Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 2017

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Writing Fantasy

  
At The Picture Show
January 2006

'Blood' on Uwe Boll's hands

BloodRayne
Herold Productions
Director: Uwe Boll
Screenplay: Guinevere Turner, based on the video game
Starring: Kristanna Loken, Michael Madsen, Michelle Rodriguez, Matt Davis, Will Sanderson, Meat Loaf, Billy Zane and Ben Kingsley
Rated R / 1 hour, 34 minutes
Opened Jan. 13, 2005
ZERO stars (out of four)

Why, Ben Kingsley, why?! Or...oh, wait, that's right, he likes to be called Sir Ben. Let's try that again.

Why, Sir Ben Kingsley, why?!

In fact, that's the question we should be asking everyone involved with this production: Why? Why did a slew of talented actors agree to take part in a film they all had to have known was complete and utter crap? The answer, of course, is simple: To collect a quick and easy paycheck for very little effort.

But such dreck is par for the course for director Uwe Boll, which begs the question: Why do people keep letting this man make movies? Please, we the moviegoing public, beg you: Stop giving him money. The man has made four movies that have gotten ratings on the popular Rotten Tomatoes website's "Tomatometer," and they have a 28 percent rating combined. Bloodrayne is holding strong as his second-best film (whatever that means) at 8 percent, considerably higher than his 2004 effort, Alone in the Dark, which checked in at 1 percent (one positive review, 108 negative reviews).

Certainly, you now understand the seriousness of this Uwe Boll situation.

But all this anti-Boll posturing is just a cheap ploy to procrastinate actually talking about this film, which is an extremely difficult task considering there's not really much to say about it. BloodRayne is apparently based on a video game, one I haven't played but which certainly won't get any new converts based on the quality of this adaptation.

It's about vampires and dhampirs (What's a dhampir? Well of course, a half-human, half-vampire, silly.) More specifically, it's about one dhampir in particular, Rayne (Kristanna Loken, the stone-faced cyborg killer from Terminator 3), looking for revenge on her father, Kagan (Kingsley), who's, like, the king of the vampires...or something.

She has escaped from a traveling circus...or something...and eventually runs across three vampire-hunters, two of whom are named, I kid you not, Vladimir (Michael Madsen) and Sebastian (Matt Davis). The third is Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez), who has secret plans of her own along with her powerful brother, Elrich (Billy Zane, in a delightful cameo). At first, the three vampire hunters imprison Rayne, before realizing who she is and what she's after.

Oh yeah, and the press materials say that the film is set in 18th Century Romania. Oh.

It's hard to narrow down exactly what went wrong with this film. In a word, everything. The simple fact is that Boll is an unequivocally, categorically untalented director. I wish I could get into more details of the plot, but the truth is I wouldn't even know where to begin. He has no idea how to tell a story or put together any sort of narrative. Look, this is a video-game movie. We're not talking about a complex, labyrinthine plot structure or a three-dimensional character study - this movie has no right to be confusing. And yet it is. Half the time, I had no idea what was going on. Of course, maybe that had something to do with the fact that, after a certain point, I really didn't care anymore.

The story doesn't follow any sort of rhythm from one scene to another, and even if they did, Boll has no idea how to set a scene anyway, nor can he direct actors, nor does he even have a good eye. At least other famously bad directors, like Michael Bay for instance, can make something look good even while making a bad movie. Boll cannot make the same argument.

Bloodrayne is so bad, for the life of me I can't even remember how it ends - and I just saw it. All I know is it was stupid. Video-game movies are notorious for their persistent failure, but BloodRayne takes it to an entirely new level. I highly doubt even the die-hard fans of the video game could defend it.

On the other hand, if you want to see a half-wasted Michael Madsen, eyes transfixed on the teleprompter with a glazed-over just-got-out-of-bed look on his face, drunkenly stumble around on a horse for 90 minutes, then be my guest, and by all means, see this movie.

Read more by Chris Bellamy


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