Kristanna Loken - Rayne
Michael Madsen - Vladimir
Matt Davis - Sebastian
Michelle Rodriguez - Katarin
Ben Kingsley - Lord Kagan
Will Sanderson - Domastir
Billy Zane - Prince Elrich
Meat Loaf Aday - Leonid
Udo Kier - Regal Monk
Genre - Horror/Action/Vampires/Video Games
Running Time - 95 Minutes
PLOT - In the 18th Century, Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a Dhamphir, born as both a human and a vampire. She's part of some traveling circus troop that showcases freaks, considering Rayne's DNA as a perfect sell for the circus. But this changes one night when one of the carnies attempts to rape Rayne, causing Rayne to defend herself by biting and sucking his blood. High on plasma, Rayne pretty much murders the rest of the circus and escapes.
Meanwhile, three vampire hunters (Michael Madsen, Matthew Davis, and Michelle Rodriguez) from the Brimstone Society are chasing after Rayne, seeking her help in overthrowing their main enemy, Lord Kagan (Ben Kingsley) - who happens to be the King of all vampires as well as Rayne's birth father. Wanting revenge on Kagan for murdering her mother when she was child, Rayne joins these hunters to collect certain relics that have been scattered across the world that would help in defeating Lord Kagan and ending his tyranny once and for all.
STORY - Man, what a cool film! So much great action, interesting drama, and cool blood effects! But enough about DAYBREAKERS. Let's talk about BLOODRAYNE.
WHAT THE FUCK!?
Seriously, I don't know why I watch these Uwe Boll directed films. I know going in that they're going to be bad, yet I still manage to be quite surprised when I'm proven right. While BLOODRAYNE isn't Boll's worst film, it's still a terrible movie that takes a decent video game franchise and makes it less interesting than it really ought to be.
I'll talk about Uwe Boll's role a bit later, but right now, let's discuss Guinevere Turner's really horrible screenplay. Now let me get the good out of the way: at least BLOODRAYNE has a linear narrative I can understand. It goes from point A to point B to point C without much confusion as to why the film goes where it needs to go. Other than that, just really bad in almost every way.
For one, I don't understand why Turner would change the setting for BLOODRAYNE. For those who have played the games or even know something about them, BloodRayne took place in the 1930s during the time of Nazi uprising. Rayne is recruited to stop this from happening, due to her abilities to walk in daylight while being a vicious vampire in combat. I know eventually the movie franchise would deal with Nazis in BLOODRAYNE: THE THIRD REICH, but to not set that plotline up in the beginning seems kind of silly. I don't mind medieval settings, but that isn't BLOODRAYNE. So why change things? This also results in changing Lord Kagan's character, as he's not associated with the Nazi party, but just a normal vampire lord who rules an ancient land. In a way, this takes something away from Kagan, as the whole Nazi thing would have pushed the evil factor over the edge. Instead, it's just another medieval piece involving vampires. Been there, done that.
Another major flaw in the script is that things just happen for the sake of happening. There's no development at all in this film for the plot or its characters, making BLOODRAYNE less dimensional than the video game it's based on. Rayne and the members of the Brimstone Society must hunt down relics that would give Rayne great power to destroy Lord Kagan, but this sub-plot doesn't do much with this information. In the games, these relics were used to summon a demon that would help aid Adolf Hitler. But here? I have no real idea what they're used for other than granting someone power. To be honest with you, this entire quest sub-plot could have been edited out and not much would have changed in the film besides a couple of moments involving certain characters that could have been rewritten in the pre-production phase. It just feels like a cliche rather than something of substance. In fact, BLOODRAYNE is one big cliche - the villain is some evil King or Queen who has done wrong to the hero, different kingdoms must battle for dominance as they hunt down for some relic that holds great power, and of course sword and sorcery due to its medieval setting. It wants to be more epic than it actually is, which makes BLOODRAYNE more laughable and silly than anything else.
