DVD Review: In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds

Hey guys…

I’ll make it simple. Unless you’re a huge Dolph Lundgren fan, I recommend you skip In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds, director Uwe Boll‘s latest direct-to-DVD release entirely.

When I saw the original a couple of years ago starring Jason Statham, I thought it would have been better if it was about an hour shorter, but enjoyed it despite the bad reviews. It wasn’t Shakespeare, but it was fun. So I thought that maybe the second one would be alright as well. It couldn’t be worse than the first one, could it? Boy was I wrong.

Even though I’ve stuck with Dolph through plenty of movies like Showdown in Little Tokyo with Brandon Lee and a version of Marvel Comics’ Punisher with Louis Gosset, Jr., In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds managed to be almost comical in some places and painful in others. Even though it’s much shorter than the first film, I wanted to turn it off after about twenty minutes.

Let’s start at the beginning, which briefly gave me hope for the rest of the movie… Running through the woods is Eliana (Natalia Guslistaya, Bloodrayne: The Third Reich), a warrior woman being pursued by a group of men until she bursts into the open and we see that she’s running towards a big city in our own world. Meanwhile Granger (Lundgren), a retired military man, is demonstrating martial arts to a group of young students with the help of some old military buddies. Immediately you’re thrown into his world as a retired soldier, dealing with the memories of his time in the service and the aches and pains of a body abused in action.

As he mourns the loss of those who didn’t make it back from military action and gets a bath ready, he’s attacked by the same people who were chasing Elianna through the woods. Just as one of the assailants is about to get in a lucky shot, she appears on the scene to save him and push him through a magical portal to her world…

From that point on, it enters bad B-movie territory with horrible dialog written by someone seeking to poorly emulate Shakespeare. And even though there are some well choreographed fight scenes at times, they’re not enough to save the film from falling into a long series of predictable scenes and poor CGI. Though I like Lundgren and the hard-working Lochlyn Munro who played the evil King, the dialog and the stereotypical roles seemed more fit for an episode of Scooby-Doo! than a full-length movie.

Beyond the film itself on the DVD, there are a couple of commentary tracks and two features. In “Behind the Scenes of In the Name of the King: Two Worlds” it looks like Dolph had a good time making the film with Boll and the rest of the cast. And “From Page to Screen” features writer Michael Nachoff talking about the process of coming up with the idea and how it changed once filming began. I have to wonder if the script was better than the film and the “on scene” changes were what sank it or if the dialog was really that bad in the original script.

I’m not a fan of writing negative reviews, but I’d strongly encourage you to stay away from In the Name of the King 2: Two Worlds on DVD and Blu-ray and wait until it comes to television. At least then you can turn it off after the first ten minutes and not feel bad about it.

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

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Chuck Season 4 Sneak Peek!

Logo from the NBC television program Chuck
Image via Wikipedia

Hi all!

Season 4 of Chuck starts next week – September 20, 2010 on NBC at 7/8C!

This is a series that through the last three seasons has engaged not only myself and my wife, but my two girls. They’re always wondering “When’s Chuck on?” Thankfully, the answer is “Soon!”

Here are a few previews to get you in the mood!

Don’t forget to follow Chuck on Twitter and Facebook for any late breaking news from the Buy More!

–Fitz

Season 4 Super Sneak Peek

Zach Levi gives a guided tour of what to expect this season, from a galaxy of guest stars, to stunts, secret plots, personal quests, and more.

The Wait is Over

Chuck returns with guest stars Dolph Lundgren and Linda Hamilton. Season Premiere, Monday 8/7c.

Just Like Old Times
Pressed back into service, Chuck discovers some things don’t change.

Back to Work

General Beckman explains to Chuck that he’s being un-fired.

Mean Marko

Volkoff sends his top thug to break Casey and Sarah.

Buy More’s Rebirth

Morgan and Chuck are blown away by the newly reborn Buy More.

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Why Scott Pilgrim beat Expendables for me…

Hey…

Yes, you may be wondering at the title. Scott Pilgrim (the always amusing Michael Cera) is just this twenty-something rocker in Toronto. The Expendables have a veritable who’s who of action stars – Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, and Mickey Rourke. It’s a matter of testosterone vs. style. Not that the big guys don’t have style – but it’s a different world…

You might think this is comparing apples and oranges. And maybe you’re right.

But I was looking forward to both of these flicks for months. Each trailer whet my appetite a little more until I was almost drooling in anticipation… (Ok, not really – hypersalivation isn’t a real problem…) These hit different parts of my movie goals…

Action movies have been hit and miss this year for me. The A-Team was a miss, but The Losers was a hit. The Book of Eli was a hit but Legion did poorly at the box office (though I liked it, I didn’t love it). I hated The Wolfman but loved The Crazies… Even Iron Man 2 was a bit of disappointment.

Though I liked parts of The Expendables (some awesome fight scenes), it lacked much emotional connection… Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on the other hand had me at hello. From the 8-bit style of the Universal logo and theme song to the end, I was enthralled and in geek heaven.

The trifecta of Knives (Ellen Wong), Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and Cera as Pilgrim worked on so many levels even before you add in the geek. At it’s heart, this story is about the loves and losses of our 20s – those decisions we make and regret that follow us around like lost baggage from the airlines.

But when you add in the amazing soundtrack, the hilarious video game references, and the insanity of a “League of Evil Exes” and you have a film that is transcendent. This is the first truly multi-media inspired film that I can remember that works video game bits directly into the storytelling. I’m sure I missed a bunch of them, but they were seamlessly integrated with the love story.

Is this movie for people under the age of 16? Probably not. Is it for people over 50? Only if they’re extremely hip. This film (and the comic that spawned it) is a generational thing. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Fast Times at Ridgemont High were products of the generation I grew up in… These were homages to the inanity of growing up in that world of the end of the ’70s and early ’80s in much the same way that Scott Pilgrim captures the music-and-video game generation of today.

So why hasn’t it done well at the box office? Heck if I know. But The Expendables keeps making money based on name recognition.

I can only hope that Scott Pilgrim takes off on DVD & Blu-ray to save itself from total anonymity.

If you haven’t seen either film, I’d see Scott Pilgrim first and The Expendables second. Or the other way. Doesn’t really matter I guess. They both have a lot going for them. But damn I enjoyed the saga of Scott and Ramona so much more…

–Fitz

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