3 October 2006 | mentalcritic
Confirms the worst of what people think of Boll...
When I heard that Uwe Boll had challenged several of his critics to a boxing match, I thought it was an example of the man failing to understand reactions. Rather than come out looking like a misunderstood hero, he comes off as a spoiled child. So when I hear people calling Uwe the new Ed Wood, I just want to point out that this demonstrates ignorance regarding Wood. It is insulting to the poor guy. You see, Wood made one of the most daring (if staggeringly inept) films that challenged people's perceptions of transvestism and gender roles, long before this became a common theme in Hollywood. His major feature was that he lived only to make films, and did so because of motives other than cash. Boll, on the other hand, says absolutely nothing in his films that is of any value, and has shown himself in the media to be the most cynical, thoughtless idiot that ever drew breath. Another classic example of the difference between Boll and Wood, perfectly illustrated by BloodRayne, is that Wood's films made narrative sense.
If you have not played any of the video games upon which BloodRayne is based, then it will make very little sense to you. The parts about Rayne being the child of a vampire and a human, I get, but the film is loaded with references to artifacts that the villain needs in order to gain power, which Rayne must obviously stop him from acquiring. This reminds me of the sequence from Bakshi's adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings in which the explanation of what the One Ring is and what it does was meant to be delivered. By failing to deliver this critical information in a manner that makes sense to the viewer, both films end up disjointed and pointless. Only BloodRayne makes it much, much worse by jumping around from location to location, showing confrontations between Rayne and various enemies without a pause for explanation as to why this is significant. Ten bucks to anyone who can figure out exactly why Boll chose to end the film with a bunch of flashbacks to disjointed events that have no connection to the film's "present time", when the climactic slaying would have done just fine.
Another of Boll's few talents is to classically miscast. Kristanna Loken is surprisingly good as the titular character, and puts in a far better performance than I would have credited her with after that abysmal Terminator rip-off. It is certainly far better than the film deserves. Michelle Rodriguez looks extremely angry to be there. Matthew Davis has this stupid expression on his face all the time that appears to be him begging for some direction. Michael Madsen, Billy Zane, and Udo Kier literally are on autopilot. But Meat Loaf, the poor guy, seems to be trying to take his role seriously, and never have I see an actor look so uncomfortable in his work. He almost looks as if he is going to have a stroke from all the "what the hell am I doing here?" instructions his brain is trying to process. But the real gem here is Ben Kingsley, winner of one Academy Award and nominee for three others. He seriously looks as if he is going to burst out in laughter at any second during his scenes with Loken. And who can honestly blame him?
A mention must be made of the abysmal special effects here, too. Boll at least knows that the audience for a film based on this video game expects to see blood, and a lot of it. However, like every other aspect of his films, the delivery is so staggeringly inept that it makes one wonder how Boll can be so blind to this. Not only does the head of one opponent look despicably fake, the looks on the faces of the extras when they are shown chopping things up with their swords is utterly hilarious. Someone had to direct them to assume that expression, as swinging an actual sword hard enough to sever a limb involves enough exertion that one at least pulls some kind of face in the process. They said it best in Showdown In Little Tokyo - beheadings are not as easy as they look. Yet Boll seems to think he can silence individuals who feel he is utterly inept as a director by hitting them. If I could say one thing to his face right now, it would be that keeping silent and working on making a genuinely good film would have worked a lot more.
So I mean it when I say this film is not as bad as many others have said - it is even worse. A competent director like Wolfgang Petersen would have connected the story together properly, and at least shot the violence in a convincing fashion. A brilliant director such as Paul Verhoeven would have found a way to satirise the social mores of the eighteenth century, and delivered enough convincing violence to give the MPAA fits at the same time. As much as Boll would like to pretend otherwise on the basis of sales figures in countries where they would probably not understand the abysmal dialogue anyway, he is nowhere near the league of Petersen or Verhoeven. And that is a big part of what makes his films so insulting to the general public. Boll would like us to believe that he is some kind of misunderstood genius who keeps striking out with critics because they do not understand his message. Well, Boll, the disjointed plot aside, I understand you just fine. The thing is, when I do understand your films, I do not want them anymore.
So I gave BloodRayne a two out of ten. A one would only further its position on the bottom one hundred, and it is deserving of infamy in neither sense of the word. Avoid.