More random sub-plots: Billy Zane's Prince Elrich character - umm...why was he in the film again? He's in the film for maybe two minutes and he was just...there. Meat Loaf's character Leonid added nothing but bad acting and directing to an already terrible film. His character didn't have a point either and the scene felt like it was added in at the last minute. Plus, why did a certain member of the Brimstone Society decide to turn on his/her teammates out of the blue? It was slightly built up for five seconds and didn't feel logical at all. In fact, a lot of BLOODRAYNE involves scenes where you wonder why they're even in the film to begin with. Nothing feels natural in this film, but rather forced because these things have to happen in order for the film to work.
The characters aren't developed at all, besides Rayne really. Rayne wasn't exactly three-dimensional either, but at least she had a backstory and a logical revenge mission I could kind of relate to. In a way, this also reflects well on Lord Kagen since his character is very much connected to Bloodrayne. But what about the other characters? I had no idea who these people were! You had a group in the Brimstone Society that could have really made the story more effective and interesting [they're pretty anti-vampire, yet need the help of a vampire to defeat their main villain], but nothing is done with them. Vladimir is the gruff leader with a bad haircut. Sebastian is the young warrior who likes Rayne. Katarin is the tough chick who doesn't like authority, even though she seemed fine with it at the beginning. Other than that, I don't know enough about these people to care about their well-being! Even the villains were vague! Not everyone knows the story of the video game. This is the perfect script that needed fleshing out, yet Turner doesn't do that.
And let's not even get into the dialogue. It's atrocious and I felt bad for these actors for having to have to speak out their lines. It just felt forced and stilted. I wasn't convinced by anything these characters were saying and I don't think the actors were either. It was just unnatural sounding. I can't believe this was the same person who co-wrote AMERICAN PSYCHO in 2000. What happened? Even if Boll and/or the producers stepped in and put their own ideas into the script, the screenplay shouldn't have been this bad.
DIRECTION - Uwe Boll is known as the modern day Ed Wood with claims that he's the worst working director today. While his films do tend to be below average, Boll has directed worse films than BLOODRAYNE. The editing is good until the fight sequences, where the film looks a bit awkward and kind of there. The pacing could have been quicker, but it doesn't feel too slow. Mathias Neumann, who is the cinematographer for the film, does do a good job in making the film look really nice, as well as displaying some stylish and interesting shots. But other than that, the direction is okay at best. The film should have had more tension, suspense, and a sense of epicness. But it doesn't have any of that. But I don't think it's Boll's worst film. Not at all.
EDGE FACTOR - Since BLOODRAYNE deals with vampires and swords, the film is pretty violent. We get the usually biting into necks, and swords slicing throats, thrusting through torsos and guts, and even one impaling an eye. We also get some head cutting and stuff with arrows. There's definitely enough blood here.
As for sex, we get some boobs during Leonid's weird orgy. We also get to see Kristanna Loken's breasts during her sex scene with Matthew Davis. Those puppies sure woke me up when they made an appearance. Definitely worthy of an R rating.
ACTING - The acting is pretty poor in BLOODRAYNE. Kristanna Loken isn't great, but she tries to give a decent performance as Rayne. She definitely wanted to make the character work, but the script really wouldn't let her. I thought she was one of the better actors though. Michael Madsen looked embarrassed to be in the film. He probably had to pay some bills and did the film to make ends meet. Matthew Davis was just bland as hell. He's done better work than this. Michelle Rodriguez snarled as usual. Her attempt at a Medieval accent was interesting to hear. Ben Kingsley looked like he was having fun as Lord Kagen. Or maybe he saw his career flash before his eyes, I dunno. Billy Zane did well with his short appearance, as well as Udo Kier. Meat Loaf was just plain bad though. Talk about hamming it up! The film has an interesting cast, but doesn't give them much material to work with unfortunately.
THE FINAL HOWL
BLOODRAYNE is definitely WTF? Vault worthy, yet I've seen a lot worse than this one. The film is indeed bad and not worth wasting 95 minutes of your life over, but at least the direction is okay, the narrative is linear [even though everything else about it sucks], and Kristanna Loken tries her best with what she's given. I would seriously watch this film over ALONE IN THE DARK and IN THE NAME OF THE KING: A DUNGEON SIEGE TALE. So that's a positive in itself, I guess. Off to the Vault with you, BLOODRAYNE, but I'm not inviting you in to kiss my ass. I like my cheeks fang free, thank you!
1 Howl Outta 4