Bloodrayne (Review)


Kristanna Loken as Rayne
Michelle Rodriguez as Katarin
Ben Kingsley as Kagan
Michael Madsen as Vladimir
Matt Davis as Sebastian
Billy Zane as Elrich
Meat Loaf as Leonid
Directed by Uwe Boll

Uwe Boll is back! Dr. Boll returns with yet another lame video game to lamer movie adaptation! Miles away from House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark, Bloodrayne shows us how Dr. Boll has grown as a filmmaker. Like an inoperable brain tumor. Bloodrayne reaches new heights of lowness. That may not make sense, but it makes more sense than the movie. Bloodrayne the game is about a half-vampire girl named Rayne who kills Nazis, and the famous for losing money sequel involve her fighting her father Kagan in the year 2000 or so. Rayne is also pale white, and was in Playboy for some God forsaken reason. The German Uwe Boll apparently was not too keen on having Rayne kill a bunch of Germans, even though they were zombies, so he just rewrote everything and made it take place in the 1700s in Romania. Dr. Boll is to cinema what the desert is to a thirsty mouth. Defying all logic, Dr. Boll managed to score a plethora of big named stars, and will have even bigger names in his future projects. A juggernaut of suck, watch out you don’t get ran down.

The three heroes ride into town. Michael Madsen is Vladimir, who is the drunk, out of shape leader of the secret society known as the Brimstone Society. He looks ragged, mostly because Michael Madsen was constantly drunk on set and is always out of shape. His two accomplices are Michelle Rodriguez (aka MR)as Katarin, who fits in to the medieval world as well as a tap-dancing robot would; and Matt Davis as Sebastian, the lame mullet-headed hero. In a pub, Madsen, Sebastian, and MR get information about a circus freak, who is our heroine, Bloodrayne. Sebastian is next to a guy ordering a drink, and sees he has no reflection, so he stabs him through heart, killing him. Besides bartender saying something about “…never leave a mess” no one seems to really notice he killed a vampire and it dissolved before their eyes. The slaying of people must be so commonplace here that no one even looks up from their scrolls of Ye Lorde of the Ringths or whatever they were doing. Madsen seems to be asleep for this film, giving his lines in a single emotional range: bored. That’s when he’s not drunk, or just stupid. MR is just as bad, except her delivery comes off as annoyance for the entire film. Not annoyance at her comrades, but annoyance that she has to be speaking at all. I guess this is a long way from getting arrested for drunk driving. Matt Davis seems like he would have put off a decent performance had he had a halfway decent director. Or even a 1% decent director. A 0.00001% decent director.

Jump to the carnival, where the Ringmaster is dressed like Captain Morgan (the rum guy). He sure has a little captain in him. Bloodrayne (or Rayne, as everyone calls her) is brought out to a packed tent by chains. Her arm is shoved in a barrel of water, burning the arm, and her other arm is cut with a knife. Yes, plain water just burned this vampire girl. This movie runs on the premise that just any kind of water will kill most vampires, yet it will only use holy water for the end battle. The plain water danger means that the vampire plague could be wiped out by a good rainstorm. Or maybe vampires chase a guy, and he turns around and spits on them. Well, the water in the spit should burn them something fierce. Morning dew in the forest, or even the fog should cause every vampire to drop dead. Heck, blood is pretty wet, what with it being mostly water. Basically, this makes no sense at all, and could easily have been changed to “holy water,” but to no avail. Back to the movie, after the burning and cutting or Rayne, a sheep is then killed (by slicing it’s neck in front of the audience full of children) and it’s blood drained into a cup, which Rayne hungers after. She gets a taste, which causes her wounds to heal. She’s then dragged back to her cage and locked tight. Soon after, a friend tells her about her plan to escape, which involves her sailor uncle calling for her someday to take her to paradise. That’s not a plan, that’s a daydream, but whatever. She gives Rayne a crucifix for luck, which does nothing bad to Rayne, like it should to real vampires. I’d complain more, but you find out later she’s only half-vampire, thus immune.

