dark Ones” who have overrun the land.
Do you remember that really dull scene from the first film when a dying Burt Reynolds gave Jason Statham that longwinded talk about the importance of being king? Imagine that scene repeated over and over for 90 minutes with very little action in-between.
Granger meets up with various characters, repeatedly, so they can tell him how important he is, what the prophecy is all about, who the bad guys are, what they’ve seen in their visions, how the kingdom ended up in the turmoil it's now in, whom he needs to defeat, why they want to help or hinder his mission, basically explaining to him in dialogue every single facet of the plot. These people didn’t need a soldier from the future – they needed a stenographer.
Lundgren even chimes in with voiceover narration that does nothing but further suffocate the viewers with more blather. Even when there is action, there’s barely anything to it -- just a few quick bursts of uninspired fighting before the climactic appearance of a fire-breathing dragon and the storming of what may have been the least fortified stronghold in the history of fantasy cinema.
The original movie may have been loosely based on the computer game Dungeon Siege, but for this sequel Boll should have just put all the copious amounts of dialogue up on the screen so Lundgren could respond to the text with a basic command and then released the film as a motion picture adaptation of the old text-based fantasy game Zork.
Several paragraphs explaining the prophecy…
Do you want to fulfill your destiny and save the kingdom?
Lundgren selects “yes” and we move on to the next scene where he has to decide what supplies to take with him on his mission.
Will you trade your survival knife for a better weapon?
Lundgren selects “no” and returns to his quarters to rest up before the journey begins the next day.
The sexy chambermaid straddles you on the bed as she tells you of her desire to be deflowered by the chosen one. Do you have sex with her, or do you tell her you’re too tired and just want to get some sleep?
Lundgren selects “yes” and we fade post-coitus to her refastening the corset we never actually saw her take off while he lays fully clothed in the bed.
It deserves mentioning what a lousy soldier Granger is. He appears so tactically inept it’s hard to believe he was the only member of his platoon that survived whatever it was that happened. He’s nearly killed in action several times. In one instance he would have died had his attacker not stopped himself, and he even casually strolls right into the den of an almighty villain with so little concern he fails to notice someone standing right off to the side of the entrance waiting to bonk him upside his skull.
Credit where it’s due: Only Uwe Boll could make a time-traveling sword & sorcery film that ends in a cramped apartment with two warriors slugging it out with a flashlight and a frying pan.
There was a moment early on when it started to look like the movie was going to take more of an Army of Darkness approach. Granger suddenly shows signs of a sardonic personality and goes from being remarkably calm and unimpressed by his supernatural situation to treating everything with a degree of a glibness that added some much needed mirth before reverting back to being as leaden a fantasy flick as you’ll ever seen. (The whole production has the look of a slightly glossier made-for-Syfy fantasy flick.)
Lundgren’s character is written to be almost schizo in how his personality switches from serious and downbeat to awkwardly sarcastic, sometimes in the same scene. Natassia Malthe has never been worse than she is here. Lochlyn Monroe tries to ham it up but doesn’t hold a candle to what Matthew Lillard did in the previous film. None of them are as fun to watch as their predecessors. Too bad because the movie is about 75% dialogue, and barely a single line of that dialogue ever sounds natural coming out of their mouths.
This name-only follow-up may be a half-hour shorter than the theatrical cut of its forerunner; yet, it feels much, much longer. In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds will make you reassess anything negative you ever said about In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Heck, it’ll have you reassessing anything negative you ever said about Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time.
The DVD includes two separate commentary tracks by Uwe Boll and screenwriter Michael Nachoff.
Do you want to sit through this movie two more times just so you can review the DVD extras?
Foy selects “no” and ejects the DVD. The end.
1 1/2 out of 5