01/02/2006. Contributed by Frank Ochieng
One must hand it to German filmmaker Uwe Boll, says Frank, in terms of being consistent when beginning this year's movie season with one of the genre's trademark vacuous video-game-to-film features. But is the movie BloodRayne more to Frank's taste? Is it heck?
Bloodrayne (2006) Romar Entertainment
If last year's Alone in the Dark and crappy companion piece The House of the Dead wasn't enough of a hint for the studios to take a long-winded vacation from adapting films from games, then what will finally register? Relax, because the mindless masochistic followers of this boisterous banality will get to revel in yet another monumental dosage of nonsensical horror show hedonism. Ladies and gentlemen, we reluctantly give you the atrociously patched-together vampire vehicle BloodRayne.
As shocking as this may sound, the belaboured BloodRayne may very well be the best offering in Boll's tri-video game-film adaptation series. But with this kind of cinematic output, viewers must precariously pick their poison wisely.
As a preposterously bad B-movie concept concocted by the video game imagination of screenwriter/actress Guinevere Turner (Go Fish), BloodRayne awkwardly echoes too many familiar film genres. This blood-sucking turkey had the nerve to recall the classic essence of the Dracula movie series coupled with the pseudo pageantry of The Lord of the Rings franchise. Given the C-list talent usually involved in this kind of period piece piffle, it was rather bewildering to see the usually reliable Oscar-winning Ben Kingsley toiling in such dismal dreck. It's one thing to take a break from being in poignant motion pictures reinforcing your balance as a solid performer. But Kingsley, was it really necessary to sour your theatrical resume' with the mouldy mildew from this one? Geez Louise!
The setting is 18th century Eastern Europe where fang-toothed femme fatale Rayne (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine's Kristanna Loken) lurks the area with dripping cynicism. As a redhead half-vampire and half-human specimen, Rayne comes from the complex loins of her long-lost father Lord Kagan (Ben Kingsley), ruler of the mostly vampire-populated empire. But Kagan needs to sustain his magnificent power over his vast territory. In order to ensure his dominance, Lord Kagan needs to locate his daughter Rayne before she decides to take her tenacious talents elsewhere.
Kagan's concerns are pointed toward the storied Brimstone Society vampire seekers. Among this elite group of perceived rabble-rousers that could influence a scorned Rayne are Vladimir (Michael Madsen), moody Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez) and Sebastian (Matt Davis). For Kagan little does he realize that he has more to worry about than Rayne joining forces with the Brimstone bunch. In fact, Rayne has revenge on her mind when she targets her crooked powerful old man for causing her human mother's death. Will the resilient Rayne prevail and take down Daddy Dearest Kagan and his army of rebellious bloodthirsty warriors?
There's no doubt that Boll has morphed into the millennium version of misfit movie maven Ed Wood. With no particular regard for jamming a production down the audience's throats, this film takes a perverse pride in conducting an ultra-kinetic creep show without any reference to structure or style.
Granted, turning video game ventures into big screen entertainment has been an iffy endeavour at best for many filmmakers. However, this film seems to revel in the flimsy factor of the game movie's sketchy spectacles. BloodRayne is probably a few degrees of improvement over Alone in the Dark's existence. Other than the surprisingly crisp photography, there's not much else in which to toot BloodRayne's noisy horn.
Saddled with woeful performances, sophomoric storytelling devices and generic action sequences, BloodRayne is the tip of the iceberg as far as the future fetidness of the game-to-movie genre's continued foray into pointless cinema.
Hey, at least this celluloid schlockmeister makes some slight relevant usage of fringe hangers-on such as Meat Loaf and Michael Madsen. Hmmm, maybe someone should give Carrot Top or Yahoo Serious a call, huh?
© Frank Ochieng 2006