Rated: R :: Released: 06 January 2006
Director: Uwe Boll :: Starring: Kristanna Loken, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez and Matthew Davis
By James D. Deaux IV
27 January 2006 — There are directors who try and fail, and then they are finished. These people are rarely ever spoken of after one failure. Some get extra chances, but are on very short leashes creatively speaking. If they fail again, then they pretty much aren't even able to get a job wiping windshields. They are disgraced and can never return to making movies because of the shame they've brought upon themselves.
But then there is Uwe Boll.
Uwe Boll, not bound by the laws of respectable filmmaking, seems to have some kind of mental spell working over all of existence that allows him to keep making video game movies and subsequently, destroying their franchises. The following sentence is my outlook on him in a nutshell: I'm of the belief that everything the man touches turns to liquid fecal matter. He simply has no clue how to string together a plotline, a background story and deep characters. BloodRayne continued this trend in spades. I won't pretend that I know much about the video game origin of this movie save for the fact that Rayne, the title character, is a dhampir — a half-human / half-vampire creature. That, and the video games BloodRayne and BloodRayne 2 take place in 1932 and 2000. That sums up all my knowledge of the games. Which begs the question — "Why did I even see this in the first place?" Well, to tell the truth, I honestly do not know. There are not many movies out right now that pique my interest. So maybe I was bored when I decided to see another crappy video game-based movie. Be warned, I am going to spoil the entire movie . But really, I don't care. And quite frankly, neither should you. Because if you go see this movie after reading the subsequent paragraphs, you are either insane; have recently had a full frontal lobotomy; or are just going for morbid, curiosity's sake. Hopefully, you are the third option.
The movie itself opens in an 18th century Romanian market village where Michael Madsen's character, Vladimir, and his trusty sidekick, Sebastian (Matt Davis) appear. Apparently, these two are expert vampire hunters looking for information about a specific vampire... or half-vampire as it were. So whom do they ask? Why, a bartender, of course. Because, you know, that's who you ask when you need super-secret information about immortal creatures of the night. (Yeah, bartenders have a lot of information. I know. But come on — a sarcastic bartender in 18th century Romania? It just doesn't fit here at all.) During this sequence, a guy walks up and orders a glass of absinthe; to which, Sebastian knifes him in the chest in front of about 50 other people. Now one would think, even in 18th century Romania, that murdering someone in cold blood would attract some attention. Actually, what happens is the guy dissolves into dust because he was a vampire (as Sebastian could tell by tilting a mirror in front of him). My question is this — wouldn't seeing something this horrifying attract more attention than a few passing glares? Hell, everyone practically goes back to having their drinks after witnessing this bizarre occurrence. I guess ramming a knife through someone's torso in public is a commonplace happening in this time. So, this all-knowing bartender tells the two men that a circus picked up a bloodthirsty woman some time ago and has put her in their freak show. But of course, it's all just a rumor. So what does Vladimir do? He gives the guy a bag of money for information that may or may not be real, based on the ramblings of a person (or people) who have sauntered into this guy's bar drunk as all hell. En vino veritas?
After this introduction to idiocy (which, in and of itself was a big foreshadowing of nonstop stupidity yet to come), the circus is shown with a sword dancer and other miscellaneous freak show commonplaces. Rayne is forced out in shackles and drinks gushing lamb's blood in front of a gasping audience. Later, one of the circus workers tries to rape her in her cage and she kills him. In the bloodlust, she kills dozens of people of all stature including the one person who sympathizes with her and wants her to be free. She takes the woman's tonfa-like swords (which are little more than stage props) and runs off.
Okay, I have a couple of gripes here. On the surface, and even based on what I just said, this scene doesn't seem all that badly presented or written. However, let's look at this rationally. Rayne is supposed to be someone the movie audience sympathizes with because she is being held against her will by these greedy, lustful bastards who would sooner kill her than set her free. So, not five minutes later, she kills the one person who helps give her that freedom. Boll flushes any kind of compassion that the audience may have had for Rayne off the bat straight down the toilet. Sure, she regrets what she did almost immediately, but even in spite of this, the two circus scenes were rushed and just thrown together. Second, this scene sets the tone for violence throughout the rest of this film and that's not a good thing. Every single sword or blade slash that occurs at any point during the rest of the movie results in geysers of blood everywhere. It makes absolutely no sense. It's like that old anime cliché that states that the human body (or vampire body as it were) contains 64 gallons of blood.
