There have been many aspirants to Ed Wood's tinfoil crown over the years—Joel Schumacher, Brett Ratner, whoever directed Snow Dogs—but no one has ever quite captured the master's combination of earnest seriousness and complete filmmaking inability. Enter Uwe Boll. The two men share some striking surface similarities: both work with a core group of has-beens and never-weres; both are the subject of strangely plausible rumors (Wood stormed Normandy wearing a garter belt, Boll funds his films with Nazi gold); and both have attracted their share of diehard disbelieving fans. Most importantly, however, is the overriding tragic/hilarious sense that they've both tried as hard as they possibly can to make a good movie, but without the slightest idea how.
In the Name of the King, Boll's two-plus hour(!), $70 million(!!) sword and sorcery epic, isn't quite the defining überwerk of crap that many had hoped for (that honor still falls to last year's confoundingly tasteless bootleg sensation Postal), but it still stands as a major event in the director's career: A magnum dopus so utterly inept that it somehow comes off as perversely admirable. The other two people at Friday's matinee seemed to enjoy it, too.
Based on the Dungeon Siege series of videogames, the story follows a peacenik boomerang-wielding farmer named, er, Farmer (Jason Statham) as he reluctantly defends the realm of Ehb from the evil rubber-monstrous Krugs. (I took notes.) To be fair, there are a few moments of competence scattered throughout, mainly due to old pros Ron Perlman and John Rhys-Davies, but such anomalies quickly fall to the wayside of questions like: Did Matthew Lillard consume his weight in Pixy Stix before every single shot? Should one feel sorrier for Burt Reynolds or his AstroTurf hairpiece? Should Peter Jackson sue? "Aim for the stars," Wood once wrote, "[but] remember one thing. Stars flicker and flash out, but Mars is a planet." God alone knows where Uwe thinks he's headed, but he's getting closer all the time.