Ben Kinsley is the vampire king/dictator/president/Oscar winner who is seeking to rule the world, like all video game villains. He has the fun hobby of staring off into space for long instances, as the camera lingers. Just staring, nothing else. He’s also usually wearing a ridiculous wig, a hairpiece so bad a blind Joe Dirt wouldn’t wear it. His main Lt. is a character with a tri-mohawk, set up as a short mohawk on top and two additional stripes at 45 degree angles. He looks like Mr. T, if Mr. T was a scrawny white guy with no jewels and some sort of vision problem that makes him see triple (why else would he have the three mohawks? Maybe he’s a member of the Indian Tribe, and is preparing for battle with the palefaces.) Also, at some point, we meet Michelle Rodriguez’s father, who is writing a letter to his daughter. The letter is used to explain a few things about the film, instead of narration or some lamer device. I guess Uwe learned a few things since Alone in the Dark, namely no five minute long opening scrawls with narration as well. MR’s father is one of the few good actors in the film, Billy Zane. It also looks like he has skin cancer on his neck as the camera zooms in to show two large splotches there. We find out later the scars are because he’s a vampire, yet it’s so badly introduced I though he was just sick or something, that’s why he wasn’t leaving his house.

Rayne is in the forest, bloody, but not her blood. Flashbacks explain how she escaped. The flashback is presented in rapid-fire jump cuts, with grey fading and smearing effects. Basically, it looks like a headache in screen-form. And it gives you a headache, in reality form. Rayne’s trainer was drunk and looking for a little vampire-loving, so climbs into her cage. He gets chomped, and she busts out, chomping or chopping anyone in her way. She takes down Captain Morgan and some other random circus guys. Not only does the Ringmaster have a little Captain in him, he has a lot of major trauma wounds in him!

Madsen and the other two arrive to the carnival the next morning, finding dead bodies lying all over the center of the wagons and carnival folk just standing around, oblivious to the dead bodies. Madsen says “We have work to do” and they start lopping heads off the bodies. Now, we know that they are vampire hunters and are doing this so the dead don’t become vampires. However, no one at the carnival knows who these guys are, or why they are mutilating corpses, and none of them care enough to even ask them what is going on. They just watch and wander around. Michelle Rodriguez finds the “master planner” friend of Rayne, lying on the ground with two blood marks on her neck. More flashbacks show Rayne was in bloodlust mode and bit her friend before seeing who she was. Her friend gives her two swords before passing out, and Rayne leaves her. Some friend, Rayne. The heroes then kill the friend, because she’s going to be a vampire. I’m guessing this was supposed to be emotional or something, but it just comes off painful. The pain doesn’t stop. In fact, it’s just beginning!

Rayne stops two vampires who are attacking a caravan. She kills them and drinks their blood, saving a woman and her daughter (but not their husband/dad/mysterious male companion.) This is the beginning of what I’m guessing is Rayne finding her place in the world, killing random vampires. This trend will continue, as Rayne enters a city, where half the people she looks at seem to be vampires who distort their faces when they see her. Rayne lures one away, whom she kills, in the middle of a busy street, and no one cares. The only people who even bother to look are two thieves who quickly run up and take the coin purse from the dead body. The dead vampire is pale and the body distorted, looking extremely diseased. Why anyone would even go anywhere near here is a mystery not to be solved at this time, or ever. Another witness to the killing is a “gypsy” fortune teller, who pulls Rayne aside and begins to read her fortune via tarot cards. This also serves as an explanation point where we find out that Rayne is a dhampir, which is the offspring of a human and a vampire. Dhampir? Damn pears. Damp here. Damper. I would have preferred that she was known as an “umpire” because it would be hilarious on purpose. Rayne’s father just happens to be Ben Kingsley, aka Kagan, who is also explained as trying to take over the world. Rayne suddenly remembers that Ben Kingsley raped and murdered her mother in front of her as a kid. We get a flashback (another flashback???) where we see Rayne being hid as Kingsley comes and kills her mom. He doesn’t rape her, or even attempt to rape her, but Rayne will say he did about five more times before the end of the film. The movie tries to say that the mother was raped, thus producing the kid, Rayne, but that would contradict her seeing the rape in front of her eyes. The Tarot tells Rayne to get a special eye, which will give her an audience with Ben Kingsley, and then she can kill him as revenge. This whole exchange is heard by one of the street vampires from earlier, who is pretty darn fugly (that’s ugly with an extra “F.”)

Mere milliseconds later, tri-mohawk is informing Ben of what just happened. Ben realizes his daughter is still alive, and sends tri-mohawk to go get her, along with an army of men. Real men, not vampires. Supposedly, if these men serve well, they will be made vampires. I’m guessing vampires in the 1600’s will keep their promises as much as our politicians do today. After numerous long sweeping shots of people riding in random directions, including Madsen and Sebastian, Tri-mohawk and his men, and a cloaked figure, we get to our next plot point. First, we must discuss those horse scenes. They are all shot via aircraft as riders ride across the best natural parks in Romania. Uwe is cribbing from Lord of the Rings here, giving us shots from Uncle’s Cousin’s Aunt’s Co-worker’s AIM Buddy of the Rings. It’s also probably a nice preview of what’s in store in the upcoming Dungeon Siege movie, that and the gallons of suck oozing all over the film.