At this point, we are introduced to the main antagonist in this charade of a movie, Kagan, a dull, cookie-cutter bad guy played by the equally uninspired Ben Kingsley. Kingsley (and Madsen for that matter) must be pretty damn hard up for money lately if they looked at this script and described it as anything higher on the descriptive totem pole than "garbage". I've lost a bit of respect for both of them simply for doing this movie just for a paycheck. Now, I'm as capitalist as they come, but I am also as critical as they come towards anyone who helps destroy stories for another quick dollar. (See: The Disney Corporation 1995-present). Both Madsen and Kingsley looked bored to death during the entire film and basically inferred the message that they couldn't give a damn about being there. Hell, Madsen looked like he was half asleep the whole time. Michelle Rodriguez, reprising her role as Distrustful Bitch from the underwhelming first Resident Evil movie, was the only person who even looked like she was trying. (She, along with Vladimir and Sebastian, helped set a bunch of vampirized corpses ablaze to purify the Rayne-ravaged circus area. Forgot to mention that earlier.) But anyway, back to this Kagan joker and his cadre of miscreant acting castoffs. When they introduce Kagan, we are also shown his main henchman, the indescribably goofy-looking Domastir (Will Sanderson). Every time you see this peon (Kagan's description, not mine; though it certainly does fit), he has this look on his face that would give you the impression that he is either violently constipated or is offended by his own breath. His lips are always clenched together in such a way as to make you think that the Jaws of Life proverb was fashioned from his face. Oh, and lest I forget his horrific haircut? I think if I ever saw someone in real life with the haircut this dolt had, I'd point and laugh. Only I'd be standing two feet in front of him when I did it (you know, for the full effect). Every word this guy says in any scene is so ridiculously melodramatic that you can't help but snicker while watching it. Plus, when you factor in the horribly trite dialogue that this movie is teeming with, he makes for one big cornball character that no one can ever take seriously. Speaking of hackneyed dialogue, let's rejoin Vladimir, Sebastian and Katarin, shall we?
When we last left these snore-inducers, they were searching for Rayne. Well, they eventually will find her as a hostage of one of the many pointless characters in this movie — Leonid — played by none other than Meat Loaf. This guy is apparently some kind of brothel vampire who hangs around with naked women all day. Before I go on, this is a good place to mention that this movie has random nudity everywhere. It seems like every twenty minutes or so, you see a group of completely nude women everywhere. Now, I love naked women as much as the next straight guy, but... why? I mean, these indiscriminate breast-fests just have the word "desperation" written all over them. By that, I mean it's like Boll or someone working under him knew this script was trash, so they thought, "Hey, let's just have naked chicks lying around everywhere. That will make up for everything else, right? Everyone loves boobs!"
So, before Vlad and Sebby arrive to rescue Rayne, Domastir enters the castle of this fat pimp vampire and demands that he hand over Rayne. He refuses and threatens Domastir, which isn't a hard thing to do given how much of a dimwit the guy is. So, Vlad and Sebastian bust through the main doors (so much for stealth) and start hacking everything in sight, kill Leonid and his cronies with sunlight, and take Rayne away to their hideout.
The good guys' hideout is where the blatant idiocy and absurdity really go into hyperdrive. Rayne is confined to a dungeon cell at first because, well, not even the rats infesting the place trust her. Sebastian and Katarin, especially, think she will turn on them in a heartbeat. Rayne reveals some things about her past to the two men. Kagan, allegedly the most powerful vampire in existence, apparently raped and murdered Rayne's mother right in front of her when she was a little girl. So, all throughout the movie, Rayne tells Sebastian and Vladimir that they have no idea what pain is: "You don't know the meaning of pain! Kagan is my father."
