[Welcome back to the Evolution of Video Game Movies series. Every week, I will be moving forward through time, starting with the earliest and ending with the most recent of video game movies. I will be detailing the histories of the games and how the films came about, and both my and fan reaction to the adaptations. Practically all of my background information is either common knowledge or from Wikipedia. So without further ado, let's move on to the next film on the list.]
In 1999, a company named Terminal Reality released a survival horror game called Nocturne. I suppose what they didn't realize was that soon after, their very own game would inspire them to create another, arguably more popular, game. In 2002, they released BloodRayne, which took heavily from the aforementioned game. Both games have a half-vampire supernatural hunter that look very similar to each other, and both games have a secret society that acts similar to each other.
The first game begins in 1933, as the Brimstone Society, whose purpose is to rid the world of vampires, decides to recruit Rayne, herself half-vampire. With the society, she goes on many missions and fights a bunch of monsters and people, including the Nazi army. The second game, however, has Rayne confronting her father, the King of Vampires, Kagan. She goes around killing off his other children who have created a cult, since she couldn't kill him. They created "The Shroud," which is an object that would allow them to go out in sunlight and begin a new age of vampire rule.
So, of course, Uwe Boll got his hands on the rights and turned it into something much unlike the games, setting it in the 1800s in Romania. Now, I've already actually reviewed this flick almost exactly 2 years ago now, so I'm going to just recycle that review. I've never recycled reviews before, but I figured, in this case... nobody would mind. (This review was actually one of the primary reasons I added one of my ratings to the rating system.) Anyway...
The movie is about a Dhampir (where the P is pronounced like an F)--a half human/half vampire--named Rayne (Kristanna Loken). Many years ago, her vampire father, Kagan (Ben Kingsley), raped and murdered her mother. Ever since, she's been out for revenge. Then we also have the members of a vampire-killing society--Vladimir (Michael Madsen), Sebastian (Matt Davis), and Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez). Katarin's father, Elrich (Billy Zane), was in charge of this society... that is, until he became a vampire himself. Anyway, this society protects powerful objects/body parts that can make any vampire super powerful, and--of course--Kagan is after them. But Rayne will get these objects herself if it means finding a way to get to Kagan and kill him.
The movie's story is all over the place. Half the crap in this movie doesn't make sense, and that's being generous. Hell, Billy Zane's character ends up having absolutely no point. He's in maybe 3 scenes which go absolutely nowhere, and then he's never heard from again. It wasn't necessarily confusing as it was just laughably bad. There's even a sex scene that comes out of nowhere, which is the infamous scene where we get to see Kristanna Loken topless. And then it's never mentioned again.
The acting is atrocious, as well. The majority of the cast is incredibly out of place. Ben Kingsley doesn't even phone it in; Hell, he doesn't even sleepwalk through it. He gives us what is probably the most boring villain in any vampire story, not to mention one of the laziest performances of his career. Michael Madsen is obscenely out of place, and his pauses in between his monotone speech makes William Shatner look like Alan Rickman (oh yeah, I went there). As for Michelle Rodriguez, let's just say I pull off a more convincing British accent than she does, not to mention I can keep it going longer. Half the time she talks normal. Kristanna Loken is guilty of the same, but it was more noticeable with Miss Rodriguez. I mean, Jesus, when Billy Zane gives the best performance in your movie... though I should have realized this when the opening credits actually said "With Special Appearance By Billy Zane." Yeah. Billy Zane actually gets the "special appearance" tag for this movie. That tells ya something.
I never find reason to talk about props and costumes in movies. If you're a regular reader of mine, you'll know that. But I have to comment here. The costumes, primarily the wigs, are so bad they're ridiculous. From Ben Kingsley's to Meatloaf's (yes, Meatloaf is in this movie. You know what they say, some Meatloaf Aday keeps the doctor away... or something like that). And the weapons? Never have I seen duller swords. My Sword of Gryffindor (don't be jealous) could do more damage than Rayne's arm swords. And Ms. Loken moves so slowly with them, she gives you plenty of time to take it all in.
This leads in to the action. This movie was a gore fest. Granted, the blood was incredibly fake, as were any damaged body parts (sliced limbs, bashed heads, cut torsos, etc.). The camera stayed on them long enough that you could tell how fake they were. And the bright fake blood didn't help. There's actually one scene that's pretty funny when there are a bunch of guys beating a ripped open corpse with their swords, but they're doing it so slowly and with such bored looks on their faces. It's like they were trying out for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. Just going through the motions. But besides the gore, the action wasn't half bad. Sure, it was slow and not very fluid, as if the actors were too scared to play with their fake weapons, but it was still entertaining.
On top of all this, the script is terrible. Now, to his credit, Uwe Boll didn't write it. A woman named Guinevere Turner did. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the same Guinevere Turner who was partially responsible for the screenplay of American Psycho. And it. is. bad. The conversations are jilted, mainly for 2 different reasons. First, everything is expository. There is no character building conversations. Every single sentence has to go with moving along the plot, even to the point where transitions in scenes make no sense and are forced. The second reason is that there are absolutely no contractions. This movie is apostrophe-phobic, I guess, because every little syllable of every word must be said. And as I said earlier, the story makes no sense part of the time, giving us unnecessary moments of story (Billy Zane's character... or Meatloaf's character).
All of this being said, I have to say that I actually enjoyed the movie. Some will say it's painfully boring. Some will say it's just bad. And some say it's a total rape of the video game. But I haven't played the video game, and I think this movie is actually so bad it's good. With bad acting reading the words from a bad script with actors wearing bad wigs and doing bad action scenes with overtly fake gore, all to further a plot that nobody really cares about? It's just so bad it's hilarious. And yes, I did laugh at points from the badness. And the reason I think I enjoyed BloodRayne more than some of Uwe Boll's other works thus far, such as Postal or Far Cry, is because of its consistency. Postal actually has some truly good moments in it, so its inconsistency to be either good or bad made it hard to watch. Far Cry just tried too hard; it had good ideas, but a really poor execution. BloodRayne is just bad all around, a bad that is so bad you're not sure that it wasn't made like this on purpose. Even the cinematography is bad, which is why I had the initial thought from the trailers that it came off as a really bad Sci-Fi Channel Original. So what did I think of at the end? That I was wrong. I actually think it would have made a pretty decent Sci-Fi Channel Original, though it was still at that quality and did not deserve the theater run. The only reason it did was the star power, I'm sure.
If there was anything I didn't like about the movie, even in a so bad it's good kinda way, it was the ending. There's about a 2-3 minute flashback montage of a bunch of bloody/violent acts that occurred throughout the rest of the movie (some of it in slow motion), just in case you had tried to forget it by this point. And it is a bloody montage, indeed. Still, it serves absolutely no purpose other than to confuse, which it did. But that was just a minor quibble in an otherwise super-campy, super-bad, so-bad-its-good vampire flick.
A Hot Mess