Another entry (the third) in the In the Name of the King franchise, Uwe Boll’s newest made-for-home video fantasy adventure is, like the other two films in this series, basically unrelated to the others though there is an element of time travel in this one and the last. But these last two films directed by him also share low budget production values and are movies that concentrate on action at the expense of sensible plotting and reasonable character development. This latest film is a slight improvement on the last one but only minimally.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 26 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraVioletkeep case
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 03/11/2014
Mob enforcer Hazen Kaine (Dominic Purcell) has no problems with carrying out contracted hits or abducting children for the right price, but he’s bored with the life and wants out. When a magical amulet he takes from his latest abductee opens a time portal that whisks him up into it, Hazen finds himself in medieval Bulgaria facing down a fire-breathing dragon. Rescued by warrior sisters Arabella (Ralitsa Paskaleva) and Emeline (Daria Simeonova) who are battling their brother (Marian Valev) to regain control of their kingdom after he slaughtered their father in seizing power, he joins their fight since the shaman Ulrich (Bashar Rahal) declares he is the only one who can lead the ragtag band of revolutionaries to victory against the new king. Hazen then realizes why he was chosen to come back in time and finds a new purpose for his life which had been missing since the death of his wife some years earlier.
The Production Rating: 2.5/5
Joel Ross’ story is serviceable enough since the film’s major reason for existence is the series of battles with people and with the dragon. Thus, minor problems like Hazen and the Bulgarians in both realms speaking English (in many cases very badly and often obviously phonetically) or the empty streets in modern Sophia and with no authorities questioning the presence of a live dragon who comes back through the time portal with Hazen are simply meant to be overlooked. The battle scenes are decently staged and shot (the first one at night is rather moodily conceived) though again one must simply accept that Hazen becomes remarkably proficient with a battle sword very quickly. There is the tiniest bit of romance for the antihero (but he doesn’t seem to fret about leaving her behind when he goes back to the present day), but the script doesn’t handle his change of heart from scoundrel to principled citizen with much aplomb. It just happens. The CGI dragon is quite an improvement from the creature in the previous film in the series, and there are far fewer CGI backgrounds that the actors play against, again a welcome improvement.
Dominic Purcell is rather stone-faced as the hit man-turned-savior, and the script doesn’t really offer him anything else to play except a man of action which he handles well enough. The language barrier for the other players, however, makes their line readings very tentative and sometimes close to indecipherable. The best of the bunch are Bashar Rahal’s Ulrich who makes amusing tongue-in-cheek observations about the stranger and Nikolai Sotirov’s fiery Tybalt whose motivational speeches rouse the patchwork army to fighting zeal. Ralitsa Paskaleva’s Arabella is the telegraphed love interest from the moment of her first appearance, but she seems to have some skills as a combatant even if her English is stilted.
Shot digitally, the film has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. While sharpness varies from shot to shot, some of the aerial scenes and some close-ups are softer than other medium and long shots. Color is true and well controlled throughout with accurate skin tones. Black levels are an improvement from the previous entry in the series but are still not optimal. The film has been divided into 28 chapters.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix draws most of its surround envelopment from the pounding, pulsating score by Jessica De Rooj. For all of its battles and the flying dragon creature, little is done to fill the rears with the kind of enveloping sound that would place the action all around the listener. Many of the ambient noises remain rooted to the front soundstage. Use of the LFE channel can be impressive on occasion but can also be underwhelming. Dialogue has been placed in the center channel.
Audio Rating: 4/5
The Making of In the Name of the King: The Last Mission (14:38, HD): director Uwe Boll monopolizes this behind-the-scenes look at the movie’s seventeen-day production schedule. Star Dominic Purcell also comments on his role and his working relationship with the director (their second outing together).
Special Features Rating: 1.5/5
Promo Trailers (HD): Out of the Furnace, Robocop.
A bit of an improvement from the last film in the franchise, In the Name of the King 3: The Last Mission still has major problems with plotting and characterization, likely not of much interest if one is one in the mood for a no-brainer adventure movie. The picture and sound offered are certainly good enough without setting any new standards for home theater reference quality elements.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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