Director Uwe Boll sticks with what he knows -- how to turn video games into dull, cheap-looking movies -- with this would-be epic adventure based on the popular "Dungeon Siege." It pits tough guy Jason Statham against the usual ye olde suspects, including a wicked wizard, scheming royals, witchy women and an army of pseudo Orcs, and features a bizarrely assorted cast of has-beens, also-rans and never-really-weres.
Turnip farmer Farmer (Statham), a man of few words, deep emotions and odd talents -- he's a dab hand with a boomerang, for example -- lives with his lovely wife, Solana (Claire Forlani) and their cute-as-a-button son, Zeph (Colin Ford) in a vaguely medieval kingdom with a shameless Lord of the Rings vibe. Orphaned as a child, Farmer was raised by gruff old coot Norick (Ron Perlman) and the people of Stonebridge, the quaint nearby village where Solana sells their crops. Farmer's quiet existence is shattered when Stonebridge is attacked by Krugs -- the aforementioned faux Orcs -- who kill Zeph and abduct Solana. Farmer, accompanied by Norick and Solana's brother, Bastian (Will Sanderson), sets out to rescue her. Meanwhile, loathsome Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard) is conspiring against his uncle, aging King Konreid (Burt Reynolds). The benevolent king is childless, making Fallow heir apparent, but Fallow is impatient and turns to a disgraced wizard, Gallian (Ray Liotta), to hasten Konreid's death. Fallow doesn't realize that he's merely a pawn in Gallian's plot to rule the world (cue the villainous laughter), to which end Gallian also insinuates himself into the good graces of headstrong beauty Muriella (Leelee Sobieski), a tomboy whose father, Merick (John Rhys-Davies), is Konreid's personal wizard.
There's a surfeit of plot, all of it generic. The computer-generated castles look as artificial as, well, video-game graphics, and the bloodshed is bloodless, a concession to the PG-13 rating that befits a movie whose target audience is pubescent boys. Connoisseurs of the so-bad-it's-good school of film appreciation might imagine that the film's absurdities guarantee a good time: Liotta swanning around in a sequined Nehru jacket and attacking Statham with a blizzard of books; a tribe of tree-dwelling lesbian hotties (including Kristanna Loken) who swing around on vines and wear leather short-shorts; Sobieski voguing in her fetching suit of custom-made armor; any number of ill-considered scraps of dialogue -- "So… where are you from?" Bastian chattily asks the pretty girl chained next to him in Gallian's dank dungeon. But brevity is the soul of camp, and at close to two-and-a-half hours, Boll's film is just too exhausting to be fun. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh