Will Sanderson

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In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Review


Unbearable
Uwe Boll has no soul. He has no moviemaking skill or artistic acumen, either. Yet somehow, thanks to a deal with the devil, someone trying to launder a buttload of illicit cash, or a back room loaded with blackmail fodder, he keeps getting to regularly desecrate cinema -- i.e. direct films. Terry Gilliam can't get a job. David Lynch has to go to home movie technology to get something made, and yet this German joke has no less than nine projects either completed or in development, and his latest is staining a theater screen somewhere near you. As usual, Boll is about five years late to the Lord of the Rings ripoff race. However, if you're longing for another lame copy of every crappy sword-and-sorcery epic ever made, In the Name of the King is it.

The story is a little scattered, but the main narrative strand involves a chiseled chump named Farmer (Jason Statham), who vows vengeance on the evil Krugs for destroying his family. Along with pal Norick (Ron Pearlman) and brother-in-law Bastian (Will Sanderson), they defy King Konreid (Burt Reynolds; yes, you read that right) and head out looking for payback. Along the way, they confront the mud-dog creatures led by wicked wizard Gallian (Ray Liotta; yes, you read that right as well). Our malevolent magic maker has been literally sucking the power out of his rival Merick's (John Rhys-Davis) daughter Muriella (Leelee Sobieski; so here's where she went!), and with the help of the ruler's inelegant nephew Fallow (Matthew Lillard), he plans to overthrow the court and use the Krug as his new army. On the way to a final confrontation between Farmer and Gallian, we get lots of pseudo-spectacle swordplay, some bad CGI vistas, and a visit from Cirque de Soleil in the form of acrobatic tree-dwellers whose leader (Kristanna Loken) hates humans.

Continue reading: In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Review

Bloodrayne Review


Unbearable
German director Uwe Boll is making a name for himself as a schlockster, methodically working his way through a long list of video game adaptations for the silver screen, to painfully bad effect. Now, hot on the heels of the almost-straight-to-video Alone in the Dark with Christian Slater and Tara Reid, Boll is hitting us again with a film adaptation of the hot vampire title BloodRayne. And this is just a brief stop on the road to upcoming productions of Dungeon Siege, Far Cry, and Hunter: The Reckoning. Sadly, Boll is rushing so quickly through each of these absurdly bad pictures that he isn't taking the time to put the schlock where it belongs, so even fans of bad cinema are going to be pretty disappointed.

BloodRayne is the story of a red-headed half-vampire vixen (Kristanna Loken), a dhampir, on a mission to take revenge against her vampire father (inexplicably portrayed here by a wooden and probably somewhat disoriented Ben Kingsley) and the kingdom of night stalkers over which he rules. There are some motivations behind all this, and from time to time Kingsley and Loken utter lines apparently intended to illustrate these motivations, but mostly it doesn't make sense at all and it doesn't really matter. What does matter is that Rayne comes equipped with a pair of awkward-looking sword-type things and she knows how to use them. Well, she doesn't really, but a series of quick edits make that a moot point.

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Cheats Review


Weak
A bunch of rotten kids cheat their way through school, despite threats from principal Mary Tyler Moore(!) over the red marks on their permanent record.

Last year's Slackers proved this was tepid comedy ground at best, and thankfully Cheats improves on the formula a tad thanks to its younger and more engaging cast. It's still the usual stuff: stealing tests, making crib sheets, bribing teachers' children, all with virtually no remorse -- stuff that was done impressively in Animal House and hasn't gone very far since. This is 2003, man! Where's the technology!?

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Heart of America Review


Grim
You say Heart of America. I think Disney, helicopter shops of forest rangers, Imax, maybe 3-D, maybe some fireworks.

You say a thinly-veiled fictionalization of the Columbine massacre. I say directed by Uwe Boll (He'll make four movies based on video games from 2003 to 2006.)

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The Mangler 2 Review


Grim
Having not seen The Mangler 1, I worry that I don't have the sociological background to appropriately critique The Mangler 2. However, I have read the original Stephen King short story "The Mangler," and if memory serves, it's about a piece of factory machinery that becomes possessed and murderous when a little blood gets on it... not a computer virus gone awry that ultimately creates an impromptu cyborg from a prep school headmaster.

Well, that's what we get here, a ridiculous by-the-numbers teens-on-the-run movie, this time from a computer that's become infected by those very kids, looking to create a diversion and get out of trouble. Darn kids -- The Mangler will show 'em not to meddle!

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Alone In The Dark Review


Zero

Playing the most laughable hottie scientist since nuclear-physicist Denise Richards in "The World Is Not Enough," Tara Reid -- Hollywood's poster tart for partying hardy and bad breast implants -- produces one of the defining moments in the utterly inept supernatural action-horror flick "Alone in the Dark."

She's supposed to be a gifted archeologist specializing in rare Native American artifacts -- which when pieced together could open a portal to a monster-spewing parallel world -- yet as she catalogs these objects, she notes that one of them was discovered in "New Found Land."

Her snicker-inducing mispronunciation of the Canadian province clearly demonstrates that 1) Reid is anything but an educated scientist, 2) German director Uwe Boll hasn't learned English well enough to direct a movie in English, and 3) no one else involved with this picture cared enough to say "It's one word, pronounced noo-fhund-lund, you bimbo."

Continue reading: Alone In The Dark Review

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