The cloaked rider turns out to be Rayne, who ends up at a monastary seeking food. She is let in and fed, because they did that stuff back in those days. Now, she’s be arrested as a vagrant, fined for riding a horse in a city, and probably meet some other “vampires” hanging out at Denny’s at 2 am after their role playing game. This is where the magic eye is, though we aren’t told any of this, we just jump into her trying to retrieve it. In doing so, it’s obvious that Uwe Boll played Resident Evil 4, as the next scenes are right out of it. Rayne sneaks off into the basement of the monetary, to find an over-inflated monster asleep with a large cross hanging around his neck. This cross just happens to fit in the cross-shaped hole in the wall opposite, so Rayne has to get said cross. Getting the cross causes the monster/ogre/thing to wake up and begin swinging a club at Rayne. Rayne does a series of ridiculous flips to dodge the swinging club, when she could have just casually stepped aside. The monster manages to smash numerous brick support pillars, but grows frustrated with his club, and grabs a different one, with many nails sticking out of it. This fares him no better, and Rayne just smashes his oversized head. Grabbing the cross, she fits it in the hole, which opens the secret door automatically. As all monasteries have huge Ogres living in their basements, this isn’t out of the ordinary. But next….

The secret room the now dead ogre was guarding is full of spinning blades that fly by super fast, in what looks like a scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade ramped up a notch. Oddly enough, the blades stop once she reaches the other side of the room, never to move again. This is because if they kept going we’d never be able to do the next part of the sequence, which is Rayne grabbing the box with the eye in it, causing a torrent of water to start flowing out. As mentioned earlier, plain old water will kill her, so she jumps and hangs from one of her swords stabbed into the ceiling. the box with the eye opens, which causes her to grab for the eye. Looking at the eye does something that was confusing for a few seconds, as one of her eyes changes color and the magic eye disappears. I’ll tell you now that it merged with her, but when I watched the scene, it looked like the eye vanished and they just forgot about the eye after that. Rayne will now have one blue eye and one green eye for the rest of the film, making her look like those cats with two-colored eyes. Rayne ends up falling off her swords, but the plain water doesn’t affect her at all. The head priest and another priest barge in, and on asks her if she works for Kagan, but does it all casual, like he’s not concerned if she is or not. They explain she’s absorbed the eye, and don’t seem concerned that she killed their ogre or robbed them.

Tri-mohawk and his army attack the monastery, causing rapid-cutting style action sequences as the monks all turn out to be masters of fighting. These aren’t Shaolin Monks, they shouldn’t be experts in combat. One monk even simultaneously tackles a rider and his horse. Madsen, Sebastian, and MR arrive at some point, and quickly join the fray and rapid-fire jumpcuts. Bloodrayne‘s fight jumpcuts are so fast, kids with ADD are like “slow it down, man!” Madsen also reveals he has a wrist crossbow, which fires large arrows with accuracy. It also reloads instantly, without him having to do anything, as it fires rapidly. As you should be able to tell from my sarcasm or your common sense, this is ridiculous. Rayne is also in the fight, slicing up people left and right. Eventually, all the monks and all the raiders are dead, except for Tri-mohawk, who just walks up to Rayne and knocks her out in one punch, running off with her. Madsen realizes she was helping them, so he and Sebastian go after her, while MR complains, then goes to tell the Brimstone Society, which is the organization they all belong to that hunts vampires. It’s a secret club, so they all wear necklaces with the organization’s insignia largely stamped on it.

