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You’ve Been Boll-ed: Six Great Actors Suffer the World’s Worst Director

Uwe Boll has directed more movies based on video games than any other person in the world. He’s weathered years of bad ticket sales and hoardes of rabid critics. And yet, the man keeps on making more movies and shockingly, he continues to find big-name actors to star in them. It is not our place to wonder how Boll attracts talent for dreck like In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and Postal — many speculate it’s Boll’s German financiers who offer the actors an easy paycheck — but we can certainly catalog some of the most insane and depressing Boll roles undertaken by the best actors Hollywood has to offer.

John Rhys-Davies, Raiders of the Lost Ark . Hopefully no one will remember his pitiful turn as the sorcerer in Dungeon Siege. Given that Davies’ Merick the Magus was required to shout lines like, “Sacrilege!” “This is madness, Gallian!” and “You go too far!”, the smelly dwarf somehow ends up the less embarrassing role for the acclaimed British actor.

J.K. Simmons, Postal (2007)
Simmons_125.jpgGod bless J.K. Simmons — the man is physically incapable of half-assing a performance, no matter how insipid the material may be. Just as he turned J. Jonah Jameson into the most memorable character in the entire Spider-Man trilogy, Simmons transformed a stupid, one-note character like Candidate Wells in Boll’s adaptation of Postal into… well, a stupid one-note character, but a likable one who manages to make horrifying lines like, “All 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center attacks were not heroes — they were bankers!” oddly amusing through the sheer enthusiasm and honesty of his delivery.

Ray Liotta, In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)
Liotta_125.jpgAfter flicks like No Escape, it’s forgivable to accuse Ray Liotta of the occasional hammy performance. “Hammy,” however, does not even begin to cover Liotta’s turn as the evil wizard Gallian in Boll’s In The Name of the King. Sporting a fake tan that would make George Hamilton blush, Liotta shouts and gesticulates with an exuberant insanity that almost borders on self-parody. You can’t help but think Liotta knew exactly how the movie would be received, and chose to seek refuge in an overblown, positively ridiculous performance.

Michael Madsen, Bloodrayne (2005)
Madsen_125.jpgNever before in my life have I seen an actor look as undeniably bored as Michael Madsen does in BloodRayne. As the titular character’s mentor, Madsen perpetually seems about fifteen seconds away from rolling his eyes into his head. One quick look at the trailer makes this point immaculately clear: The effortless cool with which Madsen once portrayed Mr. Blonde has turned into legitimate fatigue, delivering lines like “Physical strength is nothing!” with the same degree of enthusiasm one might employ while ordering a pizza.

Jason Statham, In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2008)
Statham_125.jpgOver the last few years, Jason Statham has become a sort of new, ironic Bruce Willis. He’s at his best when either ignoring the action flicks altogether (Snatch, Revolver) or subverting the genre’s cliches in over-the-top fare like Crank. When he’s plopped straight into the middle of a fantasy period video game adaptation, Statham’s ruggedly badass charm stagnates. Boll’s “epic” is too silly to be taken seriously, yet too serious to be taken as mindless, self-aware fun. As the movie’s main character (creatively dubbed “Farmer”), Statham earns our respect for giving it his all, but still ends up looking rather confused and irritated.

Ben Kingsley, Bloodrayne (2005)
Kingsley_125.jpgSir Ben Kingsley has won myriad Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and SAG awards throughout his career, in addition to being a god-damned knight. BloodRayne is a game about a lesbian vampire who kills Nazis with knives attached to her arms. In a kind and loving world, those two statements would never under any circumstances be related. And yet, Ben Kingsley — the man who gave us Gandhi — earned a Golden Raspberry (aka, Razzie) nomination for his portrayal of the immortal vampire king Kagan in Uwe Boll’s game adaptation. We do not live in a kind and loving world. And we have Uwe Boll to thank for that.

Anthony Burch is the features editor for and the co-writer and director of the video series, “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin’?” He’s also working on his first artgame, which should be done sooner or later. Probably later.

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