Saturday, 26 July 2014

BloodRayne - A Movie For The "Why So Serious" Crowd

The film:
BloodRayne (2005)

The under-the-radar factor:
German born director Uwe Boll has somehow managed to output one of the most prodigious (as opposed to "prestigious") collection of movie titles of the twenty-first century, in spite of never really having blown the pants off of the box office or DVD sale tallies. This entry, based on a video game, is no exception, although it must have made enough/cost so little to allow for a couple of sequels. 

The review:

Some people lack a sense of identity. This surely cannot be the case for Uwe Boll, who only has to look at a small collection of reviews for just about any of the feature films that have had his name on it for the past dozen plus-years. Boll is constantly reminded by many of the cinematic tribe of what he is suppose to be - the worst film director in the world.

Now, are we talking Ed Wood/Tommy Wiseau entertainingly bad? Or just plain simple sucks? This is the question I needed an answer for as I subjected myself to my first ever Boll experience, wondering if 99 minutes of my life could have been better spent on something more entertaining... like hurling snot at rabid squirrels. Well, we will see...

But before we have a look at the film itself, let's hear what fond remembrances screenwriter Guinevere Turner has of dealing with director Boll:

Well, that's encouraging, isn't it? But hang on to that "campy" thought. Anyway, here we go...

It's the eighteenth century and bruising babe Rayne (Kristanna Loken) finds herself trapped as the feature freak attraction in a Romanian carnival. She's considered unusual by being a Dhampir - not really a vampire, but hardly human either. While she'd be happy to drain any person she meets, she tempers matters by settling for the blood of animals. After making an escape where she wipes out just about the entire travelling sideshow (even her friends), she meets up with a fortune teller (Gerladine Chaplin, one of a number of recognizable faces that apparently signed up for some additional beer money) who helps clue her into the fact her mother was raped and killed by the king of the vampires. This dude, Kagan (Ben Kingsley, embarrassingly griting his teeth throughout this paycheck role) would like to take out his daughter as well but is even more preoccupied with coming up with the Tailsman organs (an eye, heart, and rib) that would really make him all powerful. Thing is, Rayne gets into a situation where she obtains and absorbs the eye for herself. She eventually comes across a couple of vampire hunters, Vladimir (Michael Madsen, who occasionally opens his eyes and says a line before going back to sleepwalking) and Sebastien (Matthew Davis, who's basically just around for the one obligatory hot sex scene with Loken). Another hanger-on is Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez), who turns out to be a bad apple among vampire slayers (seemingly for being jealous that she's got some competition in the hot babe department from Rayne...although that apparently wasn't the case - nudge-nudge, wink-wink - behind the scenes between Loken and Rodriguez). And then you get the big confrontation with Kagan, ya-da, ya-da...

It would be cruel to keep you in any further suspense without watching some scenes, so to the trailer we do go...

Problems with the storyline? Oh yeah, we got problems with the storyline. What's up Rayne single-handedly destroying her captors but then getting a little love tap on the noodle from Domastir (Will Sanderson) that turns off her lights for hours? And what about Vladimir insisting she's too raw and unready without further combat training, even though she can already slice and dice multiple swordsmen at a time? Aggravating annoyances? Nah, not at all - it's some of the cinematic ineptness that had me howling throughout this catastrophe.

And call me cruel but there really is something entertaining about the look on Kingsley's face throughout, with that "how do I torture my agent for getting me into this mess" scowl. Or watching Madsen almost refusing to address the camera - if he had his way I'm sure he would have done his entire performance walking backwards or with his long hair combed over his face.

While I admit that the costumes look like they were purchased at the weekly half-price off sale at some local thrift store, some of the cinematography/scenery bits are actually pretty good. And while I've heard critics complain (they were actually analyzing this film in a serious manner - whats up with that?) over the veg-a-matic style of editing that was clearly done to compensate for the obvious lack of swordplay talent in the cast, I thought it added some needed flash to the proceedings. Hey, BloodRayne is a piece of crap film, sure... but in some places it actually looks like a fairly artsy piece of crap.

I had an okay time at home watching BloodRayne on DVD - I would have had a howl watching it in some musty, dilapidated grindhouse theatre (if you can find one...farewell, Rio Cinema) with a bunch of grubby alcoholics shouting at the screen. Based on this offering, I would suggest that's the way all Uwe Boll masterpieces should be absorbed.

I don't exactly recommend the film - there's defiantly better schlock out there - I'm just saying it's not a write-off as a time-waster if you're in the right kind of uncritical mood. In some ways, it's the sort of production the CW would turn into a weekly tv series if they could get away with this level of constant gore and occasional birthday suit T & A. If you ever do view it, leave the serious, critical attitude vibe at the door.


  1. Sure, I'm saying this anonymously, but I know *exactly* what Guinevere Turner went through.