Tri-mohawk rides and Madsen and Sebastian chase after during some more LOTR riding flybys. Daylight is upon them, and tri-mohawk hides in a nearby building, which just happens to be a haven run by vampire Meat Loaf. Meat Loaf the singer. He has some vampire name like Leonid or something, but it’s Meat Loaf. Sadly, Meat Loaf does not smash through the wall of the building while riding a motorcycle and singing. Meat Loaf does sleep on a bed filled with many Romanian prostitutes. Seriously. Uwe Boll said they were cheaper than hiring extras where were naked. Meat Loaf sees Rayne, and decides he’s going to make her Romanian Whore #14. Meat Loaf is also overacting to the extreme, acting like he’s the master of effeminatity or something, it’s fun to see him overact. Tri-mohawk tries to warn him off, but is carried away by guards. During all this, Madsen and Sebastian have entered the building, and are wandering around in the basement, which is full of people chained to the wall, who are cut open for blood refreshments, and lots of people having some sort of dead/undead/living S&M orgy of the dammed. No one pays any attention to the two extra guys who just wandered in, even when Madsen kills a vampire down there. No one in this movie seems to care when people next to them are killed. It’s like every character’s brain has been replaced with one from a dodo. Madsen and Sebastian make it upstairs in time to stop the rape, and fight Meat Loaf. By this time, the Loaf has turned into a monster, looking amazingly like the monster he played in the video for “I Would Do Anything For Love.” (But he won’t do that!) Big fight, but Loafy ends up getting wacked, as Rayne just lies there and lets Madsen and Sebastian fight her battles. This isn’t BloodMadsen, let’s kick it into gear, woman! They take her with them to the secret lair of the Brimstone Society. During the big fight scene, a few random vampires were running around, and were getting killed by just being stabbed or their necks cut, instead of the traditional means. If vampires are killed so easily, then why do they bother to try to stab through the heart?

The secret lair is in the middle of a lake shrouded in fog. That way, Rayne can be running around in the daytime (and so can hordes of invading vampires!) Also, being stranded on an island means they run out of supplies all the time, so they become vulnerable. I guess you don’t have to think ahead to run secret societies. Rayne gets trained in swordfighting, while MR just stares at her and doesn’t do any practicing. At some point, Rayne breaks on of her special swords, but Madsen says he knows someone who can fix it. Hey, you think this is unnecessary details? Well, it’s in the movie, and just as unnecessary there as well, the sword later gets fixed and nothing else is said about it. Also, the swords were left behind at the monastery, so Madsen or Sebastian must have picked them up before they chased after.

A highlight of the training scenes is the incredibly awkward sex scene. Rayne just looks at Sebastian while in the dungeon, then slams him against the bars, rips off her clothes, and rides him like a cowboy. One of her hands is clasped around the bars of the door, and with each thrust it bangs shut. “clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, CLANG!” Disturbingly hilarious. Boll is no stranger to awkward sex scenes, Tara Reid and Christian Slater’s sex scene in Alone in the Dark is a masterful stroke of disturbing out-of-placeness. I hope he continues to create sex scenes that are increasingly uncomfortable, it could be a new running gag. MR sends a letter to her father Billy Zane, complaining about everything. Next, Tri-mohawk is throwing at Billy Zane the head of the messenger, and next the letter. The father requests he “Stop throwing things at me.” in a hilarious tone, then says he will be trying to usurp Kagan in a bit.

Tri-mohawk leads the human army to invade the secret stronghold of the Brimstone Society while Madsen, Sebastian, and Rayne are out on the mainland getting supplies. Everyone is killed except for one guy who manages to boat ashore, then die after telling the trio that MR betrayed the location of the fortress. Rayne heads to the island the next day, and finds MR and a few extra survivors of the order beneath the compound in hidden caves. There, MR is diving in a pool, looking for the magic vampire heart that will give powers (either immunity to sunlight or the cross) o vampires that her grandfather put in the pool himself. She dives again, and now Rayne is underwater as well. Rayne and MR fight beneath the water, MR stabs Rayne, but Rayne catches up to her and cracks her neck, getting the box with the heart. What happened to the other guys who were around? They have vanished, much like the sanity of most of the audience that has stuck around to this point. Also, at some point Kagan got a hold of the third magic vampire item, the magic rib. They never specifically say which piece does what, but by process of elimination, Rayne is already immune to the cross, so there is no reason to get that one, so it must be the rib that Kagan got, and the heart gives immunity to sunlight.

Rayne, instead of doing something heroic, goes to see her daddy with the box with the heart. She was told that having the heart would grant her an audience (actually, it was the eye, but a piece of a dead vampire lord is a piece of a dead vampire lord), but she’s lead right to the dungeon. Kagan decides he’s going to get the eye from her, by removing it in a ceremony. But instead of checking inside the box that has the heart, or doing anything about Rayne such as starting the ceremony, Kagan just stares off into space. It’s like Ben Kingsley was channeling Terri Schiavo. Now Michael Madsen and Sebastian have the brilliant plan of charging Kagan’s castle’s front gate by themselves. They run up on their horses, throw some explosives at the gate, then waste time getting off their horses to charge inside. They get captured in about three seconds flat. Why aren’t they killed? Because they have to be put in the same dungeon as Rayne for some reason. The bad guys’ logic at this point would destroy Mudd’s Androids. It’s like they spent too much “special time” with the real Romanian whores and got syphilis all up in their brains, turning them to Swiss cheese. Maybe all the villains are aping Terri Schiavo.

