Friday, October 27, 2006

Movie Review: Bloodrayne

Being a fan of vampire movies in general, the first glimpse I caught of Bloodrayne came through its teaser trailer. While it definitely wasn't going to be Oscar-worthy, the teaser still caught my interest. At the time, I had not seen an Uwe Boll movie nor heard reviews of any. In fact, I had no idea who he was. Starring Kristanna Loken from Terminator 3 alongside Michael Madsen, Ben Kingsley, Billy Zane, and Udo Kier, it came as a surprise to see all of the negative press.

For quite some time, Bloodrayne has been hanging out at the bottom of my Netflix queue. After a while, it seemed a good idea to drop it, but Dave at Filmrot had to write a review about how funny he though the movie was (unintentionally). So, I decided to join the game by watching a Boll movie.

My first Boll movie got off to a smashing start. The silly thing wouldn't even play in my Myth TV system. For some reason, the DVD drive couldn't read the disc. I should have taken that as a sign and sent the movie right back to Netflix. But, no...I just had to pull out the laptop and give it a whirl. To my horror, it played.

Now, let's be clear right up front. This movie is bad. Unlike Dave, I don't think this movie is bad in a funny's bad in a sad, pathetic way. That's because all, or most, of the actors took it seriously. If they thought they were making something like Evil Dead, this might be a different review.

Anyway, how about some positives before we dive into the negatives? The locations and, to a lesser extent, the sets looked very good on screen. While I didn't spend a lot of time reviewing them in detail, they definitely did the best acting in this movie. I'm sure the Romanian countryside is thankful it didn't have any dialog.
Though I don't know the source, the background music always seemed reasonably appropriate for the action on screen. There were also a few actors in the movie attempting to do some good work. Loken tried but failed. Rodriguez and Zen pulled off the only non-cringeworthy performances albeit with one exception, Rodriguez horrible "keep your friends close..." line.

Did it seem like I was stretching for positives? Well...I was. Let's move on.

Michael Madsen, unpredictable as ever, looked like he knew Bloodrayne was in the toilet at the outset. He delivered his lines so poorly as to imply a contempt for the material. But how can you know for sure with him? Was he trying in Species? Some of the same stilted dialog showed up there. In Kill Bill 2, he was amazing, but he fell back to kindergarten reading style again in Sin City.

Madsen probably spilled the beans to Kingsley before filmming because the guy just looked miserable the whole time. Instead of a powerful Vampire villain, we have a despondent, bored, old guy sitting on a throne. You can see Kingsley thinking "what the hell have I done" as he recites lines Terminator-style (fitting, given his co-star) for the camera.

Beyond the performances and dialog in general, you have some really goofy special effects, terrible editing, and a difficult to follow story. Blood sprays all over the place during every fight scene, and limbs are hacked off in a way reminscent of a famous Monty Python skit. Flashbacks disturbed the flow of what story there was by confusing you as to whether you were watching the past or the future. Several times, characters seemed to move too slowly, especially Loken. It makes one think Boll was playing with the film speed to get the fights to look right and just didn't spend enough time on it. And the story, good grief. I seriously have no idea why Kagan needed to kill Bloodrayne. And at the end, the violence montage...who in their right mind told Boll that was a good idea?

Anyway, that's enough for Bloodrayne. If you want to have a good laugh, remember that you may need to put some effort into it.



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