As one of the worst directors currently working, German half-wit Uwe Boll is under a lot of pressure. Sure, “House of the Dead” was a harmlessly stupid zombiefest, and yeah, “Alone in the Dark” was an even stupider, less harmless rehash of creature/sci-fi cliches. But can “BloodRayne,” his latest, continue to lower the bar? Can he continue to make each movie worse than the last one, or will he eventually bottom out?
I am pleased to announce that “BloodRayne” (which, like the other two, was based on a video game) is, in fact, worse than “Alone in the Dark.” It’s dumb, incoherent, and demonstrates Boll’s remarkable knack for getting even good actors to give bad performances.
The Internet Movie Database says the film is set in the 1700s in Romania, but neither of those details is apparent in the film. It could be medieval times, but it could also be a timeless “Lord of the Rings” kind of fantasy land. And Romania? Well, OK. Not sure why the accents range from American to British, then, including a hilarious one from noted non-Brit Michelle Rodriguez, but whatever you say, movie.
Anyway, wherever it is, and whenever it is, it’s about a carnival freak named Rayne (Kristann Loken) who is half-vampire, half-human, or “dhampir,” as such people are known. Her father, Kagan (Ben Kingsley), has long, girly hair and looks like Dame Maggie Smith and is also the most powerful vampire in all the land. I guess he’d have to be, to get away with having long, girly hair and looking like Dame Maggie Smith. Since Rayne was the product of rape, and since Kagan eventually killed Rayne’s mother, she is not keen on the old man and wants to destroy him. In fact, she wants all vampires dead, despite being half of one herself.
Also in the vampire-destroying business is a society, or maybe it’s more like a club, called Brimstone. A trio of their representatives — rugged Vladimir (Michael Madsen), pretty-boy Sebastian (Matt Davis) and not-English Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez) — meets up with Rayne, and after some initial skepticism on both sides, the four join forces to take down Kagan, and also to allow Rayne and Sebastian to have a comically inept sex scene.
Kagan is looking for three artifacts left over from some old vampire from centuries ago, and if he gets them, he’ll be super-magical-powerful or something. So Rayne and her posse are trying to find the artifacts first, even as Kagan’s armies are pursuing them, and so forth.
Much of the film’s unintentional humor comes from the fact that every lame line in Guinevere Turner’s screenplay is spoken with either complete apathy (as with Michael Madsen) or over-the-top melodrama (e.g., Ben Kingsley). Only Billy Zane, as Katarin’s father, tries to breathe life into his dialogue — and he’s only in the film for a couple scenes and serves no purpose anyway.
It goes without saying that the movie is neither exciting nor suspenseful (nor even interesting), but I think the chief flaw is that we feel nothing for any of the characters. They’re one-dimensional movie buffoons, not people, and their problems and crises — so confusingly conveyed by the ramshackle film — bounce off a viewer’s mind like ping pong balls. It never occurs to you to think of the film as anything other than a silly swords-and-castles tale, and a particularly ineffective one at that.
F (1 hr., 36 min.; )