In The Name Of The King: Two Worlds
After some so-trite-it’s-almost-inaudible fantasy exposition narration accompanies a witch getting chased through a wood and blowing up some things, we cut to Dolph Lundgren teaching Judo. He isn’t wearing a scarf. Then – and pay attention, this is probably the most important bit – he puts on a scarf, one of the poncy tea-towel-looking ones that band use to wear in 2005. He’s never seen without it again – the ridiculousness of this will become clear with time. Dolph has a whiskey, for reasons that were probably significant to someone at some point – before his home is invaded by medieval ninjas (I know, I know..). Someone – that witch, I think? – appears out of nowhere to save him (though he actually pretty much had them) and throws him into a portal.
NB: Because we laugh in the face of copyright law, we’re not putting in a trailer – instead, here’s the ENTIRE film. Skip to the end and check he’s still wearing the scarf (he is). Do it now.
It all blurs a bit from here, but if you’ve seen Black Knight it’s basically that, with an All-the-Time Scarf, and a dragon with a CGI facial model stolen directly from Jurassic Park‘s T-Rex. Dolph is ‘The One’ for reasons which the script correctly assumes you don’t want to hear, and there’s a villainous king who’s among the worst characters ever in anything – pitched somewhere in height and tone between Lord Farquaad and Bennett from Commando, in a Burger King crown. It robs the flick of all tension – Dolph could snap this cretin’s legs off and eat them without even noticing that he’d done it.
Dolph is, in many ways, the film’s saving grace – he’s a likeable enough leading man who mirrors both our physical discomfort and our displeasure at actually having to endure this at all. Seeing as he managed to injure himself on day one of shooting, and has publicly dismissed the project (“It was an experience, it wasn’t exactly my taste, but I did it for other reasons. I was getting divorced at the time and I needed some cash quickly to pay for a few things… lawyers.”) that’s really to be expected.
When reviewing the films of Uwe Boll (which we’ve done quite a lot), it’s important to at least start by doing so in terms of his canon rather than anyone else’s. In this light, ITNOTK2 does rather well, boasting far superior production values and cinematography than pretty much anything he’s made to date. There’s nothing as game-changingly terrible as the worst bits of House of the Dead or Alone in the Dark, nor as exploitative as the babies-on-spikes/Edward-Furlong-forcing-someone-to-eat-their-own shit moments he leant on during his ‘wilderness’ years. I have no idea when I became an authority on this shit, but believe me when I say that this sits comfortably in his top three.
But it’s still an inexcusable mess. The plot lacks even the most basic cohesion and there’s not a single remarkable line of dialogue. Neither are there moments that can boast even elementary thrills, threat or tension. It’s an almost entirely unrelated sequel to a catastrophic bomb without a following – the result of a fit of sheer bloody-mindedness that makes John Carter‘s development look like a miracle of market research. And such is the strange little world of Uwe Boll, a man whose creative upper quartile includes terrible sequels no-one asked for, that even Dolph “Three Universal Soldier films” Lundgren is ashamed of. Even though he got to wear a scarf.