Sunday, September 14, 2008

movie review: In the Name of the Return of the Transporter King: A Dungeon Siege Tale

First of all, I openly admit to liking some horrible movies.

Craig and I are probably the only people who liked Queen of the Damned enough to see it 6 times in the theater, *including* in Cancun, in Spanish, on our honeymoon. And i'm sure we're the only ones who threw a Party of the Damned to force all our decidedly un-gothy friends to dress in faux goth and watch it while eating my Taco Dip of the Damned. I could name all the other horrible movies I love, but I think that one object lesson should cover it. Queen of the Damned, people!

So you'll understand when I tell you that we really enjoyed In the Name of the King. We laughed so hard that we had tear tracks coming out of our eyes. And, no, it's not meant to be a comedy. Let's go over some highlights, shall we?

Jason Statham is "Farmer". And guess what? He's a farmer. He teaches his kid how to pull huge, mutant turnips out of the ground. We meet his confusingly hot peasant wife and his friends, one of whom is Harry and the Hellboy Hendersons, and we begin to wonder why Farmer is the only person in the movie to have any sort of accent at all.

Then we meet Gallian, who reminds us of Ray Liotta, if he was made out of brown, smooth plastic and dressed in all black leather and given some sort of shot that made him forget how to act. At all. He is apparently giving "magic lessons" to a much younger Leelee Sobieski. In her bed. Her father is the king's magus, which is pronounced "may-gus", "maa-gus", and "may-jius" alternately throughout the movie. And we meet the king, Burt Reynolds as played by Burt Reynolds, who has black facial hair and transparent white head hair and acts exactly like Burt Reynolds. And we meet his annoying nephew, played by Mathew Lillard and named "Fallow", which isn't reflective of his character *at all*. And the Krug, some nasty, animal/goblin dudes who are never really explained as a race and just do a lot of poorly-choreographed fighting as rarely seen since Big Bad Beetle Borgs went off the air.

As the characters are revealed, we found ourselves saying, "Huh, weird choice," again and again. It's like each character had a different acting coach and costumer, and they just arrived at the same place every day to read some lines that kinda go together to sort of tell a story that seems all too familiar and appears to use stock footage from every fantasy movie ever made. We kept saying, "Hey, isn't that Mount Doom?" and "Wait, isn't that the forest from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves?" And then the chicks from Cirque du Soleil showed up in the trees, and the goblin/orc extras from Return of the King did some kung fu, and Jason Statham managed to kill 582 guys using only a scimitar and without shedding a single drop of blood. Oh, and we thought there were crazy zombie groundhogs, but they were just burrowing Krug arms that were never adequately explained.

And there are little golden moments. In the slave pits of the evil Krug empire, we had to pause the film for my 19th bathroom break, and we just so happened to catch Farmer's brother-in-law in some impassioned moment, telling his sister that her parents and son are dead or something. And at the exact moment we paused it, we find that the dude, who's a brawnier version of Legolas, is totally cross-eyed. So we keep watching him, and sure enough, every full-frontal shot of him has us cracking up, asking for our stapler, and imagining his casting agent saying, "Yeah, he's cross-eyed, but he looks like freakin' Legolas and only costs $50 per day! Who did you expect at that price, Caspar Van Dien??"

There's also this wonderful recurring theme where evil Ray Liotta controls the Krug leaders behind their scary Krug masks, and his voice comes through them sounding deep and fake when he finds himself "curious" about why Farmer keeps showing up and killing his minions. But it reminded us of Xerxes' voice from 300, so we just kept up with that. "Farmer, i'm curious. Would you like to come back to my evil cave and be... curious with me? Farmer, do you like black leather tailcoats and magic swords? I'm... curious." It's just so hard to take seriously. I can imagine the director saying, "No, Ray, you need to be in costume and get a medieval looking haircut and ACT!!" And Ray says, "No, i've gotta be me, but a little more 'Christopher Lambert as Rayden in Mortal Kombat'. Now, where is my makeup girl with that airbrush?"

Other criticisms would include horribly shot battle scenes, where you can't even tell there's a battle, poor acting, bad set dressing, a definite lack of blood, and a general feeling of inconsistency and a pervading laissez-fair attitude. And yet, it's just so awesome! High fantasy with action/adventure fight scenes starring Jason Statham! Sign me up, right?

In conclusion, it's like Krull meets The Transporter meets Waiting for Guffman meets the cutting room floor of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Who could ask Netflix for more?

1 comment:

Blair said...

I have a thing for bad, bad, movies, too. I don't do goth or dragons or anything like that, though. I'm into sluttiness, dancing, and the occasional side of teen angst. Showgirls is one of my favorites; it definitely delivers on the first two qualities as long as you're not too picky about the dancing actually being good.