Hey, now that everyone is together in jail (MM and Sebastian in one cage, Rayne in the other) they can have their heartfelt speeches about how they are still going to fight, even though they are facing certain doom. Madsen’s speech is given like he’s bored and drunk, while Rayne gives a monotone recital about how she will never stop fighting, even though she’s going to her death. There is more emotion given from a Speak ‘N Spell. The score suddenly kicks it up a notch, trying desperately to make up for the lack of emotion on-screen. In fact, the score has been desperately trying to make up for the lack of emotion the entire film. The score is like a failure of a magician, trying desperately to distract you with flashes and smoke, yet you easily see the strings, springs, and trick mirrors. It does remind me of Albert Glasser scores, which peppered 1950’s and 1960’s sci-fi films, with it’s large swelling bursts of music at random times. There was no escape from an Albert Glasser score, and you can’t escape Bloodrayne‘s, either.

Finally, they take Rayne away to get her eye chopped out. Rayne, despite just delivering a speech seconds before about how she’s going to fight until the very end, just lets them take her with no struggle. She’s brought before Kagan tied up, who puts her on an alter. He tells her that if she survives the ceremony, which is unlikely, she can live with him. Are casualties that high on eye removal operations? Kagan still hasn’t looked in the box she brought him, by the way. He does remove most of the soldiers from the hall, so only his closer guards are there. Rayne attempts to taunt him by saying “if you’re so powerful, why do you have all these guards and why am I tied up?” but it doesn’t work, showing Kagan isn’t completely stupid. His guards, on the other hand….ugh! The most idiotic of cheesy prison escape ruses: the missing prisoner. Starting with Michael Madson giving the most unconvincing reading of “Guard, my cellmate has disappeared, I don’t know where he went!” to the standard jumping down of the missing prisoner onto the guard, subduing them. To tell you how clichéd this is, I saw it on a Lifetime Original Movie the next day, where a 16 year old kidnapped on the internet by evil male Ted McGinley used it on him to try to escape. It works there like it works here, and soon MM and Sebastian are heading to where Kagan is performing the eye removal ceremony. (FYI, that Lifetime movie was Every Mother’s Worst Fear.)

Kagan was taking his sweet time getting ready to pop out Rayne’s eye, so he hasn’t even started when MM and Sebastian bust in with swords, including Rayne’s. In fact, Kagan finally got around to looking into the box that supposedly had the vampire heart in it, to find out it was empty and Rayne used it as well. So now it’s final battle time, like always, and Kagan still has a few guards who stuck around who turn into vampires themselves, all of which are eventually killed in un-vampire killing methods like slashed throats and stomachs. MM gets wounded himself, but can still fire a few wrist shots from his wrist-crossbow which has mysteriously reappeared for a few seconds. Sebastian is also hurt, so now only Rayne and Kagan are left because that’s the way these things always work. Because we can’t have the bad guy win ever, even in movies where he clearly deserves it, Kagan is killed. He’s killed when Sebastian tosses Rayne a bottle of holy water, then Sebastian shoots it with a bow and arrow he suddenly has specifically for this final shot. The holy water explodes, all over Kagan and Rayne, yet Rayne is unharmed, because she has the magic eye, which now works on holy water instead of just water. So thanks to that change in the script, the battle is won! Except MM has died, and Sebastian is going to die as well. He refuses to let Rayne make him a vampire, so he dies as well. Rayne then takes a page from her father, and goes to sit in his thrown, staring straight ahead at nothing, as the camera zooms in and fades out.

What the Scuzzle-butt? This film was beyond the pale in horrible film entertainment. The four other people in the theater with me on opening night would agree, were we not to busy groaning at the “funny” scenes, laughing at the serious scenes, and counting the tiles on the ceiling or whatever we could do as defense. Dr. Boll will be back soon, with In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (possibly split into two movies), Far Cry, Postal, and Fear Effect. More could be on the way. He’s on track to make more bad movies than Sci-Fi Channel, and they won’t let him get away with that! War will be declared, battle lines will be drawn, and us, the viewers, will be the casualties.

Rated 1/10 (Rated One Real Romanian Prostitute!)

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