SEPTEMBER 30, 2007
I’ve said before, I got no problem with Dr. Uwe Boll. In fact I admire the guy. And it all began at the premiere of the first Bloodrayne, which was the first “Hollywood” thing I did after moving to LA. While HotD and AitD were pretty bad (though in an insanely ridiculous way), I found Bloodrayne to be a much more competent film. The acting was all over the place, but the script and production value were certainly a vast improvement over his last two, resulting in one of the better video game movies. And Boll did a Q&A that revealed to me how much the guy simply loved what he was doing, and had an amazing sense of humor about himself. And then Postal was just hilarious (intentionally) and felt nothing like his other films. Essentially, he kept improving as a filmmaker with each film, so I was pretty excited for Bloodrayne: Deliverance, but for the first time, I don't see the continued improvement from Boll.
To be fair, the film only had like 1/3 the budget the original did, not to mention none of the same actors (except for Michael Paré, who plays a different character). And as revealed on the commentary, the film had a miserable shoot in Canada (due to snow and rain). Unfortunately, that joyless experience translated to the screen for the most part. Much of the film is just, well, DAMP. It’s the vampire movie equivalent of those Sunday morning fishing shows.
Plus, it’s not even really a vampire movie. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if the film was written originally as a standard western and then quickly reworked into a Bloodrayne sequel. Evidence of this abounds in the fighting scenes, in which vampire noises are randomly dubbed in over standard fights with anonymous goons in western attire. Rayne only uses her powers once or twice throughout the film, and most of the deaths are caused via shooting.
However, it’s not a total loss. The 2nd half of the film improves over the first, as Rayne puts together a random team of vampire hunters (including a Hart Bochner-y priest, whose insane sermon that provides his introduction is the film’s highlight) to take down Billy the Kid (Postal’s Zack Ward). Also, Ward’s evil vampire bites (and thus kills) a couple kids onscreen, so at least Boll has got balls. There’s even a pretty nifty trap he sets that threatens to hang like 6 of them at once (and one of them DOES die! Yes!). And from a technical standpoint, the film is fine. Not sure if I agree with the directing style Boll adapted here (handheld, sort of like Battlestar Galactica at times), but it’s never incoherent, as some of his earlier video game films were. And the western-y score is pretty rousing. Also, there’s an AMAZING bit of meta humor during the opening credits, as the “An Uwe Boll Film” credit appears over not only a shot of the Statue of Liberty, but a crowd cheering can be heard as well.
Unfortunately, Chris Coppola is in this film. And, like Postal, he’s the worst thing in it. I don’t know what it is about the guy, but he just irks me, and whereas in Postal he was simply annoying, here he seems completely out of place as a nerdy and whiny reporter doing a story on “The Wild West!”. I know Boll likes to reuse the same folks (speaking of, where the hell is Will Sanderson?!?!?) but he needs to ditch this guy from his troupe.
In the end, it won’t exactly win over anyone who dislikes Boll, but the good news is that it won’t add any fuel to their fire. The commentary is more enjoyable than the film, especially once the DP leaves Boll to himself, and the good doctor begins talking about whatever comes to his mind, including cleaning his dogs, the cable ratings for Alone in the Dark, and of course, German finance/distribution information. He also takes a phone call and then informs us that it was his mother telling him about a sale on mountain bikes. Sadly, he checks out with like 10 minutes of the film left, and the audio just goes mute. There’s also a set of interviews that not only uses the Alien music that you hear in like every movie trailer, but also crops the top and bottom of the film out for some goddamn reason.
Say what you want about his other ones, but this is the first time one might actually call a Boll film boring (even Boll himself seems a bit uninterested; in addition to leaving the commentary early, he is heard yawning several times and has quite a few gaps in his discussion, which is unheard of for him). Taking the budgetary and shooting limitations into account, it’s not as bad as it could be, but it just seems like everyone was just going through the motions.
But hey, at least there’s no footage from the game.
What say you?