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Friday January 6, 2006
Movie Review: BloodRayne
Okay, let's start with my instructions to you: no matter how enticing I may make this film sound, do NOT spend money on it. Don't see it in the theater, and don't rent it. Buying the DVD would be a crime against humanity. For that matter, don't bother seeing it for FREE, either. Spending your TIME on this film is a crime against your employer, your family, and the Baby New Year. You would be better off using an hour and thirty-four minutes eating junk food and watching Weather Channel repeats you've accidentally TIVO'd.
I'm serious. If I find out that you went and saw this film after I told you not to, I'll phone your friends up and tell them to go to your house and pour ants in your bed. And when you wake up screaming, covered in ants, you'll think "at least I'm not still watching BloodRayne."
Now, on to the review... we'll start with the music. There are three credited composers here, and I'm not sure which one I should be blaming for the horrible soundtrack. Maybe somebody in post-production tripped over the tape, and introduced all the wobbly, pitch-drifting bits. Or maybe the REAL soundtrack got destroyed in a fire, and they had to settle for the sound left on bits of tape on the cutting room floor. Seriously, it's that bad, and that's just the sound quality. The composition itself was criminal – the music swelled when nothing was happening, droned tediously during the action, and led me to wonder whether the composers actually bothered to watch the movie. (I hope they didn't. The fewer casualties this film has, the better.)
The cast was an amazing example of "gap" between the potential and the actual. Academy Award Winner Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Billy Zane, KristannaLoken, and Meat Loaf Aday are all capable actors. The potential for a GOOD film was there. Sadly, every last one of them phoned their parts in. Madsen in particular appears to have been brain damaged in the recent past – either that or he's trying out a new acting technique from the Bill Shatner School of Reading Fortune Cookies. I'd be inclined to blame it on the writing, or maybe on the directing, except that Madsen's a pro and should know better.
Poor Ben Kingsley. When his character finally dies, lying on the ground and shriveling as staked vampires are wont to do, I couldn't help but wonder if the scene wasn't meant as a metaphor for Ben's acting career. Maybe it's what's going to happen to Ben's agent for getting him into this stinker. For most of the film Ben was required to sit in a chair, deliver wooden lines, and brood stoicly. For his fight scene he looked like he was waiting tables.
The cinematography... Mathias and Michael Neumann (siblings, I assume) appear to have twigged to the "epileptic fit" setting on their steadi-cam. Calling them cinematographers does a disservice to everyone who ever submitted something to America's Funniest Home Videos and then lost. Matthias has worked with producer/director Uwe Boll on a number of other projects. I can't imagine that all of them are this bad. Perhaps bringing his brother in on this project was where he went wrong.
Allow me to pause here for a moment. Some folks flame people who criticize movies by saying "you couldn't do better." It's true. I probably couldn't do better. But I know the names of a dozen people who COULD have done better – better editing, better camera work, better scoring, better writing (okay, I could do that myself) and yes, better acting. This movie appears to have been made by a group of people who are individually among the worst their fields have to offer, and who went on to inspire each other to new lows.
With that out of the way...
Usually films like this have at least SOMETHING to offer in terms of special effects. BloodRayne the Video Game was hailed as the bloodiest game ever, and the film tries to pay homage to that. You know how after you've been playing a violent game for a while you can sometimes see the same pattern of blood-spatter each time you messily dispatch an enemy? Well, the film got THAT bit right. It would appear that they carefully rigged the same exact blood-spewing pump for each and every gore-shot, taking especial care to make sure that each splash looked just like the last one.
The writing... a good film has a certain flow to it. Some are burbling brooks, others mighty rivers. Some stagnate. BloodRayne was a dry riverbed, and the cast was required to “flow” a big rock down it. This involved repeatedly picking up said rock, moving it to the next spot, and then hurrying out of the picture. Poorly written video-games will flow better from one plot-point to another than this film did. Sure, the film is based on a video game, but it's supposed to be a MOVIE.
Regarding unnecessary nudity... frankly, if you're going to make a film this bad, you almost have to put lots of skin in it in order to get somebody to see it. It's not unnecessary if it's there to make money, right? Blech. With the right soundtrack, this film could have been cut to 15 minutes and turned into low-grade fetish porn.
I know how they got Meat Loaf Aday into the movie. They told him "don't bother reading the script... we're going to have you lie down on a bed with four Romanian prostitutes, and guess what! We'll use REAL prostitutes." What red-blooded, amoral, out-of-work actor could turn down an offer like that? (And yes, according to Uwe Boll, they hired prostitutes instead of actresses for Meat Loaf's scene. Apparently they're cheaper. I'm sure actresses worldwide are taking heart at THAT piece [ahem] of trivia.)
If I've inadvertently made the film sound enticing, I assure you it was an accident. If you find nudity enticing, please don't be tricked. This film doesn't do that. It takes whatever beauty there is to be found in the human form and, with the help of blood-splatter, bad dialog, and the Amazing Epilepsy-Cam, leaves you feeling empty. Oh, and dirty, and impoverished by far more than the time and money you spent on the film.
I'm not trying to tear this movie a new anal orifice. I assure you, the film already has SEVERAL, and it defecates simultaneously through all of them. You don't want to get any of this on you.
The best possible thing now would be for BloodRayne to fail so profoundly and so expensively that Uwe Boll (who, as executive producer, is the only person on the planet stupid enough to hire himself to direct) is forced out of the film business before he can contaminate anybody else's intellectual property, whether as producer, director, or the 3rd-unit gaffer's poo-flinging donut-monkey.