Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Bloodrayne is an Uwe Boll film (and quite an old one at that, given he’s made about four or five others since its original 2005 release date). Uwe Boll is the most hated director on the Internet, if not the planet. Whilst I wouldn’t call myself a fan as such, I’m happy to accept each of his films on its own merit rather than blindly bash him. I hated House of the Dead, but then I loved Postal and Seed. I think there’s some talent in there somewhere amongst the madness and, surprisingly, some of it has chance to shine in Bloodrayne which, at long last, has been given a UK DVD release.
A word of warning first, however. To properly enjoy this film, you must switch your brain off. In fact, switch it off, take the batteries out, unplug it from the wall and don’t stand too close to anything with an electrical charge.
Bloodrayne is a properly lavish, big-budget costume horror, allegedly set in 18th century Romania, although any historical or geographical accuracy is ignored with gleeful abandon; indeed, I learnt of its setting from reading the box cover. The story centres on Rayne (Kristanna Loken), a half-human/half-vampire girl who seeks vengeance upon her evil undead father (Ben Kingsley, who here resembles the Pilsbury dough boy playing a kung-fu Marquis de Sade). He, meanwhile, is after some kind of magical talisman (aren’t they always?) and it culminates in one big ol’ swordfight.
Somehow, Boll got a mega-budget for this nonsense. The screenplay is written by the awesome Guinevere Turner (a reputable Hollywood screenwriter whom old school perverts may recall fondly as Tanya Cheex from the House of Thwax!), although this doesn’t stop it from being riddled with ludicrous, anachronistic trumpery. The cast is full of ‘name’ actors (Michelle Rodriguez, Billy Zane, Udo Kier; even Meat Loaf pops up to grope Romanian prostitutes and get his ear bitten off!) but they seem to deliver their lines as though deeply confused and often with incomprehensible accents that sound like Cockney market sellers with speech impediments (a symptom of the faux-period dialogue perhaps?).
In spite of all this, the film somehow managed to entertain my simple puerile side and I found it really hard to dislike. It’s fast-paced, full of nudity and cartoon gore by the bucketload, and it’s completely without shame. It just zips along like one big, colourful whirlwind of lunacy and whilst, yes, it’s just Z-Grade exploitation on a dangerously high budget, one can’t fault them for trying. ALL the gore is replayed at the end in slo-mo for no apparent reason other than to re-emphasise its grossness. As if this wasn’t enough, they give goofy Boll stalwart Will Sanderson a mohawk, a horse and his own private army! You’ll rarely see a film this mind-bogglingly dumb that looks so good and plays so well.
Sadly, the extras on the DVD let it down. They’re not as bad as the ones on the R1 release of Bloodrayne 2 (the worst I’ve EVER seen) but certainly give them a run for their leu. Aside from the director’s commentary, we get a ridiculous featurette about the CGI in the film that is simply all the CGI scenes in the movie played on repeat and silently. Yes, they’ve muted all the sound but not put a commentary over the top so even at seven minutes, it’s monotony incarnate. Especially when they play the ENTIRE opening credits sequence (it’s CGI, you see) in ominous silence. Ugh.
Slightly more amusing is the 50 minute “Dinner With Uwe Boll” in which two drunks take Uwe for a Thai takeaway and some wine (they don’t even clear away the takeaway boxes). Some awkward conversation ensues while they all try and fail to juggle eating and talking, but by the time everyone’s suitably intoxicated, it builds to a crescendo of shouting, slurring and bullshitting. My favourite line was either when Uwe talked about his father (“He’s a chemical guy. Chemistry is his business”) or when the girl drunkenly suggested that Jason Statham is “trying to kill himself” with “flips and double flips”. Joking aside, what’s particularly annoying about this extra is that it was shot three years ago so a lot of the statements made about works in progress or upcoming blockbusters is irrelevant and/or misinformation at this point.
Ah well. At least it’s out in the UK now, so you can all share the joy of what’s actually a good, trashy movie. G’wan. Put your prejuduce aside and check it out. It may even Boll you over (ho ho ho).