Yes, Rayne, I do know what pain is. It's knowing that I spent 30% of my tips the other night on a ticket to one of the worst movies ever made. And can someone explain how this girl who was already born when Kagan raped her mother became a half-vampire??? How did that happen? There are so many plot holes here. It's staggering.
First off, if Rayne was already a half-vampire, then Kagan isn't her father. Period. But if she wasn't, how did Kagan become her father when she was already alive for several years? I doubt she'd be willing to be adopted by this guy, and I doubt even further that he'd have the desire to do that anyway when he could have just made her an after-dinner dessert upon drinking her mother's blood. If he bit her later, she would have become a full-fledged vampire, not a dhampir, so that possibility is gone. But even if that scenario were plausible, it doesn't explain how he is her father. Is vicarious vampirization a new tactic being used by the undead now? My head hurts. So badly. I hope it isn't one of those stupidity-induced aneurysms that Uwe Boll movies tend to cause.
Somewhere in this coagulated mass of plot holes and boring discourse, they introduce yet another character that has no effect on the outcome of the story whatsoever, but gets tons of screen time for no reason at all. This would be Billy Zane's character, Elrich, otherwise known as Katarin's father. He is a vampire, and a very obsessive compulsive one at that. What's even worse about his character is that Katarin is a no-nonsense person who loves her father dearly, but knows she can never see him again because he's a vampire in exile. So, she writes very heartfelt letters to him on a regular basis cataloging her vampire-exterminating exploits and her love for him in each one. So how does Boll portray this guy? As a silly, self-important nimrod who can't compose a sincere letter to his only child. It's only gets worse later when Domastir pays a visit on him, but I'm not even going to bother with that scene.
Anyway, back to the dungeon soap opera. Rayne is meandering around her cell with Sebastian watching from the other side of the bars. Sebastian ignores most of what she says out of spite, but then about one minute later (and brace yourselves because she is so stupid I can only hope to describe it accurately) Rayne starts undoing Sebastian's pants and they have sex up against the bars of the cell.
I cannot even make this crap up. While it was nice to see Kristanna Loken's breasts, why in the bluest of blue Hells would you take a half-vampire character that no one in this movie trusts and guy who had nothing but scorn for her up to this point, and have them start screwing each other in a dungeon? What. The. Hell? Try as I might, I cannot remember a more pointless sex scene in any non-X-rated movie I've ever watched. I simply can't. This takes the proverbial cake and punts it into the next galaxy. Later, Vlad, Sebastian, and Katarin are eating their meager portions of food when Rayne enters the mess hall. Nothing of note really happens here except that a kid asks Rayne to scare him and she does. Yawn. They all decide that they need to get food for the hideout.
Later, Vlad, Sebby and Rayne decide to travel across an unnamed body of water to visit a weapons dealer and to get provisions. Before that, though, Rayne trains some more in swordsmanship with Katarin. This is where more of that trite dialogue comes into play. Rayne compliments Katarin sardonically about her fighting ability when she says, oh so enthusiastically: "My father always taught me to keep my friends close, and my enemies even closer."
WOW! Such passion! Such drama! Such originality! Such utterly lame, overused clichéd phrases! Seriously; that line is one of the most hackneyed phrases ever, and the fact that she said it so sternly only makes me laugh even more. After Rayne, Vlad and Sebby take off, Katarin apparently turns on everyone at the hideout and tries to recover one of the three sacred artifacts that Kagan is so dead set on capturing. Vlad, Sebastian and Rayne, whose prop swords that she took from her unfortunate savior at the circus, arrive at a weapons dealer across the shore of a massive unnamed body of water. Wouldn't you know it? The guy there has two more tonfa-shaped bladed weapons for Rayne's use. However, the ones she receives now have blunted ends and not sharp ones like she had before. Sigh. I don't even know what to say at this point, but it's not like idiocy ends there. So I have to take this in stride and move forward. Vladimir takes some holy water, of which there are literally gallons laying around this secret basement of vampire-eliminating knick-knacks, and they leave to head back to the hideout. Meanwhile, however, Domastir the Goofy and his underlings of underachievement storm the hideout and mercilessly wipe everyone out trying to find Rayne and the artifact she possesses in her eyeball. She, of course, is not there, having left to get new weapons and such several hours earlier. It is discovered that Katarin let these thralls into the place. Why? Because she doesn't like Rayne. Good job. Rayne, however, having not so secretly abandoned Vlad and Sebastian, secretly enters the destroyed hideout and finds Katarin in an underground cavern swimming to retrieve the artifact she hid there years earlier. They fight underwater (…right), Rayne wins and, with a biting of Katarin's neck, heals herself. Taking the artifacts, she heads for Kagan's castle.
When she arrives, she allows them to take her prisoner stating she has a gift for her "father". Vladimir and Sebastian, on her heels, start a fight with the dozens of guards outside the keep. Despite the fact that Domastir would have offed pretty much anyone else who did what those two did, he simply tells the soldiers to throw them into the dungeon. Why? These two have been a pain in this guy's ass the entire movie (almost to the point where Kagan would kill him for his failures to deal with them) and he simply throws them in a rotten jail cell? Anyway, Rayne and the two heroes reunite in the dungeon and try to formulate some kind of plan to kill Kagan, but Domastir demands that Rayne be brought to Kagan's throne room. Afterwards, in one of the most laughable ploys ever utilized in a movie ever, Vladimir tricks the guard on duty into thinking Sebastian is missing from their cell. Okay, after reading that, you may be thinking, "Well, okay, that's fine. How is that so dumb?" Well, I'm glad you asked. The guard was in the dungeon the entire time. He would have seen any attempt to escape, and the only means of escape is through the door of the cell. All that is inside their cell is a stone wall. Vladimir just does this out of nowhere and the guard buys it. Message to Kagan: maybe you ought to go over your goon-hiring policy because it isn't working too well. He enters their cell and Sebastian, of course, swings down from the ceiling of the cell and beats the crap out of the guard in like three seconds. Uwe Boll could not have made this scene any dumber if he tried. (Boy, that is a scary thought.)
So they escape; make their way up to Kagan's chamber; and the massive, clichéd, "climactic" fight scene occurs. You know what I thought about all throughout the last 10 minutes of this movie? Mortal Kombat Annihilation. Why? Because you have three different horribly rendered and choreographed fight sequences happening simultaneously. This whole scene was like Special Olympics Sword Fighting. Sebastian fights Domastir, Vladimir fights some hulking goons and Rayne, as you'd expect, battles her "father". Domastir fatally stabs Vladimir, I believe. However, Sebastian ends up killing Domastir even though he is also mortally wounded. It's possible that I have that last sequence inverted or backwards. But I don't care at this point, because by then I had seen so much of this movie that I could have been declared legally brain-dead. It was funny because after Domastir was (thankfully) killed, Vladimir is shown trying to get up after being impaled for no reason at all. Alright, look — when you have a hero who is fatally wounded get up during a fight sequence, it should mean something. It should indicate that the hero is using his last ounce of strength to help the lone surviving protagonist or something to that effect. Vladimir did nothing. Why would you show him at all if it had no effect on the current action of the scene? It actually cheapened his death even more than it already was. Rayne ends up triumphing over her "father" when Sebastian, who actually does something with his last mortal breath, throws that bottle of holy water that I mentioned earlier into Kagan while shooting it with an arrow. Kagan melts, dissolves and screams, though not necessarily in that order, and Rayne runs to Sebastian. He dies, and Rayne is the only person left standing in the entire room. Then, in a fitting end to this crapfest, Rayne walks around the room in utter silence and sits down in Kagan's now vacant throne. She says nothing and has a look on her face that says, "Whoa, I can take over the world now." The film ends with a close-up of her face. 96 minutes of horror are finally over and I have a terrible headache.
As of this moment, BloodRayne is #19 on IMDb.com's "250 Worst Movies List". (Incidentally, of the three video game adaptations Boll has directed to date, all three are in the top 20 of said list. House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark rest at 14 and 20, respectively.) I think that says enough right there. Hopefully, you all realize how much pain I'm in, both from watching that movie and reliving it in order to write this review, because my brain is screaming at me wanting out.
Final Grade: 0 / 100 — Absolutely, unabashedly horrendous. There is not a single thing by which to recommend this farce of a movie.